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Martina Byrne

Martina Byrne

Personal Information

Personal webpage URL:

Discipline: Sociology

Supervisor: Dr Ronit Lentin

Nationality: Irish

Qualifications: PhD.(Sociology), MPhil (Race and Ethnicity), B.A (Communications)

Funding grant(s) (if any): Departmental Studentship

Date of registration: October 2009

Research topic : Intersection of race, ethnicity and class in contemporary Ireland

Socio-economic changes in Ireland since the 1990s, specifically economic growth and recession, immigration and emigration, provide a unique context and opportunity to contribute to sociological theories on the intersection of class and race/ethnicity and national identity. My research uses qualitative peer research methods to explore in-depth, for the first time in Ireland, the diverse attitudes of Irish professionals towards immigrants. Fieldwork was undertaken before, and during, the current economic recession. The study also examines the appropriateness of grounded theory methodology and peer research methods in studying socially contentious issues amongst highly educated, research-aware participants.


Publications: Peer-Reviewed

  • Byrne, M. and Ni Chonaill, B. (forthcoming 2014) ‘Ghettos of the mind’: Realities and Myths in the Construction of the Social Identity of a Dublin Suburb’. Sociological Research Online.
  • Byrne, M. (2012). ‘People like us can’t say that’: Using peer interviews to collect data on a sensitive topic. Irish Journal of Anthropology. Special Issue: Interviewing Ireland. Volume 15. Issue 1. (Spring/Summer) Available:    
  • Byrne, M. (2011). Irish Professionals, Migrants, and Resource Competition: Talk from before and during the recession. Translocations: Migration and Social Change. Volume 7. Issue 1. (Summer). Available:

     Conference Papers:
  • The Changing Nature of Irish Racisms: Is Economic Contribution the new White? British Sociological Association Conference, Leeds, 23-25 April 2014.
    This paper was selected from the conference programme for discussion on the weekly sociology programme on BBC Radio 4 ‘Thinking Allowed’ hosted by Professor Laurie Taylor. The interview will be broadcast in May/June 2014
  • A longitudinal peer research study of the attitudes of the Irish professional social class towards immigrants before, and during, economic recession. European Sociological Association Conference, Geneva, September 2011
  • Social division and identity: Professionals and ‘immigrants’ in contemporary Ireland. British Sociological Association Conference. London, April 2011.
  • ‘Nothing to do with me’: Observation without interaction - The Irish professional social class and those they categorise as ‘immigrants’. Trinity Immigration Initiative International Conference. Dublin, July 2010.
  • ‘Living together but not talking’: The Irish professional social class and immigrants
    CRONEM 6th Annual Conference Living Together: Civic, Political, and Cultural Engagement among Migrants, Minorities and National Populations. University of Surrey, Guildford, June 2010.
  • ‘There's a pecking order’: Exploring the intersection of race and class. Sociology Association of Ireland Annual Conference. Queens University, Belfast, May 2010.
  • ‘People like us can’t say that’: Irish professionals talk. Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK. Queen’s University Belfast, April 2010.
  • Intersection of race and class: attitudes of the Irish Professional social class towards immigrants. ‘Migrant Lives: Past, Present, and Future’. Migration Studies in Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference Series. Dublin City University, April 2010.

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Last updated 11 July 2014 by IIIS (Email).