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Dr Peter Gardner
Lecturer in Sociology



  • PhD in Sociology (University of Cambridge)
  • MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict (Trinity College Dublin)
  • BA (Hons) in Economic and Social Studies (Trinity College Dublin)

After completing an undergraduate degree in Economic and Social Studies (sociology major) and an MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict at Trinity College Dublin, I studied for a PhD in Sociology at Jesus College, Cambridge. In 2017 I moved to the University of Aberdeen, initially as a Teaching Fellow and subsequently as a Lecturer (Scholarship), where I taught both sociology and peace/conflict studies. From 2017 to 2018 I was also an Affiliated Researcher in Political Sociology at Cambridge. I joined the University of York in 2019 as Lecturer in Sociology.

My teaching and research interests include:

  • Ethnic and racial studies
  • Language & identity politics
  • War, conflict, violence & peace-building
  • Postconflict societies
  • Contentious politics & social revolutions
  • Race, racism & postcoloniality

I am also an Associate Editor for Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest.



I am a political sociologist with a particular interest in contentious politics (protest, social movements, civil war/insurrection), environmental protest, post-conflict societies, ethnicity and language politics, and systems of domination and resistance.

My book, Ethnic dignity and the Ulster-Scots movement in Northern Ireland: Supremacy in Peril, was published by Palgrave in 2020. I am currently engaged in developing three areas of research:

1. Global Radical Environmental Protest

This project analyses environmental protest worldwide, looking in particular at the global spread of Extinction Rebellion. Working in collaboration with Tiago Carvalho (Lisbon University Institute), the aim of this research is to consider global responses to the current climate ecological catastrophe.

2. 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 project is in collaboration with Benjamin Abrams (UCL). Our co-authored edited volume, entitled Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics, is due to be published soon.

3. Language Politics in Postconflict Societies

The aim of this area of research is to investigate the nature of language politics in societies that have experienced civil war. This project is currently in development.


Full publications list


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

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

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.

Book Chapters

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 (2nd Year UG) 


Introduction to Qualitative Methods & Data Analysis (MA)

PhD applicants

I am particularly interested in hearing from PhD applicants whose research will be in any of the following areas:

  • Environmental protest and social movements
  • Contentious politics more broadly (protest, social movements, revolt, revolution)
  • Objects in contention
  • Politics of identity in postconflict societies
  • Race, ethnicity, nationalism, and language politics
  • Anti-colonialism or decolonising 

Contact details

Dr Peter Gardner
Lecturer in Sociology
Room 242
Law and Management Building
Department of Sociology
University of York
YO10 5DD