My research interests lie in the fields of social roles, norms and interactions. My
most recent book, The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2012), returns to neglected sociological questions concerning the connections
between agency and normative complexity, through the pragmatist interpretation it offers
of the recognition dynamics shaping this deeply contested and emotionally fraught role. 

My previous book, Abortion and Nation: The Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary
Ireland (Ashgate 2005), analysed the significance of a gendered politics of national
identity as it has played out in the context of abortion access. 

I have also published papers on the social politics of breastfeeding, abortion and sex
education, and am currently working on the significance of maternal situations as sites
of civility, sectarianism and social change in Belfast's divided inner city. 

I am interested in supervising PhD theses in the fields of normative conflict, role
inhabitance and creative action. 



The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (2012)

Motherhood is the focus of much public scrutiny, situated as it seems to be at...



Abortion and Nation: The Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Ireland (2005)

Abortion politics are contentious and divisive in many parts of the world, but nowhere more...




Maternal Situations: sectarianism and civility in a divided city (with Martina McKnight), Sociological Review (2013)

This paper explores the tensions between civility and sectarianism in contemporary Belfast. Drawing on interviews...



The social politics of breastfeeding: norms, situations and policy implications, Journal of Ethics and Social Welfare (2012)

This paper explores the social and emotional consequences of three major assumptions about human action...



Gendered Spaces and Intimate Citizenship: the case of breastfeeding, European Journal of Women's Studies (2008)

This article situates breastfeeding politics in the context of intimate citizenship, where women’s capability to...



Researching Conservative Groups: Rapport and Understanding Across Moral and Political Boundaries (with Claire Mitchell), International Journal of Social Research Methodology (2008)

This paper explores whether it is possible to understand the perspectives of people with whom...



The Cultural Politics of Sexuality and Reproduction in Northern Ireland, Sociology (2006)

This paper is concerned with the ways in which moral conservatives frame their opposition to...


Contributions to Books

Intimate Citizenship and the Right to Care: the case of breastfeeding, Intimate Citizenships: Gender, Sexualities, Politics (2009)

Infant feeding policies raise issues concerning women’s citizenship in specific cultural contexts. Building on recent...


Obywatelstwo intymne i prawo do opieki: problem karmienia piersią (prezełożyła Paulina Kwiatkowska), Tożsamość I obywatelstwo w społeczeństwie wielokulturowym (2008)


From Rights to Compassion: The D Case and Contemporary Abortion Politics, The Unborn Child, Article 40.3.3° and Abortion in Ireland: Twenty-Five Years of Protection? (2008)


The Summer of Discontent? The Fuel Crisis and New Labour Populism, Blairism and the War of Persuasion (2004)

This chapter is concerned with New Labour’s response to the fuel crisis in particular, as...


Abortion and Family Values: The X Case, Sexuality and “Irishness”, A Dangerous Knowing: Sexuality, Pedagogy and Popular Culture (1999)



Gender and Public Space in Divided Cities: dynamics of everyday urban life, ESRC Research Project on Conflict in Cities and the Contested State (Universities of Cambridge, Exeter, and Queen's Belfast) (2008)

The paper addresses two connected questions: firstly, in what ways might ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces...


GENDERED SPACES AND INTIMATE CITIZENSHIP: THE CASE OF BREASTFEEDING, Monitoring Parents: Childrearing in the Age of ‘Intensive Parenting' (2007)

This paper situates breastfeeding politics in the context of intimate citizenship (Plummer 2003), where women’s...