• Room 02.017 - 3 College Park East

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Critical theory analysis of social roles, in contexts such as gender, family life and employment - Studies of the emotional quality of social politics , including abortion, breastfeeding, and motherhood - Interactionist analyses of emotions, roles and social change


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Interests

My research focuses on norms, roles and social emotions, particularly in relation to abortion, motherhood, shame and anxiety. I examine the normative, interactive and emotional quality of role interpretation, and am developing a monograph on Emotions and Social Roles: A Critical Theory. My previous book, The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), returns to neglected sociological questions concerning the connections between agency and normative complexity, through the neo-pragmatist interpretation it offers of the recognition dynamics shaping this deeply contested and emotionally fraught role.

Abortion and Nation: The Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Ireland (Ashgate 2005, Routledge 2016), analysed the significance and changing character of a gendered politics of national identity over three decades of intense moral conflict. 

I have also published papers on the social politics of breastfeeding, abortion and sex education in Ireland, north and south; and the significance of maternal situations as sites of civility, sectarianism and social change in Belfast's divided inner city. 

I am interested in supervising PhD theses taking a critical theory perspective on social role interpretations in families, and projects focused on normative transformations in Ireland.



Sociological Imagination (Level 1)

Norms and Social Change (Level 3 option)

Inequality and Emotions (Masters)


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

  • 1 Similar Profiles

Research Output

Non-sectarian Mothering in Belfast: the emotional quality of normative change

Smyth, L., 10 Nov 2014, The ‘Irish’ Family. Connolly, L. (ed.). London: Routlege, p. 106-124 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition

Smyth, L., 2012, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 178 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • The Social Politics of Breastfeeding: Norms, Situations and Policy Implications

    Smyth, L., 15 Jun 2012, In : Ethics and Social Welfare. 6, 2, p. 182-194 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Northern Ireland After Repeal the Eighth: Democratic Challenges

    Smyth, L., 15 Jan 2020, After Repeal: Rethinking Abortion Politics. Browne, K. & Calkin, S. (eds.). London: Zed Books, p. 239-254 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

    Open Access
  • Activities

    San Diego State University

    Lisa Smyth (Visitor)

    09 Nov 200930 Jun 2010

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

    Irish Journal Of Sociology (Journal)

    Lisa Smyth (Peer reviewer)

    01 Nov 202031 Oct 2023

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Sexualities (Journal)

    Lisa Smyth (Peer reviewer)

    11 Jun 2020

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

    Ireland's Moral Revolution: Honor, Shame and the Liberalisation of Abortion Law

    Lisa Smyth (Invited speaker)

    27 Jul 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

    British Sociological Association Study Group on Emotions (External organisation)

    Lisa Smyth (Board Member)

    Aug 2019 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    Press / Media

    Robot is the latest incentive to ensure abortion in Northern Ireland

    Lisa Smyth


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Ireland abortion referendum: How much has country changed?

    Lisa Smyth


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    "A different kind of girl" : young women's experiences of growing up and "coming out" in Northern Ireland

    Author: Neill, G., Jul 2016

    Supervisor: Smyth, L. (Supervisor) & Schubotz, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy