Social and Spatial Justice

Social and Spatial Justice


Research in this Cluster focuses on the complex social and spatial structures and processes that produce geographies of inequality, marginalisation, uneven development, privilege and oppression. Our overriding focus is on interrogating social and spatial injustices to promote means of development and ways of living that are socially and ecologically just. This is achieved through both our research and teaching practice. We have a noteworthy reputation for work in migration, food geography, civil society and cities and urbanism. Our research draws on diverse theoretical perspectives and is both historical and contemporary. Research projects within the Cluster are empirically grounded, drawing on qualitative, digital, action-oriented and quantitative methodologies, with the aim of creating knowledge in collaboration with those inside and outside the University. The core members of the cluster include: Therese Kenna, Denis Linehan, Piaras MacEinri, Ray O’Connor and Colin SageMA Geography (Cities, Space & Culture) not running in 2018/2019.


Research Themes

Our work spans four main areas:

Migration & Diversity (MacEinri & Kenna)

Research in this strand is engaged with the broad themes of integration,
multiculturalism and living with difference. Specific research interests include:
migration to and from Ireland; migration to and from EU peripheral Member States;
asylum and refugee issues; the construction of discourses concerning the movement
of peoples from the Global South to the Global North; and increasing diversity in
cities and the geographies of encounter. Current funded project:

Youth mobility: Maximizing opportunities for individuals, labour markets
and regions in Europe (YMOBILITY) (2015-2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr Piaras MacEinri

Funding body: H2020


Cities, Urbanism and the Built Environment
(Linehan & Kenna)

Research interest in this theme include: forms of urban marginality; impacts of
revanchism and neo-liberal policies on the social and urban fabric of the city; the
built environment as a practice, product and performance within the contemporary
city; urban processes and spatial factors that create and recreate social relations
that produce social exclusion; ICTs in urban social life; and methodologies for urban
studies. Our expertise in this area informs the MA Geography (Cities, Space & Culture).

Local, Rural and Community Development
(O’Connor & Sage)‌

This strand engages the tensions that arise between the State and its citizens as a result of the ongoing transformation of the welfare state, privatisation and
sub-contracting of services, and the ‘agenda of alignment’.

Food, environment and society

Work in this strand interrogates the interconnections of food systems, agriculture,
environment and wellbeing, with particular interests in food and nutritional security
and civic initiatives that work to strengthen the resilience of local food systems. ‌

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

Kenna, T. (2016, forthcoming) ‘Teaching and Learning Global Urban Geography: An International Learning-Centred Approach’, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, in press.

Kenna, T. and O'Sullivan, M. (2014) 'Imposing Tenure Mix on Residential Neighbourhoods: A Review of Actions to Address Unfinished Housing Estates in the Republic of Ireland'. Critical Housing Analysis, 1 (2): 53-62.

Kenna, T. and Stevenson, D. (2013) 'Experiences of 'community' in a gated residential estate'. Geographical Research, 51 (4): 412-423.

Kenna, T. (2011) 'Studentification in Ireland? Analysing the impacts of students and student accommodation on Cork City', Irish Geography, 44 (2-3): 191-213.

Linehan, D. (2015) 'Walls of Money: financialization in Dublin' 2ha – Architecture and Suburbia, 10 (1).

Linehan, D. (2014) 'Irish Empire: assembling the geographical imagination of Irish Missionaries in Africa', Cultural Geographies, 21 (3): 423-441.

Kitchin, R. Linehan, D., O’Callaghan, C. and Lawton, P. (2013) 'The creation and circulation of public geographies', Dialogues in Human Geography, 3 (1): 96-102.

Power, C., O'Connor, R., McCarthy, O. and Ward M. (2014) 'Merging into the mainstream? An empirically based discussion of the potential erosion of competitive advantage in a restructured Irish credit union movement', Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 2 (2): 55-64.

Power, C., O’Connor, R., McCarthy O. and Ward M. (2012) 'The Community Impact of Credit Unions in Ireland: Optimising the principle of social responsibility', International Journal of Co-Operative Management, 6 (1): 8-15.

Sage, C. (2014) ‘The transition movement and food sovereignty: From local resilience to global engagement in food system transformation’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 14 (2): 254–275.

Sage, C. (2014) ‘Food security, food sovereignty and the special rapporteur: Shaping food policy discourse through realising the right to food’, Dialogues in Human Geography, 4(2): 195–199.

Book Chapters

Hall, J., O'Connor, R., Power, C. and Brady, W. (2016) ‘New Structures for Local Government in Ireland: Evaluating the Impact on Community Participation in the Local Planning Process’, in: ISS21 Local and Community Development Working Group (eds.) The Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development in Ireland: Policy and Practice, Cork, pp.45-56.

Kenna, T., Linehan, D. (2015) ‘Gating in Urban Ireland’, in Beyond Gated Communities: Urban Gating and Soft Boundaries, Routledge, London, pp. 114-129.

Linehan, D. (2015) 'Street Trade in Nairobi' In: Informal Market Worlds. Rotterdam:: nai010 Publishers.

Linehan, D. (2015) ‘‘The Centre of Everything’: Ireland at the Dundrum Town Centre' In: Defining events: power, resistance and identity in 21st century Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Mac Éinrí, P. (2012) 'Famine and the Irish Diaspora' In: Crowley, J., Smyth, W.J., Murphy, M (eds) Atlas of the Great Irish Famine. Cork: Cork University Press.

Mullally, G., Sage, C., Byrne, E. (2016) ‘Contexts of transdisciplinarity: Drivers, discourses and process’. In Byrne, E., Mullally, G., Sage, C. (Ed.) Transdisciplinary perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability. London: Routledge.

O'Connor, R. and Byrne, N. (2016, forthcoming) ‘Horace Plunkett, the Co-operative Movement the Cultural Revival in Crowley, J., Murphy, M and Ó Drisceoil D. (eds) Atlas of the Irish Revolution, Cork: Cork University Press.

O’Connor, S. (2016, forthcoming) ‘Encounter, Interaction and the University: Producing Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion of International Students’, in Skelton, T. (editor-in-chief) Geographies of Children and Young People, Springer: Singapore.

O’Shaughnessy, M. and Sage, C. (2016) Markets, productivism and the implications for Irish rural sustainable development. In Byrne, E., Mullally, G., Sage, C. (Ed.) Transdisciplinary perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability. London: Routledge

Rylands, M., O'Connor, R. and Power, C. (2016) ‘Local Government Reform in Ireland: Implications for Rural Development and Community Engagement’ in: ISS21 Local and Community Development Working Group (eds) The Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development in Ireland: Policy and Practice, Cork, pp.57-66O.

Sage, C. (2016) ‘Food security’, in Richardson, D., Castree, N., et al. (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology (forthcoming).

Sage, C., Dehaene, M., Tornaghi, C. (2016) ‘Urban agriculture practices on the metabolic frontier: Cases from Geneva and Rotterdam’. In Lohrberg, F., Licka, L., Scazzosi, L., Timpe, A. (eds) Urban Agriculture Europe, Jovis Publishers: Berlin.

Sage, C. (2015) ‘Food and Sustainable Development: How should we feed the world?’ In: Routledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development (M. Redclift, D. Springett, Ed.), Oxon: Routledge.

Sage, C. (2014) 'Impacts of Climate Change on Food Accessibility' In: Handbook of Global Environmental Change. Dordrecht: Springer Science.

Sage, C. (2014) ‘Making and unmaking meat: Cultural boundaries, environmental thresholds & dietary transgressions’. In Food Transgressions: Making sense of contemporary food politics (M. Goodman & C. Sage, Ed.). Farnham, UK: Ashgate, p.181-203.


Byrne, E., Mullally, G., Sage, C. (Ed.) (2016; forthcoming) Transdisciplinary perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability. London: Routledge.

Goodman, M. and Sage, C. (Ed.) (2014) Food Transgressions: Making sense of contemporary food politics. Farnham: Ashgate.

Boyd, G.A. and Linehan, D. (Ed.) (2013) Ordnance: War, Architecture and Space. London: Ashgate.

Crowley, C. and Linehan, D. (Ed.) (2013) Spacing Ireland: place, culture and society. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Power, C., O'Connor, R., McCarthy, O. and Ward, M (Ed.) (2011) The Origins, Ethos and Evolution of Co-operative Credit in Ireland: Celebrating the Centenary of the Birth of Nora Herlihy – The Origins, Ethos and Evolution of Co-operative Credit in Ireland: Celebrating the Centenary of the Birth of Nora Herlihy. Cork: Centre for Co-operative Studies, University College Cork.

Sage, C. (2012) Environment and Food. Oxon: Routledge. ‌ ‌ ‌

Networks and Engagements


COST Action TU1306 (2014-2017)

CyberParks: Fostering knowledge about the relationship between Information and Communication Technologies and Public Spaces supported by strategies to improve their use and attractiveness.

Researcher: Dr Therese Kenna

COST Action TD1106 (2012-2016)

Urban Agriculture Europe.

Researcher: Dr Colin Sage

Event Organisation and Contributions

Kenna, T. (2016) Chair, International Scientific Committee, ‘ICiTy: enhancing places through technology’, International Conference, 18-19 April, University of Malta, Valletta, Malta.

Kenna, T. (2015) International Scientific Committee Member, Inclusive / Exclusive Cities (SINERGI: Social integration through urban growth strategies), 18-19 November, Skopje, Macedonia.

Linehan, D. and Packer, M. (2013) Lost Boys: The Territories of Youth, Exhibition, Cork: Glucksman, UCC.


Public Engagement

Cork Food Policy Council

Dr Colin Sage is Chair of the Cork Food Policy Council: a civil society organisation working with local authorities, statutory and charitable agencies and community groups to build a more sustainable, healthier and socially just food system in the region.


UCC Networks

Dr Colin Sage is co-convenor of the Environmental Citizenship Research Priority Area: Sustainability in Society 


Graduate Students

Current Research Students

Howlett-Southgate, Rosie (2016-2019): From ‘cockroaches’ to campaigns for acceptance: The political geography of forced migration and fear in the Republic of Ireland.

Funding: Government of Ireland Postgraduate Award (Irish Research Council), 2016-2019.
Supervisors: Dr Therese Kenna & Dr Denis Linehan

Kenny, Tara (2015-2018): “Food insecurity, charitable provisioning and policy silence: Taking a rights-based approach to food poverty in Ireland.”
Funding: Government of Ireland Postgraduate Award (Irish Research Council), 2016-2019.
Supervisors: Dr Colin Sage & Dr Therese Kenna

McKeever, Orla (2015-2020; Part-time): “Thresholds and the City.”
Supervisors: Prof Kevin McCartney (Centre for Architectural Education, UCC) & Dr Denis Linehan

O’Reilly, Anthony (2016-2019): “Geographies of Encounter: A critical analysis of the assemblage of social encounter and its relationship with ICT’s using public transport as a case study.”
Funding: CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship, 2016-2019.
Supervisors: Dr Therese Kenna & Dr Denis Linehan

Quinn, Shauna (2016-2019): “Bodies and the City.”
Supervisors: Dr Denis Linehan & Dr Therese Kenna

Recently Completed PhDs

Van Lanen, Sander (2013-2017): “Young and Insecure: Precarization and the Lifeworld of Young Urban Adults in Ireland.”
Supervisors: Dr Denis Linehan & Dr Therese Kenna


O’Connor, Sinead (2016): “The Geographies of Encounter: Investigating the Spatiality and Construction of ‘Meaningful’ Encounters with Difference through the experiences of International Students at University College Cork, Ireland.”
Supervisors: Dr Therese Kenna & Dr Piaras MacEinri

Scollick, Andrew (2016): “Building resilience for social-ecological sustainability in Atlantic Europe.”
Supervisor: Dr Colin Sage

Kelleher, Fiona (2014): “Place, Teenagers and Urban Identities: A New Social Geography of Young People in Cork.”
Supervisor: Dr Denis Linehan

Harold, Gill (2012): “Deafness, difference and the city: geographies of urban difference and the right to the deaf city.”
Supervisor: Dr Denis Linehan

Mansfield, Claire (2011): “Social sustainability and the city: an investigation into the environmental geographies of two neighbourhoods in Cork.”
Supervisor: Dr Denis Linehan

Department of Geography


University College Cork, Cork