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Dr Peter Gardner
Senior Lecturer



Pete Gardner is Senior Lecturer in sociology at the University of York. He is a political sociologist with research interests in social movements and contentious politics. His core research focuses on the sociology of the climate and ecological emergency and global environmental social movements.

Gardner grew up in Northern Ireland. He holds a BA and MPhil from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the University of York in 2019, he was a teaching fellow at the University of Aberdeen and Affiliated Researcher in Political Sociology at the University of Cambridge.

In his previous work, Gardner analysed the politics of ethnicity and language in postconflict societies. This research was published in Identities, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Irish Journal of Sociology, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. His book, Ethnic Dignity and the Ulster-Scots Movement in Northern Ireland: Supremacy in Peril was published by Palgrave in 2020.

Gardner is ​Deputy Chief Editor of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest.



Social Movements & the Climate Crisis

Since 2020, Gardner has been working in collaboration with Tiago Carvalho (Lisbon University Institute) to study the rise of Extinction Rebellion worldwide. The aim of this research is to consider how the movement spread globally and how it localised to specific political and cultural contexts.

See: Gardner, P., Carvalho, T. and Valenstain, M., 2022. Spreading rebellion?: The rise of extinction rebellion chapters across the worldEnvironmental Sociology, pp.1-12.

Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics

Objects imbued with symbolic content can be powerful and potent signifiers in political contention. Such objects can divide and unite social groups, tell stories, make declarations, spark controversy and even trigger violent upheaval. This research aims to shed light on the nature, form, meanings, uses and functions of symbolic objects across the field of contentious politics broadly (spanning from protest marches and strikes to insurrections and revolutions).

This research is a collaboration between Gardner and Ben Abrams (UCL). Our co-authored edited volume, entitled Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics, will be available open access from March 2023.


Full publications list

Social Movements Research:

Abrams, B. and Gardner, P. R. (2023) Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Gardner, P. R., Carvalho, T., and Valenstain, M. (2022) Spreading Rebellion?: The rise of Extinction Rebellion Chapters across the world. Environmental Sociology, 8(4), pp. 424-435.

Gardner, P. R. and Carvalho, T. (forthcoming) Intersecting Planes of Crisis: Geometrics of crises and the climate catastrophe in Extinction Rebellion Rhetoric, in K. Heidemann (Eds.) Geometries of Crisis. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.


Ethnopolitics in Postconflict-Societies Research:

Gardner, P. R. (2020) Ethnic dignity and the Ulster-Scots movement in Northern Ireland: Supremacy in peril. Palgrave.

Gardner, P. R. (2018). Ethnicity monopoly: Ulster-Scots ethnicity-building and institutional hegemony in Northern Ireland. Irish Journal of Sociology, 26(2), 139-161.

Gardner, P. R. (2018). Diaspora, defeatism, and dignity: Ulster Protestant reimaginations of the self through Ulster-Scots Americanism. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41(11), 2048-2066.

Gardner, P. R. (2018). Ethnicizing Ulster’s Protestants?: Ulster-Scots education in Northern Ireland. Identities, 25(4), 397-416.

Gardner, P. R. (2015). Unionism, Loyalism, and the Ulster‐Scots Ethnolinguistic ‘Revival’. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 15(1), 4-25.


Gardner, P. R. & Nagle, J. (forthcoming, 2020) “United Kingdom,” in Thomas Wilson, Europe: An Encyclopaedia of Culture and Society. ABC CLIO.

Gardner, P. R. (2017) ““An Eviction of Sorts”: Language, Race, and Colonial Liminality in Ireland,” in Jeremiah J. Garsha, Critical Insights: Postcolonial Literature. Ipswich MA, Grey House.



  • Cultivating a Sociological Imagination (1st Year UG)
  • Division & Inequalities: Race & Ethnicity, Class & Religion (2nd Year UG)
  • Doing Research (Year 2 UG) 


Introduction to Qualitative Methods & Data Analysis (MA)

PhD applicants

PhD applicants are particularly sought for the following:

  • Environmental social movements
  • Global case studies of climate-related protest
  • Sociology of climate change
  • Contentious politics more broadly (protest, social movements, revolt, revolution)
  • Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics

Contact details

Dr Peter Gardner
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Department of Sociology LMB/242
University of York
YO10 5GD

Tel: +44(0)1904 32 6876