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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to the dynamics of emotions and power; digital sociology of emotion

- Political Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to party politics, politicians, the state, post-conflict emotions, nationalism, war, Ireland

- Social/Sociological Theory – especially in relation to power, emotion, affect, habitus; process ontologies; relational sociology; processual sociology; new materialism


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Sociological/Social Theory, Sociology of Emotion, Political Sociology, Power, Nationalism, Process Philosohpy, Political Theory, Sociology & Politics of Ireland, Qualitative Methods, Narrative/Life Histories. 

Research Statement

Personal Statement:

Jonathan G. Heaney joined the Sociology team at Queen's in September, 2014, a few months after his PhD graduation. He returned to education as a mature student in 2004 and completed a BA (Hons) in Sociology & Politics, and Economics, at the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2007. He was awarded a ('double') first, and, subsequently, a departmental fellowship towards postgraduate study (worth €10,000) for finishing 'top' of his graduating year in Sociology & Politics. He was awarded a PhD in Sociology & Politics from NUI Galway in 2014. This project, which was funded by an Irish Research Council 'Government of Ireland Scholarship' Scheme, was a study of emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular. Aspects of this project will feature in a forthcoming monograph, provisionally titled Emotions & Power: Habitus and Change in Late Modernity, which is currently under contract with Routledge. 

He is an ‘Associate Fellow’ of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast, and an Associate Fellow of the of the Institute of Irish Studies, QUB.

He is also a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and a Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust, Scotland. 

He was elected and served as Chair/Coordinator (2017-2019) and Vice Chair (2015-2017) of the European Sociological Association's Research Network on Emotions (RN11), and remains on the Advisory Board of that organization. He was also invited to join the Editorial Management Board of the associated journal 'Emotions & Society', which launched in 2019. 

Research Statement:

My primary research interests are interdisciplinary, and lie in social, sociological and political theory, and at the intersections of sociology and politics. Emotion and power, along with affect and habitus, remain central to my ongoing research agenda, within the political sociology of affect and emotions.  My article on the theme of emotions and power, published in the Journal of Political Power in 2011 (and still one of the ‘most read’ and ‘most cited’ of that journal’s papers) subsequently lead to a special issue in 2013 (later republished as a book in 2014) on this same theme, edited by myself and Prof. Helena Flam (Leipzig). I also contributed a chapter on emotions and nationalism to an important edited book on the political sociology of emotions in 2013. More recently, I have published a paper on the deployment of emotion by politicians as a form of power within political fields.

I have a number of publications under review and/or in preparation. These include theoretical papers on a processual approach to affect and emotion, to more empirical work on narrative interviews and social change. 

I am currently working on a new project, concerned with the interplay of emotions, power, and the state, provisionally called 'The Emotional State', which links with a second project on 'Embodied Nationalism'. I was awarded a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant to fund a number of international workshops on this theme, which are ongoing, and hope to conduct a larger, funded project in this area in the future. 


Affiliations & Networks:

I have served as both the Chair (2017-2019) of the ESA Sociology of Emotions Research Network (RN11) and as the the Vice-Chair from 2015-2017. In this capacity, I co-organized a joint conference between the Network and the BSA Sociology of Emotions Study Group, which took place in Edinburgh  in August, 2018. I have also co-organized the network's interim conference in Stockholm in 2016, and the main, biannual ESA conference in Athens in August, 2017. I am also a member of IPSA’s Research Group on Power (RG36), the Sociological Association of Ireland, and the newly-established British Sociological Association Emotions Study Group.

PhD Supervision: 

Primary Supervisor:

  • Completed:
  • Sylvia McCracken: ‘Religion, Identity and Young Adults in East Belfast’ (Pass with minor corrections, 2016). 
  • Ongoing:
  • Alba Arenales: 'The (micro)Outcomes of Riots: Analysing the internal cultural and biographical effects of rioting in Belfast and Burgos' (provisional title), PhD project funded by a Department for the Economy (DfE) Studentship. 

Secondary Supervisor: 

  • Paula Gourley: Spiritualism and Religious Identity Change in Contemporary Northern Ireland (ongoing)
  • Zigganni Booth: Sexual Identity in Northern Ireland (ongoing)

Prospective Students:

I am especially interested in supervising students working, theoretically and/or empirically, on the political sociology of emotions and the intersections of emotions and power, habitus, the sociology of emotions, emotions in politics/political emotions, emotions and nationalism, emotions and the state, or projects that align with my wider research interests listed above. 


I blog occasionally at TheoryTypes, a site I founded in 2008. 

I tweet as @jonathangheaney


My primary teaching interests are in classical and contemporary social theory, political sociology, the sociology of emotions, and the sociology and politics of Ireland. I have also taught on qualitative research methods modules, especially in relation to narrative/life history interviewing and analysis. 

I primarily teach the core social theory modules at both UG and PG levels in the school. In addition, I have developed and convened a new postgraduate option module on 'Emotions and Social Life', and have convened and delivered a module on 'Global Society' for Level three undergraduates.

In 2020 I developed a new, research-led final year course called 'Emotions, Power & Politics' that analyzes the contemporary social and political conjuncture from a political sociology of emotions perspectice. This looks at the intersections of power and emotion in relation to populism, Trump, Brexit, social movements, party politics, nationalism, and the state.

Modules developed and delivered to date are:

Lecturer & Module Convenor - SOC3053: Emotions Power & Politics (Undergraduate/Option, 2020-present)

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC2001: The Development of Social Theory (Undergraduate/Core, 2014-present)

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC9024: Theory & Debates in Social Research (Postgraduate/Masters, 2014-present)

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC9048: Researching Emotions & Social Life (Postgraduate/Option, 2014-2018)

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC3048: Global Society: Power & Participation (Undergraduate/Option, 2015)

I also contribute individual sessions on a range of modules across the UG and PG programmes.


Peer Review:  

As a member of the Editorial Board of Emotions & Society I do a number of peer reviews for this journal each year. I have also acted as peer reviewer for the following international journals: Qualitative Sociology, Organization, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, Journal of Political Power, the Journal of Applied Social Theory, and the Irish Journal of Anthropology. 

I also reviewed a book series proposal for Ashgate, as well as books and book chapters for Routledge, Polity and other academic publishers.

Grant Reviews:

I have acted as grant peer reviewer for the ESRC, the Carnegie Trust, the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) and others.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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