Researchers at UCD


Iarfhlaith Watson

Lecturer/Assistant Professor

School Of Sociology
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168569


Dr Watson is currently the Head of UCD School of Sociology, where he has been a lecturer since 1996. He has been President of the Sociological Association Ireland (as well as Honorary Membership Secretary and Vice-President, and Managing Editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology), elected member of the Board of the International Visual Sociology Association, Irish member of the International Social Survey Programme and an Associate Editor of Visual Studies. His research interest, publication and teaching have been primarily in the area of the sociology of nations and national identity (with an interest in the Irish language and Irish language broadcasting).


Honours and Awards

Year: 2006.
Title: IRCHSS Govt of Ireland Research Project Grant 185,282.50 Euro
Year: 1995.
Title: Bord na Gaeilge Bursary
Year: 2002.
Title: IRCHSS Govt of Ireland Research Project Grant 112,500 Euro
Year: 1993.
Title: Communications Fellow


Association: SAI, Function/Role: Member of the Sociological Association of Ireland since 1992
Association: IVSA, Function/Role: Member of the International Visual Sociology Association since 1997
Association: ASEN, Function/Role: Member of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism various years since 2006

Other Activities

Visual Studies: Associate Editor (since 2000)
Irish Journal of Sociology: Managing Editor (2001-05)



Watson, Iarfhlaith; (2003) Broadcsting in Irish: Minority language, radio, television and identity. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [Details]

Book Chapters

Watson, Iarfhlaith (2018) 'Féiniúlacht agus Teanga' In: Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin agus Máire Ní Neachtain (eds). An tSochtheangeolaíocht: Taighde agus Gníomh. Baile Átha Cliath: Cois Life. [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2016) 'The Irish Language and the Media' In: Hickey, Raymond (eds). Sociolinguistics in Ireland. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. , pp.60-80 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2014) 'Irish language, Irish nation' In: Inglis, Tom (eds). Are the Irish different?. Manchester: Manchester University Press. , pp.177-187 Link to full text [Details]
Nic Ghiolla Phádraig, M agus I Watson (2012) 'Ról Chomhluadar agus Eagraíochtaí eile i dtógáil clainne le Gaeilge' In: BRIAN Ó BROIN (eds). Thógamar le Gaeilge iad. Dublin: Coiscéim. , pp.44-54 [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith; (2012) 'Na Meáin' In: Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin and Máire Ní Neachtain (eds). An tSochtheangeolaíocht: Feidhm agus Tuairisc. Dublin: Cois Life. , pp.243-259 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2008) 'Irish Language and Identity' In: C. Nic Pháidín agus S. Ó Cearnaigh (eds). A New View of the Irish Langauge. Dublin: Cois Life. , pp.66-75 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, I. Nic Ghiolla Phádraig, M., Kennedy, F. and Rock-Huspatel, B. ; (2007) 'National Identity and Anti-Immigrant Attitudes' In: Hilliard and Nic Ghiolla Phádraig (eds). Changing Ireland in International Comparison. Dublin: Liffey Press. , pp.217-242 Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2007) 'Identity, Language and Nationality' In: Sara O'Sullivan (eds). Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map. Dublin: UCD Press. , pp.351-369 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2007) 'Recent and current trends in Irish language broadcasting' In: John Hogan and Helena Sheehan (eds). Mapping Irish Media. Dublin: UCD Press. , pp.49-62 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (1997) 'A History of Irish Language Broadcasting' In: in Mary Kelly and Barbara O'Connor (eds.) (eds). Media Audiences in Ireland. Dublin: UCD Press. , pp.212-230 Link to full text [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Boucher, Gerard and Iarfhlaith Watson (2017) 'Fortress Europe as Empire and Ireland's National Diaspora Centre'. Visual Studies, 32 (3):273-283. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Boucher, Gerard and Iarfhlaith Watson (2017) 'Special Issue: A Visual Sociology of Smaller Nations in Europe'. Visual Studies, 32 (3):205-299. [Details]
Boucher, Gerard and Iarfhlaith Watson (2017) 'Introduction to a visual sociology of smaller nations in Europe'. Visual Studies, 32 (3):205-211. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Cleary, A; Kearney, B; Solan-Schuppers, N; Watson, I (2014) 'Research in a time of financial constraints: carrying out representative postal surveys'. Irish Journal of Sociology, 22 (1):102-106. [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2013) 'Náisiúnachas leamh i 'bpobal inbhuanaithe' in aice le teorainn na Fraince agus na Gearmáine'. Irish Journal of Sociology, 21 (1):68-83. Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith and Máire Nic Ghiolla Phádraig; (2011) 'Linguistic Elitism: the Advantage of Speaking Irish Rather than the Irish-speaker Advantage'. Economic and Social Review, 42 (4):437-454. Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith and Máire Nic Ghiolla Phádraig (2009) 'Is there and educational advantage to speaking Irish? An investigation of the relationship between education and ability to speak Irish'. International journal for the sociology of language, 199 :143-156. Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith agus Máire Nic Ghiolla Phádraig (2008) 'Gaeilgeoirí agus an tArdoideachas: an gaol idir an t-oideachas agus cumas labhartha Gaeilge'. Taighde agus Teagasc, 6 . Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2002) 'Irish-language broadcasting: History, ideology and identity'. Media Culture and Society, 24 :739. Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (2001) 'TG4, Féiniúlacht agus Saoránacht'. Irish Journal of Sociology, 10 (2):1-12. Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (1997) 'Teilifís na Gaeilge as a Public Sphere'. Irish Communications Review, 7 . Link to full text [Details]
Watson, Iarfhlaith (1996) 'The Irish language and television: National identity, preservation, restoration and minority rights'. British Journal of Sociology, 47 :255-274. Link to full text [Details]

Other Journals

Iarfhlaith Watson and Prasanth Sukumar (2018) 'The Unhappy Viewer: Heavy Television Viewing, Happiness, Social Interaction and the Situation of the Sociology of the Media' ISA eSymposium 8 (1) :1-15. Available Online [Details]


Watson, I.; (2006) 'Journey of a Past President'. Newsletter [Details]
Watson, I.; (2006) 'Positivist Epistemological Foundation of Social Constructions of Irish Greed'. Newsletter [Details]

Invited Seminars

Watson, Iarfhlaith (2012) Cé acu is mó atá ar leas na Gaeilge - an náisiún-stát nó an t-iltíreachas?. Invited Seminars Link to full text [Details]
Watson, I; (2010) 'LINGUISTIC ELITISM - THE IRISH SPEAKER ADVANTAGE'. Invited Seminars [Details]
Watson, I.; (2006) 'The Situation of the Irish Language'. Invited Seminars [Details]
Watson, I.; (2004) 'Broadcasting in Irish'. Invited Seminars [Details]
Watson, I.; (2003) 'Broadcasting in Irish'. Invited Seminars [Details]
Watson, I; (1997) 'On Visual Sociology'. Invited Seminars [Details]
Watson, I.; (1995) 'TnaG as a Public Sphere'. Invited Seminars [Details]

Presented Papers

Watson, I.; (1996) 'TnaG as a Public Sphere'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (1997) 'TnaG in Context'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (1997) 'Caught in a Dialectic: Irish Language Broadcasting in the National Narrative and Market Praxis'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (1998) 'Paradox of Citizenship'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (1999) 'Visual Sociology: A Research Method'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2000) 'Representations of Irishness'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2000) 'On the Sociology of Seeing'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2000) 'Irishness: Visual Research Project'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2002) 'Official Representations of Irishness'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I. et al.; (2004) 'National Identity and anti-immigrant views in ISSP 1995-2003'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I. et al.; (2004) ''Defending the Boundaries?' National Identity and Attitudes to Immigrants in Ireland'. Presented Papers [Details]
McCabe, B. (and Watson, I.); (2006) 'Working TIme Preferences in Ireland (1989-2005)'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2006) 'City and the National Border'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I.; (2007) 'The educational advantage of a linguistic policy: why Irish speakers were more likely to go to university'. Presented Papers [Details]
Watson, I; (2010) 'THE UNHAPPY TV VIEWER'. Presented Papers [Details]

Book Reviews

Watson, I (2012) Review of A loss of innocence?: Television and Irish Society, 1960, 72, by Robert J. Savage, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2010. Book Reviews [Details]
Watson, I.; (2004) 'Book review of Niamh Hourigan 2003 Escaping the Global Village: Media, Language and Protest. Oxford: Lexington Books '. Book Reviews [Details]


Watson, I.; (2007) 'A photographic study of un-nationalistic symbols in a German city'. Presentation [Details]


Research Interests

Sociology of Nations
Dr Watson's primary research interest, in the area of national identity as solidarity and exclusion. His supervisory interest is also in this area. Over the past two decades his work has focused primarily on nations, in the connection between languages and national identity. In his recent publications he has focused on broadcasting in Irish in the context of national identity. He is currently exploring the tensions between national and cosmopolitan phenomena.

Recent Postgraduates

Valeria Llano-Arias PhD 2015 'Overcoming silence and oblivion: Communication practices and citizen participation in the Colombian Water Movement'
Ryan Nolan MSocSc 2015 'Nationalism and the Scottish Media: A Media Analysis of Scottish Identity during the Referendum Campaign for Scottish Independence'
Cian Doran MSocSc  2015 'An examination of the changing social processes in the Do-It-Yourself music subculture in the Facebook age'
Cédric Gűtz MISOCO 2015 'Exploring Lifestyle Migration in Berlin'
Emmanuel Okigbo
2014 'Africans In Ireland and the New Political Activism'
Daniela Trifu MISOCO 2014 'The effects of linguistic integration policy on migrant's feeling of belonging, as internalized by Dutch society'

Current Postgraduate Students

Ryan Nolan, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor
Donal Reddington, Goverance (DGov)   -   Thesis Supervisor


Teaching Philosophy

Deep learning from: *teaching to different learning styles (e.g. inter- & intrapersonal, verbal & visual) *promoting active learning through PBL, group work & group discussion *incremental learning from a simple knowledge structure to knowledge application *appropriate assessment & timely feedback

Enhancement of Teaching

Quality of teaching is rooted in the relationship between lecturer and student. This does not mean that interaction is useful in all contexts. There are contexts in a command style is more appropriate and other contexts when the lecturer is an obstacle to intensive learning. *An experienced PBL practitioner will recognise the contexts in which the presence of the lecturer prevents students from taking full ownership of learning. On occasion this can even mean leaving the room for a few minutes. *These contexts, however, are best produced in the first instance by a lecturer, who, in a command-style of teaching, creates group-learning opportunities with clear rules of interaction for the students, but also with sufficient ambiguity in the 'problem' so that students can set relevant learning goals. *Sometimes talk and chalk is best (when the chalk breaks you have two - to paraphrase a colleague), however interaction in the classroom can also be enhanced by the use of appropriate new technology, such as clickers. All these techniques and technologies have facilitated in enhancing my modules. Student evaluation e.g., reflecting on student feedback at the Programme-level about over-assessment lead me to cut back assessment in Political Sociology in 2010/11, which resulted in a score of 3. In 2011/12, refocusing and renaming that module Sociology of Nations and redesigning the assessment resulted in a score of 4 in student evaluation of assessment.