Belonging and Narrative

20 Sep 2023
Professor Molly Andrews

This half day symposium, hosted by the Department of Sociology and Criminology in collaboration with ISS21, featured keynote presentations from Professor Nira Yuval-Davis (University of East London) and Professor Molly Andrews (University College London).

Symposium Contributors:
Welcome by Dr Tom Boland, UCC, Head of Sociology and Criminology Department
Introduction to the symposium, Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire (UCC)
Keynote one: Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis (University of East London) “The Politics of Belonging and Attitudes to Ecological Crises”
Discussant: Dr Ulrike M. Vieten (Queens University Belfast); Q&A
Keynote two: Prof. Molly Andrews (University College London) “The wall inside the heart’: Narrating East German identity thirty years post-revolution”
Discussant: Prof. Maggie O’Neill (UCC); Q&A
Closing notes: Dr Mastoureh Fathi


Abstracts and Biographies
  • Nira Yuval Davis

Abstract: In this paper we explore the relationships between political projects of belonging and approaches to environmental and climate ecological crises via comparing centre-right and centre-left newspapers in the UK, Israel and Hungary. Focusing on selected national and international case studies on these issues at the centre of public debate during the last two decades, the paper explores and compares these relationships by examining the eco-relational, spatial, temporal and normative framing dimensions of the political projects of belonging as expressed in these articles.

Nira Yuval-Davis is Professor Emeritus, Honorary Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London. A diasporic Israeli socialist feminist, Nira has been active in different forums against racism and sexism in Israel and other settler colonial societies as well as in the UK and Europe. She has been the President of the Research Committee 05 (on Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnic Relations) of the International Sociological Association, founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the international research network on Women in Militarized Conflict Zones and has acted as a consultant for various UN and human rights organisations. Nira Yuval-Davis has won the 2018 International Sociological Association Distinguished Award for Excellence in Research and Practice. She has written widely on intersected gendered nationalisms, racisms, fundamentalisms, citizenships, identities, belonging/s and everyday bordering. Among her books Woman-Nation-State, 1989, Racialized Boundaries, 1992, Unsettling Settler Societies, 1995, Gender and Nation,1997, The Warning Signs of Fundamentalism, 2004, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations, 2011, Women Against Fundamentalism, 2014 and Bordering (Forthcoming). Her works have been translated into more than ten languages.


  • Molly Andrews

Abstract: This paper will examine the narratives of a small group of former East Germans dissidents, comparing stories which they told shortly after the Berlin Wall came down with more current reflections on what it means to them to be East German. Building on a framework of political narratives, the paper will look at which stories individuals tell, how they are temporally constructed, and how they function, as well as consider what counter-stories help to frame the backdrop of meaning. The paper will also explore the different levels of the presentation of self, as respondents reflect on the person who they had thought they might become with the person who they now see themselves as being, shedding light on how micro political narratives can help us to understand macro political change over time.

Molly Andrews is Honorary Professor of Political Psychology at the Social Research Institute, University College London, and the co-director of the Association of Narrative Research and Practice. In 2022, she was a Writing Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies, in 2021 held a Leading Researcher Grant at the Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies at Tallin University, and in 2019-2020, she was the Jane and Aatos Professor in Studies on Contemporary Society at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology and Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life (Oxford University Press). She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in four countries, and her publications have appeared in Chinese, German, Swedish, Spanish, French, Czech, German, Norweigian and Finnish. For more information, see 


 Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis and Dr Mastoureh Fathi

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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