Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Professor James Wickham
Fellow Emeritus, Fellows Emeritii


My PhD in sociology from the University of Sussex (UK) was a social history of working class politics in Weimar Germany. My early research in Ireland was on Irish industrialisation and labour market issues, especially the electronics industry. Through the Employment Research Centre within TCD Department of Sociology I have led EU-funded research projects on employment and work in contemporary Europe. My research on mobility and environmental sustainability has included studies of business air travel in Ireland and of urban transport in European cities. I have published Gridlock: Dublin's transport crisis and the future of the city (Dublin, 2006) as well as articles on European social research policy. I chaired the Trinity Immigration Initiative and after directing a project on Polish migrants in Dublin am now leading a project which compares Polish emigration in the 2000's with Irish emigration today.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

James Wickham, European Societies Today: Inequality, Diversity, Divergence, London, Routledge, 2020 Book, 2020

Alicja Bobek, Sinead Pembroke, James Wickham, Living in precarious housing: non-standard employment and housing careers of young professionals in Ireland, Housing Studies, 2020, p24 Journal Article, 2020

Alicja Bobek, James Wickham, Blurring boundaries: informal practices in formal employment in Ireland, Industrial Relations Journal, 49, (4), 2018, p336 - 351 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Alicja Bobek, James Wickham, Elaine Moriarty and Justyna Salamonska , Is money always the most important thing? Polish construction workers in Ireland , Irish Journal of Sociology, 26, (2), 2018, p162 - 182 Journal Article, 2018 URL

Alicja Bobek, James Wickham, The ownership of time: work in the Irish hospitality sector, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 20, (2), 2017, p17 - 25 Journal Article, 2017 URL

International Skill Flows and Migration in, editor(s)J. Buchanan, D. Finegold, K. Mayhew and C. Warhurst , Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2017, pp576 - 593, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2017

James Wickham, Unequal Europe: Social divisions and social cohesion in an old continent, London, Routledge, 2016 Book, 2016

Nach dem Ende der Party: Irlands Beschäftigungsmodell und das merkwürdige Überleben des Sozialstaaats in, editor(s)Steffen Lehndorff , Spaltende Integration, Hamburg, VSA, 2014, pp109 - 130, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2014

Learning from Poland? What Recent Mass Immigration to Ireland Tells Us about Contemporary Irish Migration in, editor(s)Louis Brennan , Enacting Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on International Integration, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp146 - 155, [Wickham James, Bobek Alicja, Daly Sally, Krings Torben, Moriatry Elaine and Justnya Salamonska ] Book Chapter, 2013

Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamońska and James Wickham, Polish migration to Ireland: "Free movers" in the new European mobility space, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39, (1), 2013, p87 - 103 Journal Article, 2013

Torben Krings, Elaine Moriarty, James Wickham, Alicja Bobek, Justyna Salamoñska, New Mobilities in Europe: Polish migration to Ireland post-2004, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2013, 1 - 176pp Book, 2013

Elaine Moriarty, Alicja Bobek, Justyna Salamońska, Torben Krings and James Wickham, '"Taking on almost everyone?" Migrant and Employer Recruitment Strategies in a Booming Labour Market', International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23, (9), 2012, p1871 - 1887 Journal Article, 2012

After the party's over: The Irish employment model and the paradoxes of non-learning. in, editor(s)Steffen Lehndorff , A Triumph of Failed Ideas: European models of capitalism in the crisis, Brussels, European Trade Union Institute, 2012, pp59 - 77, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2012 TARA - Full Text

James Wickham, Low Skill Manufacturing Work: From skill biased change to technological regression, Arbeit: Zeitschrift für Arbeitsforschung, Arbeitsgestaltung und Arbeitspolitik, 20, (3), 2011, p224 - 238 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamońska and James Wickham, 'From Boom to Bust: Migrant Labour and Employers in the Irish Construction Sector' , Economic and Industrial Democracy, 32, (3), 2011, p459 - 476 Journal Article, 2011

Hierarchies in the Air: Varieties of Business Air Travel in, editor(s)Jonathan V. Beaverstock, Ben Derudder, James Faulconbridge, Frank Witlox , International Busines Travel in the Global Economy, Farnham, Ashgate, 2010, pp125 - 143, [James Wickham and Alessandra Vecchi] Book Chapter, 2010

James Wickham and Erik Latniak, European Urban Public Transport: Towards a single European employment model?, Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation , 4, (1), 2010, p160 - 174 Journal Article, 2010 TARA - Full Text

Wickham, Transportation Scenarios: Looking forward and looking back in four European cities', Irish Transport Research Network Conference, Dublin, 1 Sept 2010, edited by A. Ahern , 2010 Conference Paper, 2010 TARA - Full Text

James Wickham and Alessandra Vecchi, The importance of business travel for industrial clusters - making sense of nomadic workers, Geografiska Annaler Series B: Human Geography, 91, (3), 2009, p245 - 255 Journal Article, 2009

Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamonska and James Wickham, Migration and Recession: Polish Migrants in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, Sociological Research Online, 14, (2/3), 2009 Journal Article, 2009 URL

Working in the gold rush: Polish migrants' careers and the Irish hospitality sector in, editor(s)Maeve Holohan and Sharon Bolton , Work Matters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Work, London, Palgrave, 2009, pp81 - 96, [James Wickham, Elaine Moriarty, Alicja Bobek and Justyna Salamoñska] Book Chapter, 2009

The end of Atkinson's onion? Good and bad external labour markets reconsidered in, editor(s)Holle Gruenert , "Good" and "Bad" External labour markets, Jena, Universitaet Jena, Institut fuer Politikwissenschaft, 2008, pp18 - 39, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2008

James Wickham, Gráinne Collins, Lidia Greco and Josephine Browne, Individualization and equality: women's careers and organizational form, Organization, 15, (2), 2008, p211 - 231 Journal Article, 2008

Worshipping at the shrine of the knowledge-based society? in, editor(s)David Jacobson and Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen , Innovation in Low-Tech Firms and Industries, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2008, pp267 - 284, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2008

James Wickham and Alessandra Vecchi, 'Local firms and global reach: Business air travel and the Irish software cluster , European Planning Studies, 16, (5), 2008, p693 - 710 Journal Article, 2008

James Wickham and Ian Bruff, Skills shortages are not always what they seem: migration and the Irish software industry, New Technology Work and Employment, 23, (1-2), 2008, p31 - 44 Journal Article, 2008

Irish mobilities in, editor(s)Sara O'Sullivan , Contemporary Ireland: A sociological map, Dublin, UCD Press, 2007, pp48 - 64, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2007 TARA - Full Text

Experiencing Mergers: A Woman's Eye View in, editor(s)Risberg, Annette , Mergers and Acquisitions: A critical reader. , Routledge, 2006, [Collins, G and Wickham J,] Book Chapter, 2006

Wickham J & Collins G , Involving Users in Social Science Research - A new European paradigm? , European Journal of Education, 41, (2), 2006, p269 - 280 Journal Article, 2006

J. Wickham, 'Public transport systems: the sinews of European urban citizenship?', European Societies, 8, (1), 2006, p3 - 26 Journal Article, 2006

James Wickham, Gridlock: Dublin's transport crisis and the future of the city, Dublin, Tasc at New Island, 2006, 256pp Book, 2006

Development of Policy Relevance in European Social Research in, editor(s)M. Kuhn and O. Remoe , Building the European Research Area - Socio-economic Research in Practice, New York / Berlin, Peter Lang, 2005, pp177 - 237, [L. Greco, P. Landri, M. Tomassini and J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 2005

G. Collins and J. Wickham, Inclusion or exploitation? Irish women enter the work force, Gender Work and Organisation, 11, (1), 2004, p26 - 46 Journal Article, 2004

J. Wickham and G. Collins, The call centre: A nursery for new forms of work organisation?, Service Industries Journal, 24, (1), 2004, p1 - 18 Journal Article, 2004

J. Wickham, Something new in old Europe? Innovations in EU-funded social research, Innovation: European Journal of Social Science Research, 17, (3), 2004, p187 - 204 Journal Article, 2004

Cutting up Cows in Dublin: Public spaces, public realms, public transport in, editor(s)M. Corcoran and M. Peillon , Place and Non-Place: The Reconfiguration of Ireland, Dublin, Insitute of Public Administration, 2004, pp196 - 205, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 2004

J.Wickham and G. Boucher, Training cubs for the Celtic Tiger: The volume production of technical graduates in the Irish educational system, Journal of Education and Work, 17, (4), 2004, p377 - 395 Journal Article, 2004

Understanding technological and organisational change in, editor(s)M. Heitor, E. Lorenz and B. Lundvall , Towards a Learning Society: Innovation and competence building with social cohesion for Europe, London, Edward Elgar, 2003, pp101 - 121, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 2003

G. Collins and J. Wickham, Experiencing mergers: A women's eye view, Women's Studies International Forum, 25, (5), 2002, p573 - 583 Journal Article, 2002

Dublin's Car System in, editor(s)M. Peillon and E. Slater , Memories of the Present: A Sociological Chronicle of Ireland 1997-1998, Dublin, Institute of Public Administration, 2000, pp77 - 88, [J. Wickham and M. Lohan] Book Chapter, 2000

An Intelligent Island? in, editor(s)M. Peillon and E. Slater , Fragments of Modern Ireland, Dublin, Institute of Public Administration, 1998, pp75 - 83, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1998

J. Wickham, The Golden Geese Fly the Internet: Some research issues in the migration of Irish professionals, Economic and Social Review, 29, (1), 1998, p33 - 54 Journal Article, 1998

J. Wickham, Part-time Work in Ireland and Europe: Who Wants What Where, Work, Employment & Society, 11, (1), 1997, p133 - 151 Journal Article, 1997

J. Wickham, Where is Ireland in the Global Information Society?, Economic and Social Review, 28, (3), 1997, p277 - 294 Journal Article, 1997

Irish Engineers: Education for Emigration? in, editor(s)G. Lee and C. Smith , Engineers and Management: International Comparisons., London, Routledge, 1992, pp162 - 183, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1992

J. Wickham, 'The Over-Educated Engineer? The Work, Education and Careers of Irish Electronics Engineers, IBAR- Irish Business and Administrative Review, 10, 1989, p19 - 33 Journal Article, 1989

J.Wickham, 'Changing White Collar Work: The Office of the Future in Perspective' , Studies, (Autumn), 1987, p316 - 325 Journal Article, 1987

Women Workers and Bureaucratic Control in Irish Electronics Factories in, editor(s)H. Newby , Restructuring Capital: Recession and Reorganisation in Industrial Societ, London, Macmillan, 1986, pp179 - 199, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1986

Industrialisation, Work and Unemployment in, editor(s)P. Clancy , Ireland: A Sociological Profile, Dublin, Institute of Public Administration, 1986, pp70 - 96, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1986

Dependency and State Structure: Foreign Firms and Industrial Policy in the Republic of Ireland in, editor(s)O. Hoell , Small States and Dependency, Laxenburg, Austrian Institute for International Affairs, 1984, pp164 - 183, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1984

Technical Training and Technical Knowledge in an Irish Electronics Factory in, editor(s)G. Winch , Information Technology in Manufacturing Processes, London, Rossendale, 1983, pp179 - 210, [P. Murray and J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1983

J. Wickham, Working Class Movement and Working Class Life: Frankfurt am Main during the Weimar Republic, Social History, 8, (3), 1983, p315 - 343 Journal Article, 1983

Technocratic Ideology and the Reproduction of Inequality: the case of the electronics industry in the Republic of Ireland in, editor(s)G. Day and D. Robbins , Diversity and Decomposition in the Labour Market, London, Gower, 1982, pp179 - 210, [P. Murray and J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1982

The Politics of Dependent Capitalism: International Capital and the National State in, editor(s)A. Morgan and D. Purdie , Ireland: Divided Nation, Divided Class, London, Ink Links, 1980, pp53 - 73, [J. Wickham] Book Chapter, 1980

J. Wickham, Social Fascism and the Division of the Working Class Movement: Workers and Political Parties in the Frankfurt Area 1928-30, Capital and Class , (7), 1979, p1 - 34 Journal Article, 1979

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

James Wickham, 'Ireland in the Crisis: Survival without transformation, Work(ing) in Europe, Jena (Germany), 27 June, 2013, University of Jena Invited Talk, 2013

James Wickham, Alla radice della crisi europea: la sostituzionie dei legami sociali con il mercato, Economia & Lavoro , 47, (1), 2013, p55 - 74 Journal Article, 2013

James Wickham, Europe's Crisis: Market competition instead of social bonds, 2013, - Miscellaneous, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text

James Wickham, Multiculturalism in a Europe des patries?, Migration and the City, Berlin, 29 November, 2012, Heinrich Boell Stiftung Invited Talk, 2012

James Wickham, 'Europe's Crisis: Market Competition Instead of Social Bonds, IG Metall Kurswechsel Conference, Berlin, 6 December, 2012, IG Metall Trade Union Invited Talk, 2012

James Wickham, Copying the American Nightmare? European universities and global higher education, Sustainable growth in the European Union - the role of education and training, Brussels, 13 November, 2012, Jean Monnet Conference, 61 - 64pp Invited Talk, 2012 URL TARA - Full Text

The Ryanair model of development? in, editor(s)Alex Klemm , Progressive-Economy@TASC 2009 Review, Dublin, TASC, 2010, pp12 - 13, [James Wickham] Book Chapter, 2010

James Wickham, From high skill migration to cosmopolitan service class? Irish migration policy in a European context, International Migration and Diaspora Studies Project (New Delhi) IMDS Working Papers, (15), 2009, p45 - 64 Journal Article, 2009 TARA - Full Text

Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamoska, James Wickham, Les migrants polonais dans l'Irlande en crise, Les Mondes du Travail, (7), 2009, p43 - 52 Journal Article, 2009

James Wickham, 'Nur zu Gast bei Freunden: Europa läuft Gefahr, sich aus dem Markt der Hochqualifizierten abzuschliessen', Internationale Politik, 63, (9), 2008, p76 - 80 Journal Article, 2008

James Wickham, The End of the European Social Model: Before It Began?, Dublin, 2002 Report, 2002 URL TARA - Full Text

J.Wickham, 'Squaring the Circle? Participation, Innovation and Employment - some results from the EPOC survey', Transfer - Quarterly of the European Trade Union Institute, 4, (2), 1998, p231 - 245 Journal Article, 1998

P.Murray and J.Wickham, 'Irish Graduate Emigration and the Single European Market, Studies, (Spring), 1990, p56 - 62 Journal Article, 1990

J. Wickham, Arbeiterpolitik und Arbeiterkultur in einer Grossstadt: Das Beispiel Frankfurt a.M., Sowi: Sozialwissenschaftliche Informationen für Unterricht und Studium , 13, (1), 1984, p22 - 30 Journal Article, 1984

J. Wickham, Sozialfaschismus und Spaltung der Arbeiterbewegung: Arbeiter und politische Parteien im Raum Frankfurt 1928-30, Archiv für Geschichte des Widerstandes und die Arbeit, (5), 1982, p27 - 56 Journal Article, 1982

J.Wickham, 'The New Irish Working Class?', Saothar: Journal of the Irish Labour History Society , (6), 1980, p81 - 88 Journal Article, 1980

E.Lucas, K.-H. Roth, J.Wickham, Arbeiterradikalismus und die 'andere Arbeiterbewegung' , Bochum, Edition Egalité, 1977 Book, 1977

Research Expertise


I currently research the relationship between employment and different forms of mobility, ranging from migration to business air travel. I recently completed a study of Polish migrants in the Dublin labour market; my current research project 'Learning from Poland' compares Irish graduate emigration to that from Poland in the last decade. Separately I am working on the impact of the European financial crisis, especially personal debt, on people's ability to travel for work and pleasure. I also work and publish on European social structure and the demise of the European Social Model.


  • Title
    • Careers, Conjunctures and Consequences. The implications of Polish migration to Ireland for contemporary Irish emigration
  • Summary
    • Our 'Migrant Careers' study suggested that Polish migration to Ireland was prototypical for other emerging European migrations - including that from Ireland today. The proposed project further develops our Qualitative Panel Study methodology to re-interview young Poles who worked in Ireland during the boom and interview a matching group of Irish graduate emigrants. We evaluate whether novel forms of migrant careers exist within the European the mobility space, the impact on migrants' careers of two different conjunctures (bubble and recession) and finally the lasting consequences for Irish employment regulation of the periods of mass immigration and mass emigration.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 01/08/2012
  • Date To
    • 30/09/2013
  • Title
    • Cars, debts and public transport: urban mobility in the crisis
  • Summary
    • After housing, for most people their major investment is a car. In countries such as Ireland car ownership, like home ownership, is taken as self-evidently desirable, yet the extent and form of both are massively shaped by public policy. However, cars, like houses, have to be bought. Car purchase often involves substantial debt and the expansion of car ownership is thus interwoven with the development of the financial services industry. Furthermore, motoring costs as a proportion of total household expenditure vary inversely with income. Like home ownership, car ownership is both entangled with the growth of the financial services industry and involves particular risks for low income groups; this is especially the case when some policies (e.g. limited public transport, dispersed settlement pattern) make car ownership crucial for low income groups. The final stages of the Celtic Tiger boom appear to have been an extreme case of this convergence: with a credit bubble and massive housing price inflation, home ownership, suburban sprawl, car ownership and consumer debt all expanded together. In this context the research project examines the relationship between social exclusion and mobility in an epoch of financialisation. In the current crisis it is arguable that those most threatened by new social exclusion are those most dependent on the expansion of both mobility and credit in the boom - those on first time mortgages in new suburban areas. Has the crisis created new forms of exclusion for new social groups, and if so, how does their experience compare with those of groups who already have a long term experience of social exclusion? The project will comprise case studies of two distinct suburban areas of Dublin: an established 'working class' area with high levels of unemployment even during the boom years, a second an area with new private sector housing constructed during the boom. It will largely use qualitative interview techniques as well as visual ethnography and existing statistical data. The project combines the research methods and concerns of the developing field of mobility studies both with the well established field of social exclusion and the new area of the financialisation of everyday life, including the role of assets and debt in social stratification
  • Funding Agency
    • TCD Arts and Social Sciences Benefaction Fund
  • Date From
    • 01/05/2012
  • Date To
    • 30/09/2013
  • Title
    • Migrant Careers and Aspirations
  • Summary
    • Much of the debate on immigration in Ireland today is concerned with the question m of 'integration'. However, this assumes that contemporary immigrants will in fact be staying in Ireland, even though there is considerable evidence that this is not necessarily the case. Equally, it is assumed that employers utilise migrant labour because of 'skill shortages', but there is no discussion of how this relates to the overall nature of employment in Irish workplaces. This project therefore studies the interaction of migrants' and employers' strategies. It studies the choices of both sides of the new employment relationship through analysis of individual migrants' careers and case studies of workplaces. To tackle these issues Migrant Careers and Aspirations uses a qualitative panel study of both immigrants and workplaces, flanked by a systematic monitoring of labour market trends. Fieldwork will begin in late 2007. The research will thus follow immigrants to Ireland as they move through the labour market. It will provide the first systematic study of migrants' careers and aspirations and how these change over time.
  • Funding Agency
    • Philanthropic
  • Date From
    • 01/10/2007
  • Date To
    • 30/09/2010
  • Title
    • DYNAMO
  • Summary
    • Analysis of the challenges facing national employment systems within the European Union; in particular the extent to which distinctive national structures are being reproduced.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 2004
  • Date To
    • 2007
  • Title
    • Mobile Lives
  • Summary
    • Analysis of the factors generating business travel and the location of particularly travel-intensive forms of business; the implications of extensive travel for work/life balance and social involvement.
  • Funding Agency
    • IIIS
  • Date From
    • 2004
  • Date To
    • 2006


Air Transportation; Employment; EU Politics; European Union Social Policy; Gender and work; Human Resource Management; Immigration; Industrial relations; Labour market institutions; labour migration; Migration; Migration and Employment; Public Transport; Traffic Congestion; Transport; Transportation; Unemployment; Worker Attitudes and Technology



Member, Scientific Advisory Council, Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (Germany) 2006

Member, Consultative Committee on the Local Government Reform Green Paper 2007

Member, Dublin Transportation Office Consultative Panel 2007

Awards and Honours

Provost's Teaching Award: Lifetime Achievement 2012

Jean Monnet ad personam professorship 1998

Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2005


Sociological Association of Ireland

European Sociological Association

British Sociological Association