My doctoral research involves a historical-sociological analysis of contentious politics in early twentieth-century Ireland. Theoretically, I am interested in long-running debates about the relationship between ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ in the causation of revolutions and other episodes of political contention. My dissertation asks how such dynamics played out in Ireland – an ‘awkward’ case lying between nationalist secession and revolution. While the study of social movements and revolutions has often seen splits between scholars more interested in ‘structural’ determinants of political contention, and those more interested in the ‘agency’ that activists and organisers bring to the table, I hope to contribute to the growing literature that seeks a more sophisticated understanding of how the two sets of forces relate to each other – giving the strategies of political opponents, and the sheer contingency of their interactions their dues alongside attention to the traditional concerns of more ‘structuralist’ scholars (economic, demographic etc.). Before coming to the EUI, I received a BA in History and English Literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and an MA in Sociology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. From 2007 to 2009 I worked as a sociology tutor for Oscail, Dublin City University’s distance learning centre, as well as teaching English, and working as a research assistant for the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, based at NUIM. I am involved with the e-journal Interface, and I spent the fall semester of 2011 as a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
Research interests: political sociology; historical sociology; contentious politics; revolutions; social movements; nationalism; Irish history.