Katharina Swirak

Lecturer in Criminology, UCC

I joined the School of Sociology and Philosophy as a Criminology lecturer in November 2016. I teach various modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level and supervise students' research, including at PhD level. Previously, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher and part-time lecturer at the School of Applied Social Studies, where I taught amongst other subjects, the Social Policy elements of the inter-disciplinary MA Criminology.Previously, I worked as a programme manager for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in Ethiopia and Kenya on various projects. I am a graduate of the University of Utrecht (BA Social Sciences) and the London School of Economics (MSc Comparative Politics).  My PhD (UCC) research (completed in 2013) analysed Garda Youth Diversion Projects, a multi-disciplinary youth crime prevention initiative, using Foucauldian discourse analysis. I have co- published the monograph Youth Policy, Civil Society and the Modern Irish State (2012) with Manchester University Press. My forthcoming publication with Dr. Elizabeth Kiely (Policy Presss, 2018) is entitled Criminalisation of Social Policy in Late Neoliberal Austerity and provides a critical analysis of the intensifying intersections between criminal justice policy and social policy across various policy fields, such as rehabilitation and reintegration policy; citizenship and mobility and public space and crime prevention.  

My core research and teaching interests are concerned with  

- the intersections of social policy and the criminal justice system  

- positive approaches in youth justice policy and practice  

- the application of radical criminological theories to contemporary criminal justice policy 

- the methodological development of governmentality studies for applied policy research 

- the implications of neo-liberal constructions of the subject and consequences for offender rehabilitation  


Swirak, K. (2016) 'Problematising advanced liberal youth crime prevention: the impacts of management reforms on Irish Garda Youth Diversion Projects'. Youth Justice: An International Journal 

Swirak, K. (2016) 'Book Review: Michael Wyness (2015) Childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press, 201 pp'. Critical Social Policy 

Swirak, K., Finnerty, J. and O’Connell, C. (2016) An evaluation of Galtan Housing  

Kilkelly, U., Martin, S., Swirak, K. and Field,S. (2015) Policy and literature review Goal 1 of the National Chilren’s Strategy, DCYA: Dublin. 

Swirak, K. (2015) Just For Dads-Providing an opportunity for dads to explore their relationships with their children: what have we learned?. Springboard/UCC/TUSLA, Cork. 

Kilkelly, U., Martin, S., Swirak, K. and Field, S. (2015) Briefing Note No. 2/2015: Policy and Literature Review Goal 1 of the National Chilren’s Strategy, DCYA: Dublin. 

Swirak, K. (2013) Briefing Note Department of Children and Youth Affairs Scholarship Programme- Youth Crime Prevention Policy and Practice in Ireland- Implications for Policy and Practice. DCYA, Dublin.  

Swirak, K. (2013) Garda Youth Diversion Projects in the Contemporary Youth Justice Landscape- What are some of the implications?. Youth Work Ireland, Dublin.  

Swirak, K. (2013) A post-structuralist analysis of Irish youth crime prevention policy with special emphasis on the Garda Youth Diversion Projects. Thesis/Dissertation  

Powell, F,Geoghegan, M,Scanlon, M, Swirak, K (2013) 'The Irish Charity Myth, Child Abuse and Human Rights: Contextualising the Ryan Report into Care Institutions'. British Journal of Social Work, 43 :7 

Powell F., Geoghegan, M., Scanlon, M. and Swirak, K. (2012) Youth policy, civil society and the modern Irish state: The politics of youth. Manchester: Manchester University Press 

Powell F., Geoghegan, M., Scanlon, M. and Swirak, K, (2012) 'Child outcasts: the Ryan Report into industrial and reformatory schools' In: Children's Rights and Child Protection, Critical Times, Critical Perspectives. Manchester University Press: Manchester University Press 

Swirak, K. (2012) 'Negotiating tensions and contradictions in youth crime prevention initiatives in Ireland' In: Youth policy, civil society and the modern Irish state. Manchester: Manchester University Press.   

Powell, F. and Swirak, K. (2012) 'The search for an Irish youth narrative: minor citizens or urban tribe?' In: Youth policy, civil society and the modern Irish state: The politics of youth. Manchester: Manchester University Press.  

  1. Scanlon, F. Powell, M. Geoghegan and K. Swirak (2011) 'Targeted Youth Work in Contemporary Ireland'. Youth Studies Ireland, 6 (1):3-17

Powell, F; Geoghegan, M; Scanlon, M; Swirak, K; (2010) Working with Young People: a national study of youth work provision and policy in contemporary Ireland. Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, Cork.  

Swirak, K. (2009) 'Review Finding Youth- Exploring theory and experiences of youth in late modern societies'. Youth Studies Ireland, 4 (2) 

Professional Activities  

As part of my research and community outreach activities, I have recently been involved in evaluating an innovative support programme for fathers, Just for Dads, set up in collaboration between UCC,TUSLA and Springboard.  I have also been involved in developing a local initiative, I-Girls, aimed at supporting teenage girls in building their self confidence. Since March 2017, I have been acting as a member of the Board of Directors of Churchfield Community Trust. I have acted as External Examiner at the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology (2015) and Sheffield Hallam University (2016). I have also peer-reviewed papers for high-profile international journals such as Youth Justice and Community Development.  

Contact Details  

Dr. Katharina Swirak, Lecturer in Criminology,

School of Sociology/Discipline of Criminology,

Askive Bldg.,

University College Cork 


T: +353-21-490-2619   E: K.Swirak@ucc.ie