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Madeleine Leonard

Photo of Madeline Leonard
Madeline Leonard

BA, PhD (Queen’s)
Professor of Sociology
Room 1.14, 3 College Park East
Ext 3375 email

My research interest is in the sociology of childhood. I am particularly interested in creative and participatory methods of including children in the research process and I employ a wide range of qualitative research methods in my work with children and their childhoods including focus groups, writing exercises such as stories, visual methods such as photo prompts, cameras and maps.  I am particularly interested in children?s experiences of growing up in divided societies and am the Convener of a special interest group on Children and Political Conflict as part of the University's Research Forum for the Child. I have carried out research on teenagers' experiences of growing up in interface areas in Belfast and have a number of publications in this area.  I have also extended this research interest to Cyprus and I was awarded a grant from the Council for British Research in the Levant (2009) to examine the attitudes and experiences of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teenagers in relation to the conflict in Cyprus.  I am a Primary Research Partner in an ESRC project entitled Conflict in Cities and the Contested State.  I have recently completed a one year project (2010) on teenagers' perceptions of Belfast as a divided or shared city and I am in the process of analysing the data and preparing journal articles for publication.   

Children's participation in paid and unpaid work is a further research interest and I have carried out research into children's paid employment and their participation in household work paying particular attention to their views on the right to work.

I am also interested in the selective amnesia of divided cities in their attempts to portray their past and present histories to tourists and have focused on this in relation to Belfast which has repackaged itself as a post-conflict destination and Nicosia which presents itself as the ‘last divided capital city’ in Europe.  

I am keen to support applications for postgraduate research in any of the above and in the general area of childhood studies.     

Teaching Interests

Sociology of Childhood, Research Methods with Children, Social Change and Development 

Recent Publications

Leonard, M. (2011) A Tale of Two Cities: Political Tourism in Belfast, Irish Journal of Sociology, 19,2, 110-125.

Leonard, M and McKnight, M. (2011) Bringing Down the Walls: Young People?s Perspectives on Peace Walls in Belfast, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31, 9/10, 569-583.

Leonard, M. and McKnight, M. (2010) 'Teenagers' Perceptions of Belfast as a Divided/Shared City', Shared Space, 10, 23-39.

Leonard, M. (2010) 'Parochial Geographies: Growing up in Divided Belfast', Childhood, 17,3, 329-342

Leonard, M. (2010) 'What's Recreational about Recreational Rioting', Children and Society,  24,1, 38-50 

Leonard, M. (2009) 'Child Work in the 21st Century: Dilemmas and Challenges', International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 29, 3, 1-9 (also Guest Editor of this Special Issue) 

Leonard, M. (2009) 'Children's Agency in Politically Divided Societies: The Case of Northern Ireland', Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 12, 115-138.

Leonard, M. (2009) 'It's Better to Stick to Your Own Kind: Teenagers' Views on Cross-community Marriages in Northern Ireland', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.  35, 1, 97-114.

Leonard, M. (2009) 'Helping with Housework: Exploring Teenagers' Perceptions of Family Obligations', Irish Journal of Sociology, 17,1, 1-18.

Leonard, M. (2008) 'Social and Subcultural Capital among Teenagers in Northern Ireland', Youth and Society.  40,2, 224-244.  

Leonard, M. (2008) 'Building, Bolstering and Bridging Boundaries: Teenagers Negotiations of Interface Areas in Belfast?, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34, 3, 471-489.

Leonard, M. (2007) 'A Little Bit of History and a Lot of Opinion: Biased Authenticity in Belfast and Nicosia', Journal of Cyprus Studies,  13, 53-77.  

Leonard, M. (2007) 'Children's Citizenship Education in Politically Sensitive Societies', Childhood A Global Journal of Child Research,  14,4, 487-504.

Leonard, M. (2007) 'Trapped in Space? Children's Accounts of Risky Environments', Children and Society, 21, 6, 432-446.

Leonard, M. (2007) 'Children?s Drawings as a Methodological Tool: Reflections on the Eleven Plus System in Northern Ireland', Irish Journal of Sociology,  15, 2, 52-66.