Research in AHSS

Research in the Department of Sociology

Research in the Department of Sociology

Founded in 2002, the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick, offers faculty and students a vibrant and supportive environment in which to conduct socially relevant research. The Department is known internationally for its research in the fields of the body; education; family; gender; health; hate and hostility; mass media; migration, popular culture; inequality and social class; and urban studies. Faculty offer particular expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and the Department is home to the popular 4th level UL Winter School in Social Science Research Methods, which provides advanced training to participants from across the European Union.

External funding projects

Faculty have an excellent record of success in external funding competitions and have attracted funding from: European Commission Seventh Framework Programme; European Commission Directorate-General for Justice; European Science Foundation; European Union Regional Development Fund; European Union Structural Funds in Ireland; The Finnish Academy; HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Irish Research Council; The Leverhulme Trust; Riksbankens Jubileumsfond: The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences; Spanish Ministerio de Economía y CompetitividadSwedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare.
Illustrating the Department’s commitment to engaging in research which addresses the pressing social problems of our times, externally funded research projects which faculty have undertaken include:
Community Safety in Limerick Regeneration Housing Estates Cultural Representations of Women’s Mobility
Female Empowerment in Science and Technology Academia (FESTA)
Framing the Financial Crisis and Protest: Northwest and Southeast Europe
Growing Up in a One-Parent Family: Family structure, family well-being and child outcomes Inclusive Policing for Gender Variant Persons
Lifecycle of a Hate Crime: Determining Best Practise in the Application of Criminal Laws and Sentencing Provisions for Hostility Based Offences in the EU Monitoring Hate Crime: Analysis and Development of Online Third Party Forms
Nomadic Work/Life in the Knowledge Economy Media coverage of Stigmatized estates
Populism in Finland Religion in Post-Welfare Society: The Irish Catholic Church and the Politics of Migration
The Social Aspect of Community Based Adult Education  

Research Groups and Clusters

The Department of Sociology is home to a number of active research clusters including:

Faculty are active contributors to the global sociological community, publishing in internationally peer-reviewed journals and with top publishing houses. Faculty regularly participate in international academic conferences, including those hosted by the International Sociological Association and the European Sociological Association. Faculty members also edit a book series published by Rowman Littlefield International entitled Discourse, Power and Society.
As part of its continued commitment to internationalisation, the Department of Sociology strongly supports collaboration with researchers outside of UL, including outside of Ireland. Faculty members have partnered with higher education and research institutes and civil society organisations in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, UAE and the UK. Professor Barbara Perry from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada is attached to the Department as an adjunct professor, while faculty member Professor Eoin Devereux holds an adjunct professorships at the at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Professor Pat O’Connor has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of London, UK; Aveiro, Portugal; Linkoping, Sweden; Deakin and Melbourne, Australia and is currently a Visiting Professor at UCD. She is also the only Irish academic on the National Review on Gender Equality in Higher Education established by the Higher Educational Authority in 2015.
The Department of Sociology is committed to engaging with civil society. Faculty have strong links to national and local civil society organisations. Faculty have partnered on funded research projects with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network; European Network Against Racism, Ireland; Inclusion Ireland and Transgender Equality Network Ireland. They have conducted research for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Doras Luimní, the Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN), the Limerick Adult Education Service (LCAES), the Limerick Regeneration Agencies, the Limerick City Adult Education Service and Paul Partnership. Many of our graduates find employment with leading civil society organisations.

The Department is home to a cluster of dynamic postgraduate students and has a strong record of success in the prestigious Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship competitions. An active research culture is enhanced via the Department of Sociology Seminar series, the Youth, Community and Regeneration Seminar series and the Gender, Culture & Society @UL / Gender ARC Public Lecture series as well as thematic conferences and workshops. The Department convenes the Gender, Culture & Society Forum as an academic support network for postgraduate students and to foster a lively postgraduate research culture. Faculty provide a supportive intellectual environment, expediting students’ access to international networks and facilitating early publication.
The Department fosters in students an awareness of Sociology as an active community of researchers. The Department encourages research-led teaching and supports faculty to link their research and teaching activities. In addition to encountering contemporary research throughout the curriculum, students critique and engage in research activities as part of their studies. The Department offers three dedicated research courses at undergraduate level and five at postgraduate level. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students complete a capstone project which offers the opportunity for both primary research and the analysis of secondary data. Undergraduate students complete a 6 month work placement as part of their studies and many engage with research in their course of their work. Faculty members also recruit students as interns to assist in ongoing research.