Skip to main content

Social Divisions and Conflict

Director of Research – Professor Madeleine Leonard

The research focus of the Cluster embraces a range of social divisions and the social conflicts associated with them including those based on gender, religion, age, ethno-national identity, political affiliation, ethno-national conflict, class, urban conflicts, state borders, and post-conflict transformations. Members’ research projects include: divided cities in contested states, ethno-religious conflict, conflict management and transformation,  conflict and social work, religion and identity, spatial divisions and borders, gender, sexuality, children and childhood in divided societies, anti­-Semitism, youth identity and violence and the conflicts generated by nationalism, unionism and imperialism.  The cluster prioritises research collaboration among members and between the cluster and other researchers in Queen’s and elsewhere. It also works to provide a supportive environment for PhD research and a forum for the individual research interests of members.

Staff members have a strong record of research funding from the ESRC, EU Framework Projects and Peace grants, Northern Ireland government, local charitable organisations, the voluntary sector, and small seed grants from Nuffield and the British Academy.  The main recent research project in the Cluster was an ESRC Large Grant: Conflict in Cities and the Contested State: Everyday Life and Possibilities of Transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and Other Divided  Led by Wendy Pullan, Architecture, Cambridge; the project involved Cambridge, Exeter and Queen’s led by Liam O’Dowd at Queen’s and James Anderson (Emeritus Prof, Geography),   Madeleine Leonard, Lisa Smyth and Katy Hayward as primary research partners with Ian Shuttleworth (Geography).  Véronique Altglas also recently held an ESRC grant which enabled her to conduct comparative research in France, Britain, Israel and Brazil on the trans-nationalisation of religions.

The Cluster has close collaborative links with the Institute for the Study of Conflict and Conflict Transformation, Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning in the School of  Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering; it also has links with Society, Space and Culture in the School of Geography, with Irish Studies in the School of History and Anthropology and with Clusters in the School of Politics.  The Cluster also has close links with the Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR) .  This is an inter-disciplinary centre founded in 2000, linking Sociology, Geography, Politics and Anthropology. 



Dr Véronique Altglas (Sociology)

Prof (Emeritus) James Anderson

Dr Michelle Butler (Criminology)

Dr Katy Hayward (Sociology)

Dr Milena Komarova (Institute for the Study of Conflict and Conflict Transformation)

Dr Cheryl Lawther (Criminology)

Prof Madeleine Leonard (Sociology)

Dr Siobhan McAlister (Criminology)

Prof Liam O’Dowd (Sociology)

Dr Ian Shuttleworth



Peter Doak

Ciaran Hughes

Leah-Marina McDonnell

Richard Montague

Kristen Nielsen

Duncan Scott