The primary aim of this research cluster is to explore the relationship between political economy, work and working lives. While the members of the research cluster approach the subject matter from a wide range of theoretical perspectives, we are united by our critical questioning of some of the dominant assumptions of neoclassical economics, and in particular the conceptualisation of a privileged and distinct sphere of social life termed “the economy”, in which the social value of the drive for unlimited economic growth is regarded as axiomatic.

Members of the research cluster are especially interested in exploring the impact of orthodox economics and the business of economy on work and working lives, not only so as to explain why in market-engulfed societies work is widely regarded as unmitigated necessity and a source of unfreedom, but also to encourage creative thinking about the means by which socio-economic structures might be transformed in order to facilitate pleasure and fulfillment in everyday labour.

Members of this research group are involved in a range of events, discussions and research seminars.

Sociology staff working in this area include:


Sean ÓRiain (cluster co-ordinator)
Mary Murphy (cluster co-ordinator)
Delma Byrne
Aphra Kerr 
Peter Murray
Aileen O’Carroll

Staff from other Departments in Maynooth University
Mark Boyle - NIRSA/Geography
Michael Doherty - Law and Government
Rory Hearne  - Geography
Kylie Jarrett - Media
Joe Larragy - Applied Social Studies
Anne O'Brien - Kairos/Media

Postdoctorates, Postgraduates and Visitors


Michael Byrne - Sociology
Amelia Dulee-Kinsolving - Law/Sociology
John-Paul Byrne - ERC/New Deals
Fergal Rhatigan - Sociology
Patrick Gallagher - ERC/New Deals
Ivan Privalko - ERC/New Deals
Cain O'Callaghan - IRC/Geography
Felix Behling - ERC/New Deals
Rosella Ciccia - ERC/New Deals
Trish Morgan - EPA/ Geography
Leighton Evans - ERC/Programmable City