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Dr Heaney's primary research interests are interdisciplinary, lying at the intersections of sociology and politics. Emotion and power, along with affect and habitus, remain central to his ongoing research agenda in social theory and within the political sociology emotions, as well as to his wider interests in the sociology and politics of Ireland, the digital sociology of emotion, and qualitative research methods (including narrative-life history interviews).

His PhD was a study of emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular. Aspects of this project will feature in a forthcoming monograph, provisionally titled Emotions & Power: Habitus and Change in Late Modernity, which is currently under contract with Routledge.

He has published on emotions and nationalism in the past and is currently working on a new project on the interplay of emotions, power, and the state currently called the ‘Emotional State’. Other papers include theoretical work on processual-relational approach to affect, emotion, and habitus (affective transactions), and on emotion as power in contemporary party politics.

The objective of the research activity is to demonstrate, explain, and understand how emotion and power dynamics are foundational to the constitution and transformation of social life.

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Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • Sociology of Emotions – many areas, but especially in relation to the dynamics of emotions and power; digital sociology of emotion
  • Political Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to party politics, politicians, the state, post-conflict emotions, nationalism, war, Ireland
  • Social/Sociological Theory – especially in relation to power, emotion, affect, habitus; process ontologies; relational sociology; processual sociology; new materialism
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Research students

PhD Title: The (micro)Outcomes of Riots: Analysing the internal cultural and biographical effects of rioting in Belfast and Burgos

Name: Alba Arenales
Years of Study: 2018 - present
Country: Northern Ireland


Alumni: where are they now?

Name: Dr Sylvia McCracken

PhD title: ‘Religion, Identity and Young Adults in East Belfast’ (Passed, 2016)

Years of Study: 2013 - 2016
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Lecturer in the University of Liverpool


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