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Dr Smyth's research focuses on roles and social anxiety. She examinea the normative, interactive and emotional quality of role interpretation, and is developing a monograph on Roles, Conflict and Anxiety.

Her previous book, The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), examined agency and normative complexity. She has also published on the gendered national politics underpinning the abortion conflict in Ireland; the social politics of breastfeeding; sex education; and the significance of motherhood in social change in Belfast.

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Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • Critical theory analysis of social roles, in contexts such as gender, family life and young people
  • Studies of the emotional quality of social politics, including abortion, breastfeeding, and motherhood
  • Interactionist analyses of emotions, roles and social change.
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Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

School Of Social Sciences, Education And Social Work


Research students

PhD title: Narratives of persistent poverty: The case of lone mothers in Northern Ireland

Name: Bronagh Boyle
Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD title: Gender and Career Progression in India’s IT Sector: Experiences and Perceptions of Women Employees

Name: Gerard Gallagher
Years of Study: 
Country: India



Alumni: where are they now?

Gail Neil

PhD title: 'A different kind of girl': young women's experiences of growing up and 'coming out' in Northern Ireland.

Years of Study: 2013 - 2017
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Lecturer in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences at Ulster University

Mark Benson

PhD title: Abortion and Northern Ireland 1921-2002

Years of Study: 2013 - 2017
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Research Fellow, School of History, Anthropology, Politics and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast

Jennifer McIlwaine

PhD title: Early Motherhood and the Transition to Adulthood: Discourses of Youth and the Struggle for Authority

Years of Study: 2008 - 2013
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Corporate Services Officer, Controlled Schools Support Council

Research at Queen's

Postgraduate research

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