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    Research Interests

    My research focuses on roles and social emotions, particularly 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 different expectations of parents and friends in the context of divorce; the social politics of breastfeeding, abortion and sex education; 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.




    Sociological Imagination (Level 1)

    Norms and Social Change (Level 3 option)

    Researching Emotions in Social Life (Masters)


    Willingness to take 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

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    Frequent Journals

    • Sociology

      ISSNs: 0038-0385

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1469-8684

      SAGE Publications Ltd

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 1.497 SNIP 2.118


    • Women's Studies International Forum

      ISSNs: 0277-5395

      Elsevier Limited

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 0.474 SNIP 1.037


    • European Journal of Women's Studies

      ISSNs: 1350-5068

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1461-7420

      SAGE Publications Ltd

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.25 SJR 0.322 SNIP 1.164


    • British Journal of Sociology

      ISSNs: 0007-1315

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1468-4446


      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 3.1 SJR 1.345 SNIP 2.123


    • Current Sociology

      ISSNs: 0011-3921

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1461-7064

      SAGE Publications Ltd

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.99 SJR 0.766 SNIP 1.471


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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 28505