The Vagabond Sociology Site

 Independent writing, research, and music

from the cultural kerbsides 

Where I am coming from...

We are all travellers, yet not always explorers. How and why we move through time and space is as important as the ideas which we carry with us whilst doing so. How we research and write about these journeys, and those who we meet on them, says much about the societies which we wish to create and the people we would like to be.

​​My travel and transport related writings on this site include ...

  • sociological theory informed by ecologism and anarchism

  • essays on the history of hitchhiking and transport mutual aid

  • essays on popular culture, politics and the environment

  • book reviews of political/ecological fiction and nonfiction  

  • support for fellow writers, poets, musicians and artists  

  • my own poems and songs. 


Latest news - 50% off hardback  - £10 until 31 July in MUP summer sale. 


Read my blog about why I wrote the book

Read Mike Jay's great historical assessment of 'Driving with strangers' in the London Review of Books, June 23 2022.

Latest reader's review: 'A Grand Unified Theory of Hitchhiking'

'The feminist angle was probably my key interest, but what Purkis achieves with this revelatory book is to bring a fringe topic to the forefront of the big questions of our age - climate change, social unrest, the politics of gender and race, and so on - so that the reader is given hitchhiking as a lens through which to view these questions, and even perceive exciting and novel answers. ... Accordingly he achieves the rare coup of creating a coffee-table conversation piece that can defend itself comfortably on the academic bookshelf'.

Upcoming events and talks
Appearing soon in an edition of Adventure Uncovered, a digital magazine for adventure with a social and environmental awareness.  


Recent events and talks

10th June 2022. Appearance on North Manchester FM106.6 'The Festival Show' with 

Hannah Kate. Recorded straight after talk below so a bit flustered!  

9th June 2022. Book related talk at Manchester Histories Festival (this year's theme Climate Change). Full day's events captured here. A nice summary of my event at 6hrs 18 mins.  

14th May 2022. Reading at Northern Publisher's Book Fair, Central Library,

Manchester. (Short clip of me reading from the Prologue to 'Driving with strangers'). 

17th February 2022 Appearance on 'Free Thinking' on BBC Radio 3 discussing hitchhiking with presenter Matthew Sweet, authors Timandra Harkness, Sally J. Morgan and film critic Adam Scovell. (This was a lot of fun to do and is a great listen with plenty of material to write on your cardboard signs). 

12th January 2022. Appearance on BBC Radio 4 'Thinking Allowed' discussing strangers and xenophobia with Laurie Taylor and George Makari. Podcast available here.  

17th September 2021 at 'Real Zero in a Hurry' DecarboN8 International Conference 

'A primer for vagabond sociology or why thinking like a hitchhiker might just save the world' . 

( This was the Shared Mobilities strand. My talk starts at 26 mins. References used in the talk. Thanks to those who contributed!)

Availability, contact and mutual aid


I am a writer, independent sociologist, tutor and musician.  


If you want to collaborate on a project, suggest a review or ask about my research, please email me: I do not have an agent or anyone answering emails, so it may take a day or two to get back to you. 


Whilst it is nice to get paid in the formal economy, I am very happy to support projects which may wish to trade in other currencies (vegan stews, organic beer, goodwill etc). 

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I use social media sparingly but tend to respond quickest via Twitter.


The number of times this page has been viewed since 17/12/2019.

Copyright issues. Quote, cite, paraphrase by all means but do it respectfully. We all borrow from one another. Nobody sues anyone unless they have got huge amounts of money to spend or lose.