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UCD School of Sociology

Scoil na Socheolaíochta UCD

School Seminars and Conferences

Date and VenueEvent

Thursday, 5th February
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building


‌Title: Research Social Networks in Climate Change Policymaking
Speakers: Dr Alberto Caimo (Faculty of Economics, University of Lugano) and PhD Paul Wagner (UCD School of Sociology)

Two papers are presented:

1. Dr Alberto Caimo  (Faculty of Economics, University of Lugano)  Recent modelling and computational developments in Bayesian social network analysis

2. Paul Wagner (UCD Dynamics Lab/ UCD School of Sociology) Cooperative Climate Change Policymaking: A Bayesian Exponential Random Graph Model


Thursday, 19th February
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building

Title: Trial by Media: The Legal and Sociological Implications of the Friedman Case
Speaker: Dr Sam Ashenden (Department of Politics, Birkbeck, University of London)

In 2003 the Friedman child sex abuse case (Great Neck, Long Island, New York) became a cause celebre when it became the subject of a film by director Andrew Jarecki. Capturing the Friedmans was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Documentary Features. Jarecki claims his film is the trial that Arnold and Jesse Friedman never had (both accepted plea bargains so the case did not go to full trial). This talk examines the role of the film in its sociological and legal contexts. Taking issue with the director’s claim that his documentary can function as a trial, the talk will discuss the implications of this device in framing the politics of sexual abuse and its regulation in the US and beyond.

Samantha Ashenden is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2004 she published Governing Child Sexual Abuse: negotiating the boundaries of public and private, law and science (Routledge 2004). She is currently researching the Friedman case and its sociological implications.


Thursday, 26th February
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Pedro J. Oiarzabal
‌Migration in the digital era: The Basque diaspora case
Speaker: Dr Pedro Oiarzabal (Institute of Human Rights, University of Deusto, Bilboa)

“If anything, a diaspora is defined by “not being there”, i.e., in the homeland. The physical, psychological/emotional, temporal and generational separateness is at the core of any diaspora—a network of migrant/exile communities with a common origin dispersed throughout the world. Consequently, the emergent technologies of information and communication are of vast importance. Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal will present an overview of his work at the intersection between migration and diaspora studies and Internet and web studies by focusing on the Basque diaspora case and its expansion into cyberspace.”

Pedro J. Oiarzabal has spent much of his life between the Basque Country, Ireland and the United States. Currently, he is a researcher on migration and diaspora studies at the Human Rights Institute at the University of Deusto, Bilbao, and the Jon Bilbao Research Fellow on the Basque Diaspora at the University of Nevada, Reno. He holds a PhD in Political Science-Basque Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno, a MPhil in Economics and Social Sciences from Queen’s University of Belfast (N. Ireland), and BA in History from the University of Deusto.

For over a decade Oiarzabal has focused his work on consultancy and research on migration, with particular emphasis on the Basque presence abroad: public policy (citizenship abroad and returnees), historical memory (emigration, return and oral history), and emergent technologies and associationism (Internet and online social networks).

Oiarzabal has authored over twenty publications. Among others, he has published books on identity, technology, and the Basque diaspora: “La Identidad Vasca en el Mundo” (2005), “A Candle in the Night: Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, 1967-2007” (2007), “Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area” (2009), “Diasporas in the New Media Age: Identity, Politics, and Community” (2010), and “The Basque Diaspora Webscape: Identity, Nation, and Homeland, 1990s-2010s” (2013).

In addition, Oiarzabal and Nerea Mujika (director of the Institute of Basque Studies at the University of Deusto) have produced the oral history documentary “Gure Bizitzen Pasarteak – Fragments of Our Lifes” (2012) (, and the online platform “Ondare Bizia-Living Heritage” (

Oiarzabal collaborates with local and international media. He worked on the international launch of Facebook Stories and participated in the program “The Digital Human” of BBC Radio 4. He authors the blogs “Basque Identity 2.0” of EITB and “Diaspora Bizia” of‌.



Thursday, 5th March
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Title: Agent Based Modelling for Social Innovations
Speakers: Dr Georgij Bobashev (UCD Dynamics Lab and RTI International) and PhD Xiong Hang (UCD School of Sociology)


Thursday, 12th March

Time & Date TBC
Michael Hechter

‌The UCD School of Sociology in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the TCD Policy Institute would like to invite you to a public lecture:

Speaker: Professor Michael Hechter (Arizona State University)
Title: Legitimating Alien Rule

This talk suggests that although alien rule is today universally regarded as illegitimate, alien rulers can attain legitimacy to the extent that they provide governance that is both effective and fair. Governance is effective to the degree that citizens have access to an expanding economy and an ample supply of culturally appropriate collective goods. Governance is fair to the degree that rulers act according to the strictures of procedural justice. These twin conditions help account for the legitimation of alien rulers in organizations of markedly different scales. These principles to the legitimation of alien rulers in states (the Republic of Genoa, nineteenth- and twentieth- century China, and modern Iraq), colonies (Taiwan and Korea under Japanese Rule and various parts of the French Empire), and occupation regimes, as well as in less encompassing organizations such as universities (academic receivership), corporations (mergers and acquisitions), and stepfamilies. Finally, I will speculate about the possibility of an international market in governance services.

Michael Hechter received both his AB and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Foundation Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University, and Professor of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen. Hechter has previously taught at the Universities of Washington, Arizona and Oxford. He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and the Russell Sage Foundation, and was a visiting professor at the Universities of Bergen and Llubljana. Hechter is the author of numerous books, including Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development, 1536-1966 (1975; 1998); Principles of Group Solidarity (1987); Containing Nationalism (2000), and Alien Rule (2013). He is editor/co-editor of The Microfoundations of Macrosociology (1983); Social Institutions: Their Emergence, Maintenance and Effects (1990); The Origin of Values (1993); Social Norms (2001, 2005); and Theories of Social Order (2003; 2008). His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Demography, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Rationality and Society, Sociological Theory, European Sociological Review, and many other journals. His writings have been translated into Italian, Japanese, Hungarian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Spanish, Polish and Georgian.

Book your ticket

Thursday, 26th March
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Title: Unbelievable? The Atheist Bus Campaign in Ireland
Speaker: PhD Leon Dempsey (UCD School of Sociology)

Thursday, 2nd April
3:00 - 5:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Title: Competition - The History of a Concept
Speaker: Professor 
Jonathan Hearn (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh)

This talk derives from a larger on-going research project on the ‘culture of competition’.  That project explores the transformation of the concept of competition, and its increasing institutionalisation, in the formation of modern liberal culture.  Based on a systematic survey of historical dictionaries and encyclopedias, and a close reading of Adam Smith’sWealth of Nations, it presents evidence of a fundamental shift in the word and concept, corresponding to the emergence of modern liberal society.  

Thursday, 16th April
3:00 - 4:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Title: The Sociological Significance of Human-Animal Interactions
Speaker: Roisin Brennan, Winner of the 2014 Patrick Clancy Medal

This presentation contributes to the new and unique field of Human- Animal Studies (HAS) by exploring the interaction between humans and horses using a combination of video analysis, observational methods and semi-structured interviews. Guided by the literature of human-animal studies this study adopts a Symbolic Interactionist (SI) approach with the emphasis on language being removed. By placing the focus on the participant’s interpretations of the interactions it becomes clear that horses are seen as minded beings. However the focus is on how participants act towards the horses as if they have selves. Like previous human –animal studies this study challenges the pivotal role of language and as a result views the interaction with horses as an embodied experience. The body is shown to play an important role during these interactions contradicting Mead’s dualistic ideology. However this paper also challenges current human animal studies which have adopted symbolic interaction and argues that shared meanings and intersubjectivity may not necessarily be a prerequisite for a successful interaction to occur. This study as a result opens the doors to the potential to understand the non-verbal subjective interactions between horses and humans. Finally it highlights a need to bring animals closer into our lives with a particular focus on their potential to unearth relatively underexplored dimensions of human life.


Thursday, 23rd April
3:00 - 4:00

Room F308 Newman Building


Title: Don Bennett and the Dublin Dockyard Workers
Speaker: Dr Aileen O'Carroll (NUI Maynooth)

Our esteemed colleague Don Bennett died last August. He was a huge figure not just in the School, but in the university and within the field of Irish sociology. He was a true intellectual, scholar and academic and he left a remarkable legacy.

To mark his passing and his contribution to the lives of students and colleagues, the School of Sociology will hold an informal seminar in Room F308 Newman Building at 3pm on Thursday 23 April 2015 at which Pat Clancy and Tom Inglis will talk about him as a colleague and sociologist. This will be followed by a paper given by Aileen O’Carroll (NUIM).

The Dublin Docker: Unpredictable Work and Occupational Community

This paper is based on ongoing research conducted with Don Bennett on the Dublin Docker.  It tells two intertwined stories. Firstly, I describe the ebb and flow of a research project and the enthusiasm and energy which Don Bennett brought to this work. Secondly, I outline the origins and development of dock work in Dublin.

The seminar will be followed by a reception in the UCD Common Room to which you are invited.


Tuesday, 28th April

J.M. Synge Theatre
Arts Building
Trinity College Dublin

The UCD School of Sociology in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the TCD Policy Institute would like to invite you to a public lecture:

Speaker: Professor Nan Lin (Duke University)
Title: Social Networks and Economic Activities: An Embedded Economy Perspective

The significance of social networks for economic activities has received much research attention since Granovetter’s (1985) embeddedness argument. Yet, most research has been conducted in economic and business settings, suggesting that the significance of social networks for economy is meaningful only within the context of economy and business. I argue that social networks in fact present a context that facilitate and promote economic activities. Historically we have seen how ethnic and familial ties afford the formation of institutions such as trust that promoted trades in Europe, Africa and Asia. This social networks-embedding-economy phenomenon persists to the present day. Further, there is strong evidence that such embedding social networks can be constructed and sustained beyond ethnicity, family and location to dictate economic activities. Online cybernetworks (e.g., Facebook) are examples. I will discuss the implications of this social-network-embedding-economy perspective for theory, research and strategic actions.

Book your ticket.

This event is free. All Welcome.