Prof. Seán Ó Riain

I have a number of research interests – all of which come under the broad heading of the politics of economic development and social inequality. I am particularly interested in the kinds of debates, struggles and conflicts that are shaping the emerging ‘knowledge economy’ and have researched this in workplaces, technical communities, industries, government agencies and international corporate networks. My main motivation is to explore the kinds of socio-political possibilities within the contemporary global knowledge economy and investigate the political conditions and strategies under which more social and democratic socio-economic orders can be constructed. Recently, I have been particularly interested in the work of Karl Polanyi in this regard. I am a member of the Political Economy and Work and Comparative-Historical clusters within the Department of Sociology and a research associate and Chair of the Board of the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA).

Research Activities

I am interested in social change, particularly as it relates to the emergence of a knowledge economy and society. I see social change as a politically contested process and my research explores this in the workplace and labour market and at the level of the state and civil society. Finally, I am committed to a critical, scientific, empirical sociology that examines the politics of grand social changes but is ethnographically grounded and publicly engaged.

Current Projects

1. Life Histories and Social Change in Twentieth-Century Ireland (Funded by IRCHSS)

2. Globalisation and the Knowledge Economy/Society

3. The Politics of the Workplace

4. New State Formations

5. Sociological Practice – Ethnography and Public Sociology

Seán’s complete research profile, and recent publications



Dr. Rossella Ciccia

Rosella holds the position of post-doctoral researcher on the New Deals project, with responsibility for comparative survey research on changing workplace bargains in Europe. Her PhD dissertation focuses on the relationship between the institutional characteristics of labour markets, welfare states and care arrangements in EU 15 countries. Rossella’s existing work has analysed models of parental leave in Europe, as part of a broader argument that shows how ‘care regimes’ in Europe cannot be explained by current typologies of welfare capitalisms. Rossella received her PhD from La Sapienza University of Rome, as part of a European research programme.

Rossella’s personal page and recent publications




Dr. Amy Healy

Amy Erbe Healy is a comparative, quantitative sociologist and is currently the Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the European Social Survey Round 8, Ireland at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the New Deals project at Maynooth University, NUIM. Her research with New Deals explored European workplace regimes and how they relate to: “worlds” of capitalism, dualisation, workers’ experiences of work and welfare attitudes. Her other research has included: convergence theory vis-à-vis consumption, comparative research into food practices, the impact of austerity on political legitimacy and also the impact of austerity on religious belief and practice. Her book (co-authored with Michael Breen), Changing Values, Attitudes and Behaviours in Ireland: An Analysis of European Social Survey Data in Ireland, 2002 – 2012, was published in 2016.





Dr. Eoin Flaherty

Eoin is currently working on an Irish Research Council-funded project examining the relationship between income inequality, and labour’s share of national income in Europe and the OECD since 1960. His work focuses on the socio-economic and ecological processes underpinning the formation of national, and cross national inequalities: these inequalities have been studies on two empirical fronts. Eoin’s doctoral work examined agricultural production, settlement structure, demography, and social organisation in pre-famine Ireland, with a particular emphasis on the spatial distribution of famine-era distress across Irish counties. His current work involves the comparative study of income inequality in Ireland and Denmark, which examines the conditions in both countries which give rise to differing historical forms of income security and social protection.





Dr. Michael Byrne

Dr. Michael Byrne received his undergraduate and doctoral degree in sociology from Trinity College Dublin and is currently an Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral Scholar. His research looks at the contestation of urban space in post-crisis Dublin, with a particular focus on the relationship between NAMA and urban space.

Research Interests

Michael’s current research interests include the financialization of the city, urban commons and the right to the city. He has also examined the relationship between social movements and state transformation, with a particular focus on sovereignty and citizenship in Northern Ireland.




Dr. Felix Behling

Felix is an economic sociologist with research interests loosely centred around forms and contents of employment. In the New Deals project, he is responsible for the qualitative analysis of changing workplace bargains in Europe, untangling questions of pay, working time, work processes, and career pathways through qualitative case studies. Before joining the research team, he was a research officer at the Institute for Employment Studies in the UK, where he worked in projects for several UK and European institutions, covering a variety of employment and labour market topics. He also was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of Hong Kong, where he conducted a review of senior employment in six Asian countries. Felix holds a PhD from the University of Essex, which discusses tangible and intangible in-work benefits in the UK and Germany.





Ivan Privalko

Ivan is a PhD student based in Maynooth University. His thesis explores returns on job mobility in Germany and the UK. He also outlines the gender and education differences which emerge between workers who quit, find promotion, or move involuntarily. The project uses a parallel case study design and draws from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), and the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). His research interests include European labour market differences, labour market dualism, and job mobility’s impact on health/wealth. He earned an undergraduate degree in International Business from DIT and an MSc in European Employment Studies from Trinity College.  Ivan’s fellowship is tied to the Survey Data Analysis aspects of “New Deals”.






John-Paul Byrne

John-Paul is a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Sociology and Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI) based in Maynooth University, Ireland. He received his undergraduate degree in Social Science, and Masters degree in Sociology, from UCD. Funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the European Research Council (ERC), John-Paul’s doctoral research investigates the autonomy and stressors of working life for IT workers in Ireland and Denmark. His research qualitatively explores the sociological mechanisms underpinning psychosocial risks for workers across different European capitalist contexts. Focusing particularly on autonomy, intensity, and insecurity, this approach analyses the role of institutional contexts in composing the conditions, demands, and stressors of working life. John-Paul’s research interests include sociology of working life, psychosocial work environment, sociology of mental health, comparative analysis, and qualitative methods.




Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher (PhD Researcher)

Patrick is funded by the European Research Counsel, he has a bachelor of science in counselling and a prior to joining the project had a long career working in social services. Patrick recently completed a Masters Degree in Community Education, Equality and Social activism with the Departments of Sociology and Adult Education here at Maynooth. Patrick’s research interests include the effects of financialisation on working life, institutional variation in contemporary capitalism, comparative analysis, labour process and work place organization. Patrick’s current research focuses on developing comparative contemporary labour process regimes in the financialised small open economies of Ireland and Denmark.

Working Title: Working in a Financilalised Economy (Institutions, labour process regimes and financialisation in Ireland and Denmark)



Fergal Rhatigan (PhD Researcher)

Fergal Rhatigan is writing his PhD in Sociology at NUIM. His PhD thesis is a study of the work practices and development understanding of Irish development workers and missionaries. He is currently also working with Seán Ó Riain and Matt Keller (SMU) on a project comparing state investment and development banks in a series of countries including Germany, Brazil, Ireland, and the US. This research is funded by the European Research Council and the Irish Research Council.




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