Robert Miller

    Robert Miller

    Emeritus Professor

    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3275

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    Research Interests

    An expatriot United States citizen living in Northern Ireland, Robert Miller studied at Duke University and the University of Florida and completed his Ph.D. at the Queen's University of Belfast.   Until 2013 he was Deputy Director of the ARK Project (, a research infrastructure and dissemination initiative of staff at the two Northern Irish universities. 

    Much of his career has focused on questions of social mobilty, broadly conceived; beginning with quantitative academic survey work and continuing with applications of mobility techniques to the investigation of religious discrimination and gender & political involvement in Northern Ireland.  He has contributed to the social policy debate surrounding equal opportunity issues in Northern Ireland -- most notably with a highly controversial study of religious discrimination in the Northern Irish Civil Service that led directly to major reforms within that body.  He was on the Steering and Executive Committees that created the European Sociological Association (ESA) and served a term as its General Secretary as well as being Chair of the ESA Research Network ‘Biographical Perspectives on European Societies’.  He moved to qualitative biographical methods in mid-career, directing a major European Commisson 7th Framework collaborative project on European identity (  He presently is developing interests in biographical identity in virtual reality cyberenvironments and in the use of in-depth family histories to investigate the intergenerational transmission of poverty within families in developing countries.

    Some recent publications are: 

    • The Evolution of European Identities: Biographical approaches.  London:  Palgrave Macmillan (edited with Graham Day);
    • The Development of European Identity/Identities: Unfinished business.  Brussels: European Commission.;
    • ‘Ascending Out of Poverty: An analysis of family histories in Kenya’.  Manchester:  Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Manchester.;            
    • ‘Family Histories and Rural Inheritance in Kenya’.  Manchester:  Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Manchester.
    • ‘Using Sound and Vision to Depict Agency and Structure in European Biographies’.  In: Social Subjectivity: Theories, Methods, Empirical Research [Podmiotoxosc Spoleczna: Teorie, Metody, Badania Empiryczne], edited by Adam Mrozowicki; Irena Szlachcicowa and Olga Nowaczyk.  NOMOS.
    • ‘The Evolution of European Identity: Using biographical methods to study the development of European identity’.  Sociological Review [Przeglad Socjologiczny] 60 (1): 9-40 (with F. Schütze).
    • ’Ignore the Man behind the Curtain: Exploration of Virtual Reality’.  In: Advances in Biographical Methods: Creativity, innovation and application, edited by Maggie O’Neill, Brian Roberts and Andrew Sparkes.  Forthcoming late 2014, Routledge. 

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