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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 output 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 has recently been appointed as an ‘Associate Fellow’ of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast. He is also a member of the ESRC Peer Review College (2015-19), and an Associate Fellow of the of the Institute of Irish Studies, QUB. 

I am currently (2017-2019) the Coordinator of the European Sociological Association's Research Network on Emotions (RN11).  

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.

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 'On the Emotional State'. 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 am currently (2017-2019) the Coordinator of the ESA Sociology of Emotions Research Network (RN11) and have served as the the Vice-Coordinator from 2015-2017. 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 for 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:

  • Sylvia McCracken: ‘Religion, Identity and Young Adults in East Belfast’ (Pass with minor corrections, 2016). 
  • Jacob Enright: 'The technological and sociological challenges of data protection: the case of gay men’s digital footprint in cyberspace' (provisional title), a PhD project competitively awarded through the Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS) at Queen’s University Belfast/The Mitchell Institute (2017-2020). 
  • 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. These are: 

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC2001: The Development of Social Theory (Undergraduate/Core, 2014-present: student evaluation of the lecturer, 2016-17 - 4.71/5).

Lecturer & Module Coordinator – SOC9024: Theory & Debates in Social Research (Postgraduate/Masters, 2014-present: student evaluation of the lecturer, 2016-17 - 4.93/5). 

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

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

In addition, I am currently developing a new module on political emotions, and am in discussion with colleagues across the faculty in relation to new, interdisciplinary modules for the social sciences.  



Peer Review:  

I have 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.


Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Jonathan G. Heaney is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Research Output

An Emotions Lens on the World: RN11 Sociology of Emotions (RN Reports)

Heaney, J. G., 15 Jul 2019, The European Sociologist, Issue 43.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Embodied Nationalism: Nations, States, Emotions

Heaney, J. G., 2019, (Accepted).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • Emotion as Power: Capital and Strategy in the Field of Power

    Heaney, J. G., 23 May 2019, In : Journal of Political Power. 12, 2, p. 224-244

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    Neoliberalism and the Hermeneutics of Despondency

    Heaney, J. G., 28 May 2018, In : Journal of Political Power. 11, p. 273-278

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

    Open Access
  • 44 Downloads (Pure)

    Emotions and State Power: Towards the Emotional State

    Heaney, J. G., 03 Oct 2017, (Accepted).

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • Prizes

    BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants 2015

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Recipient), 01 Jan 2016

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Departmental Fellowship (€10,000)

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Recipient), 2007

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Recipient), 30 Jun 2017

    Prize: Election to learned society

  • Social Science Research Centre (SSRC) Visiting Fellow

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Recipient), 22 Jun 2015

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively


    Emotions and Society (Journal)

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Peer reviewer)
    12 Sep 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    European Sociological Association, Manchester

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Participant)
    20 Aug 201923 Aug 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Emotions and Society (Journal)

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Peer reviewer)
    01 Apr 201919 Apr 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    External Examiner, NUI Galway, 2019-2023

    Jonathan G. Heaney (Examiner)

    Activity: Examination typesUG external examination

    Panel Discussion of 'The Kids are All Right', in QFT Series 'Real to Reel: Film and Social Life'

    Lisa Smyth (Chair), Jonathan G Heaney (Organiser), Catherine McNamee (Contributor), Danielle Mackle (Contributor)
    16 Jan 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar