• 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 activity 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)


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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality


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