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21 Last checked 2 July 2020


Jim McAuley is Professor of Political Sociology and Irish Studies. He has taught in various guises in a multidisciplinary Social Science setting for many years. He has been a visiting research scholar at several institutions in Sweden, Canada and the USA. Awarded his BSc from the University of Ulster in 1983, and a PhD in 1998 from the University of Leeds (a study the impact of political violence on community identity), he has continued to write extensively issues around political conflict and division.

He over 30 years of experience researching into political violence and terrorism, largely in the context of Northern Ireland. His major approach is to analyse the organizational structure of organizations engaged in political violence and their relationships over time. As such he has researched those involved in interactions with such organisations and the social movement sector closely. He has studied all aspects of the cycle of those engaged in political violence – engagement, involvement and disengagement, again mainly in the context of Northern Ireland, including the role of religion in motivating terrorism that is grounded in an ideological and socio-political framing.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Northern Irish politics and society
  • Britishness and Unionism
  • Social Movements
  • Popular Cultures
  • The Politics and Culture of Diaspora

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Sociology
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Governance
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Social Exclusion
  • Development Studies
  • Political Sociology
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Case Studies
  • Citizen Participation
  • Political Participation
  • Local Governance
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Community Development
  • Local Development
  • Social Development
  • Community Empowerment
  • Social Work
  • Political Anthropology
  • Social Theory
  • Advocacy
  • Social Capital
  • Social Movements
  • Community Organisation
  • NGOs
  • Political Theory
  • Peace
  • Civil Society
  • Conflict
  • Ideology
  • Uganda
  • Kenya

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Research Output

Dedicated to the Cause: The Role of Identity in Initiating, Sustaining and Diminishing Violent Extremism

Ferguson, N. & McAuley, J. W., 21 Mar 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : European Psychologist.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Radicalization or Reaction: Understanding Engagement in Violent Extremism in Northern Ireland

    Ferguson, N. & McAuley, J., 1 Apr 2020, In : Political Psychology. 41, 2, p. 215-230 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Staying Engaged in Terrorism: Narrative Accounts of Sustaining Participation in Violent Extremism

    Ferguson, N. & McAuley, J. W., 17 Jun 2020, In : Frontiers in Psychology. 11, 10 p., 1338.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Divided Loyalists, Divided Loyalties: Conflict and Continuities in Contemporary Unionist Ideology

    McAuley, J. W., 10 Jun 2019, Peace or War?: Understanding the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Gillighan, C. & Tonge, J. (eds.). 1 ed. London: Routledge, p. 37-53 17 p. (Routledge Revivals).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • The Ulster Unionist Party: Country Before Party?

    Hennessey, T., Braniff, M., McAuley, J., Tonge, J. & Whiting, S. A., 3 Jan 2019, 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 256 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Activities

    ‘Loyalist Paramilitaries and Changing Perspectives on Violence’

    Jim McAuley (Speaker)
    15 Nov 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    ‘Giving up the Gun: Disengaging from terrorism in Northern Ireland'.

    Neil Ferguson (Speaker), Jim McAuley (Speaker)
    6 Nov 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    ‘Whatever happened to the Ulster Unionist Party’.

    Thomas Hennessey (Speaker), Máire Braniff (Speaker), Jim McAuley (Speaker), Jonathan Tonge (Speaker), Sophie Whiting (Speaker)
    19 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    ‘Memory Forgetting and Troublesome Narratives: The Writing and Re-Writing of the “Past” in Northern Ireland’

    Jim McAuley (Speaker), Neil Ferguson (Speaker)
    15 Jul 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    ‘Attitudes on Immigration Numbers: The Familiar versus the Novel Appeal’

    Leda Nath (Speaker), Nick Pedriana (Contributor to Paper or Presentation), Chris Gifford (Speaker), Jim McAuley (Speaker), Marta Fulop (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
    10 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation