30 Years of the Irish Journal of Sociology: Virtual Edition

John Nagle (Editor), Philip McDermott (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Anniversaries are invitations for us to ruminate in reveries of the past, to reflect on significant achievements or to indulge in introspective critical analysis and debate that potentially illuminates the path forward. The 30th anniversary of the Irish Journal of Sociology provided the Irish sociological community such an opportune moment to engage in discussions on the discipline’s history and its future journey. The publication of the journal’s 30th anniversary issue fulfilled this task. Key figures in the development of sociology of Ireland and the journal over the past three decades came together to offer interventions that were, often simultaneously, poignant, nostalgic, insightful, critical and enlightening, all in the best traditions of collegiality that marks out the social sciences.

This virtual issue stands as a companion piece to the special issue. The articles presented here are chosen not just because they represent the ‘top hits’ of the journal, however that standard may be measured; they are instead selected since they give the reader a flavour of the rich diversity of sociological themes and critical debates that have been central to the journal since its inauguration in 1991.

To be sure, as the flagship of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI), at its core, the Irish Journal of Sociology has been the leading outlet for social science research on Ireland - north, south and the diaspora. While it has almost become platitudinous to claim that the last 30 years has witnessed major social and political transformation in Ireland, sociology has been at the forefront of conceptualizing and generating key interventions on the drivers and outworkings of these social forces. Globalization, individualism, secularization, increasing levels of inequality, demands for gender equality and rights for LGBTQ+ populations, while present in many societies, have been identified by sociologists as inducing a rapid realignment and shifts in Ireland. The emerging peace process and inauguration of power-sharing in Northern Ireland has expedited new conflicts over ethnonationalist rights and culture. The baulk of the articles selected for this anniversary virtual issue reflect continuities and change, including analyses of migration, the family, gender and sexuality, ethnicity and citizenship, and post-Agreement Northern Ireland.

At the same time, the Irish Journal of Sociology has never been ring-fenced as an outlet reserved for Irish sociology. It is, importantly, a journal that is deeply positioned within the global sociological community. It is a welcoming venue for a broad spectrum of sociological thought and research internationally. For this reason, several articles in this virtual issue were penned by internationally renowned scholars who have innovated major modes of understanding our social worlds, including Ulrich Beck on ‘cosmoplitanism’, R.W. Connell on ‘masculinities, and E.O. Wright on capitalism and utopia.

We hope you will find the selection of articles provocative and inspiring in equal measure. It is our sincerest hope that you will continue with us on the journal’s forward journey.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 Feb 2022


Dive into the research topics of '30 Years of the Irish Journal of Sociology: Virtual Edition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this