Keith O Neill

Office: 377


I hold a joint bachelors degree (BA) in Sociology and French from Trinity College Dublin, and a master of science (MSc) degree in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam. Over the previous decade I have worked inside of the third-sector in the Republic of Ireland, and most recently in Canada, working with marginalized and "at-risk" individuals and groups. Previously, I worked in the third-sector as a research and development coordinator (immigrant advocacy), and more recently in Canada, through front-line practice, working directly with young people experiencing homelessness, and its many complex intersections such as addiction and trauma. 

In the Spring-Autumn of 2023 I will be a visiting researcher in Canada at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, and at Ryserson University, in Toronto. 


My research is interested in the relationship between the third sector and the state. In particular I am interested in understanding, through a comparative framework, how non-profit social service organisations continue to evolve at the same time that the state increasingly withdraws from the public body. In this restructuring process management practices inside of third sector organisations have become instrumental in shaping organisational structure, through professionalization, often at the expense of organisational mission. 

A central concern of my research is understanding the effects of 'business-like' operational structures on vulnerable people and groups represented by third sector / civil society organisations. In this light, I seek to understand how social inequalities are affected across different welfare-states, and to understand how the marketization of social service organisations impacts social inequalities. My research seeks to interrogate the assumption that non-proft social service organisations are somehow politically innocent in their function of maintaining social cohesion and ensuring hegemony.  

As civil society is becoming increasingy responsible for providing protection in areas that the state previously tended to, should this shift be read as some new form of radical democratic participation ("from below"), or just more sophiticated modalities of an already familiar liberal intervention in the body politic ("from above"). 

Research Interests: political sociology; social justice; third-sector / civil society; New Public Management; neoliberalism; comparative case study methodology. 


2022: Social Inequality - SOST0013  [Seminars] 

2023: Social Inequality - SOST0013  [Seminars]

Last updated on 2023-05-01 at 18:41