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Prof. Pat O'Connor

Ph.D; M.Soc Sc; B. Soc. Sc


Professor Pat O'Connor is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick and Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin. Education: Ph.D University of London; M.Soc Sc (1st) UCD; B.Soc Sc (1st) UCD. Pat O'Connor's research interests currently revolve around gender equality in higher education: with a particular focus on organizational culture, leadership and management, constructions of excellence, micro-politics, masculinities and femininities in STEM. Her roughly 100 publications include seven books and over 70 peer reviewed refereed journal articles (see Researchgate). Her seventh book, edited with Kate White, is Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives (2017) published by Palgrave Macmillan She has been active in promoting gender equality at an organisational and national level and was a member of the National Review on Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions (2016). A member of WHEM (Women in Higher Education Management Network) she has been involved in a number of international research consortia: including FESTA, an EU funded project (2012-17).A sociologist and feminist, she was the first woman to be appointed at (full) professorial level in the University of Limerick in 1997; and the first woman Faculty Dean there in 2000. She has held visiting professorships at UCL; Aveiro; Linkoping; Deakin and Melbourne. A research evaluator for the European Science Foundation; for Nordic Spaces; for the Austrian Science Foundation and for the Israel Science Foundation, she was Chair of the International Research Panel for Linnaeus funding. She is currently on Advisory Boards for three research projects i.e. TARGET, CHANGE and NORDICORE and is editor of a Special Issue of Education Sciences on Gender and Leadership (2018). In the early part of her career, Pat O'Connor's research interests focussed on women's worlds: their attitudes to familial roles and their close ties (friendships; mother/daughter; sister/sister and marital pleasure). Her publications from this period include Friendships Between Women (2002/1992: Harvester Wheatsheaf (UK) Guilford (US): nominated by Choice as an Outstanding academic book). Her research interests later returned to these areas: focusing on the gendering of children and young people. Irish Children and Teenagers in a Changing World (2008) reflects this focus. In the 1990s, she became concerned with organisational and institutional gendered power: in semi-state structures, in higher education, in the family and in the wider society. Her third book Emerging Voices: Women in Contemporary Irish Society (1998/1999) reflects the beginning of these interests. They are also reflected in her sixth book Management and Gender in Higher Education (2014) and extensive publications in refereed journal articles.

Research Interests

Higher education; Gender: at an individual, interactional, organisational and institutional level; organisational culture and leadership in state and semi-state organisations; masculinity/femininity; sociology of contemporary Irish Society; State/family interface.

Teaching Interests

Teaching areas and interests
a) Sociology of Higher Education
b) Sociology of Gender
c) The Sociology of Love and its Dark Side
c) Inputting into Contemporary Theory, the Sociology of Social Welfare and Introduction to Sociology from a gender perspective

Professional Activities


  • 2010 Chair of Linnaeus International Expert Research Panel for Research Funding ,
  • 2008 Member of Linnaeus Internation Expert Panel for Evaluating Research,
  • Invited Member of NORFACE Think Tank for transnational research,
  • Chair of the Royal Irish Academy National Undergraduate Awards Sociology Committee,
  • Advisory Board, TASC,
  • External Examiner Women's Studies, UCD, 2007-2010,
  • Advisory Board, National Longitudinal Study of 9 year olds,
  • European Science Foundation peer reviewer,
  • Member of Council of ESRI,
  • COST expert: Individual, Society and Culture,


  • 2000 University of LImerick - Dean, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Scien
  • 1997 University of Limerick - Professor
  • 1991 UL - Course Director
  • 1982 WIT. - Course Director
  • 1979 NISW, London - Project Director
  • 1973 University of London - Research Officer
  • 1970 ESRI, Dublin - Research Assistant


  • 1987 University of London - Ph.D.
  • 1979 University College Dublin -
  • 1970 UCD - B.Soc.Sc.


  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Stockholm, Sweden - Evaluator of the Research Programme Nordic Spaces: 2013


  • - Chair the National Undergraduate Sociology Awards
  • - Chair the Linnaeus International Research Awards


Conference Publication


British Education Research Association Conference
Collier, C., O'Sullivan, M., MacPhail, A. & O'Connor, P.


British Educational Research Association Annual Conference
Collier, C. O'Sullivan, M. MacPhail, A., & O'Connor, P.

Other Publication


Gendering Decision Making and Communications Processes'
O'Hagan, C., O'Connor, P., Veronesi, L., Mich, O., Saglamer, G., Tan, M., Caglayan, H

Peer Reviewed Journal


Perpetuating academic capitalism and maintaining gender orders through career practices in STEM in universities
O' Hagan, C. O'Connor, P. Myers, EM, Baisner, L, Apostolov, G. Topuzova, I. Saglamer, G. Tan MG & Çağlayan, H.
Critical Studies in Education DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1238403


Relational discourses - Social ties with family and friends
O'Connor, P; Haynes, A; Kane, C
Childhood-A Global Journal Of Child Research DOI: 10.1177/0907568204044888


Young People's Ideas about Time and Space
O'Connor, P; Haynes, A; Kane, C
Irish Journal Of Sociology

Published Report


Evaluating the Research Programme Nordic Spaces
O'Connor, P. Fauve-Chamoux, A. Wahlén, S.


Futures on Hold: Young Europeans talk about combining Work and Family
Lewis, S. Smithson, J. Das Does Guerreiro, M. Nilsen, A. O'Connor, P.