Sociology

Our work focuses on issues in Ireland, the UK and internationally, bridging the gap between local and global experiences.


Research conducted by the sociology team at Ulster provides critical insight and creative solutions on many aspects of our social world. Our work focuses on issues in Ireland, the UK and internationally, bridging the gap between local and global experiences.

Our work has achieved 4* impact at REF and been funded by many prestigious bodies such as the British Academy, Leverhulme, AHRC, Irish Research Council and Royal Irish Academy, and has been published in many leading international journals.

We aim to:

  • Cross the boundaries between academia and the wider community, civil society and government in sharing our research expertise.
  • Showcase the ways in which sociology crosses disciplines and finds creative solutions for real word problems in politics, commerce, industry, civil society and the public sector through our impact work.
  • Disseminate our work globally to an international community of scholars through the publication of our research results in world leading social sciences journals and international conferences.
  • Draw on our research to ensure it enhances our students’ learning experiences and support early career sociologists through expert PhD supervision.

Our research falls into the following main themes:

  • Inequalities of the Past and the Present: (historical institutional abuse; ‘truth’ recovery; gender; social justice and human rights; language rights; and legacies of conflict)
  • Health and Wellbeing: (pregnancy loss; trauma; identity)
  • Identity and Representation: (Heritage, museums and minorities; sporting identities; media representation and the Global South).

Our staff are members of professional bodies such as the Sociological Association of Ireland, the Association for Critical Heritage Studies, the British Sociological Association and the Political Studies Association. We engage with local and global partners such as the NI Executive; Living Legacies Engagement Centre; North West Migrants Forum; Amnesty International; IFA; Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation; North West Cultural Partnership and InquiryNetwork.

Our Impact

Our work has driven policy change in areas relating to legacies of conflict. We have worked with the UN and advocacy groups in New Zealand and Australia on legacies of the past as well as institutional abuse and redress. In the context of language rights, we work closely with migrant communities (typically facing language barriers), NGOs and policy makers to improve government strategy in this area.

We have worked closely with victims and survivors of historical institutional child abuse, human rights organisations and the legal profession to spearhead the implementation of fair and just redress providing new solutions to complex problems. This was driven by the survivor-led collaborative Panel of Experts on Redress established and chaired by sociologists at Ulster. This has led to international partnerships on this issue in Australia, Canada, Sweden and Republic of Ireland.