Social change discussed at SAI Conference



Staff and postgraduate students from IT Sligo attended the annual Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) conference in University College Cork at the weekend.

Each year, sociologists and social scientists from Ireland and overseas gather at the SAI Conference to discuss the changing nature of Irish and global society and how that change can be interpreted.

The contribution from IT Sligo representatives reflected the range of social science programmes on offer at the Institute.

Social policy lecturer, Dr Chris Sparks, who is well-known for his social analysis of Ireland’s Ghost Estate phenomenon, continued his analysis of the contradictions and convolutions of Celtic Tiger and post-Celtic Ireland in a poster presentation with the title ‘Piracy as policy: Social policy in the Republic of Ireland’ and a paper presentation that analysed missed opportunities, called Uncertain Ireland reconsidered: How the Celtic Tiger’s anti-social potentials negated the potential for creative development.

Lecturers Dr Liam Leonard and Paula Kenny are both members of the Executive of the SAI, and they presented a paper on their research in the area of restorative justice, Going beyond statistics to see the human beings: The social psychology of functionalist exchange. They also led a workshop entitled ‘Reaching out to the elements: promoting sociology as a key discipline’.

Dr Leonard is also the editor of this month’s Irish Journal of Sociology, the journal of the Sociology Association of Ireland , and the journal can be read at the following link:

Jessica Mannion, an IT Sligo graduate who has recently taken up doctoral studies at Trinity College Dublin, presented a paper based on her Masters research, completed at the Institute, which involved working with a group of disabled young people in Sligo Using an emancipatory methodology: process, constraints and recommendations.

Head of Department of Humanities, Dr Perry Share and lecturer Fergus Timmons presented a paper based on their research with staff of the Irish Prison Service, which provides a preliminary report on their investigation of the professionalization of the prison service, looking at international experience and some early data from a survey of Irish prison staff.

Meanwhile, postgraduate student Deirdre Byrne presented on the early stages of her research into Food and residential care for young people, an investigation of the eating and dietary practices of young people who find themselves in state care.

Further information about the SAI conference and the Association is available from and more information on the IT Sligo contribution to the conference is available from Dr Perry Share, Head of Department of Humanities, at


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