Dr David Frayne

School of Health & Society

Photo of Dr David Frayne

Current positions

University Fellow


David is a sociologist interested in the future of work and welfare. Drawing on critical social theory, his work covers topics such as automation, working time, welfare conditionality, and the contemporary work ethic. His first book, The Refusal of Work, focused on the hopes of citizens and theoretical writers for an alternative to today’s “employment-centred” societies.

Many of these themes come together in David’s applied and policy work. He is a regular collaborator with the think-tank Autonomy and has completed projects including feasibility studies of universal basic income and the shorter working week (for the Wales Future Generations Commissioner), and a critical intervention on the use of psychology in work and welfare settings (published as an edited collection, ‘The Work Cure’).

The focus of David’s fellowship at Salford is on the theme of working time. In 2022, David was a lead qualitative researcher on the UK’s Four-Day Week pilot study. He is currently investigating the four-day week further, including questions such as its relationship with job quality, the role for legislators and unions, and the feasibility of reducing working time in a wider variety of industries.

David previously worked in the sociology department at University of Cambridge, and as Berggruen Fellow in the philosophy department at New York University.

Areas of Research

The sociology of work
'Post-work' thought
Working time reduction
Universal basic income
The ethics of automation
Medicalisation of social problems


David has taught in the broad areas of introductory sociology and social theory, as well as on specific topics including the future of work, the welfare state, and educational alternatives.