Research Profile

Biography

I joined the Department of Sociology and Criminology as a lecturer in November 2016. I teach various modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level and supervise students' research, including at PhD level and I welcome new Phd Candidates based on my research interests and beyond, 

My research and teaching are informed by different strands of critical social policy, critical criminology and abolitionist schools of thought. My overarching interest lies in policy analysis, broadly following the governmentality tradition and the changing relationships between state, civil society and markets in relation to welfare and criminal justice policy. I am particularly interested in understanding how 'policy subjects' are constructed across contemporary political economies and different policy fields and how these positionalities impact on possibilities of 'being'. I am also increasingly interrogating the role of the criminological enterprise in reproducing dominant ideologies and social conditions and am fascinated by inter-disciplinary endeavours that engage on new planes in the search for better futures. 

Thematically, my research is concerned with: 
- the intersections of the welfare state and criminal justice policy
- youth policy 
- rehabilitation and reintegration of justice-involved persons
- university-prison education partnerships
- the criminal justice voluntary sector 
- participatory and creative research methods 

Before joining the Department of Sociology and Criminology, I was a post-doctoral researcher and part-time lecturer in Social Policy, also in University College Cork. Before moving to Ireland, I worked as a programme manager for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in Ethiopia and Kenya on various projects, as well as for the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am a graduate of the University of Utrecht (BA) the London School of Economics (MSc) and University College Cork (PhD).  

Across different areas of my work, I engage with community based organisations and research and teaching that goes beyond the confines of the Academy. For example, from 2016 to 2022 I was a member on the  Board of Directors of Churchfield Community Trust, based in Cork City. I am currently Principal Investigator on a collaborative research project with Cork Alliance, seeking to understand the live of people after prison in Cork City. Peer researchers with experience of the criminal justice system are designing walks that trace their experiences of life after prison and conduct research interviews with their peers. 

In 2019, I have set up an Inside-Out university module Criminal justice to social justice in Cork Prison, where BA Criminology students and incarcerated persons study alongside each other in the prison. I received the UCC President's Teaching Excellence Award for this initiative and in its next iteration, we are comparing UCC/Cork Prison Inside-Out with a similar initiative led by Prof. Shadd Maruna at Queens University Belfast (funded by the HEA North South Programme). 

Together with 
my colleagues Dr. Theresa O’Keefe and Andy Bray co-convenor of the Sociological Association of Ireland’s Study Group on the Sociology of Harm, Violence and Social Control, as part of which we are also running monthly (at the moment virtual) reading groups.

In addition, I am regularly involved in policy relevant research, particularly in the area of youth justice. Most recently, I have for example collaborated with Dr. Louise Forde on providing expert support to the National Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027. I have also been a team member of an inter-disciplinary study for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with Professor Kilkelly and others to better understand young people's pathways in and out of offending in an Irish context. 


Research Interests

- the intersections of the welfare state and criminal justice policy
- comparative 
rehabilitation and reintegration of justice- involved persons
- university-prison education partnerships
- the criminal justice voluntary sector 
- participatory research methods

Publications

Books

 YearPublication
(2022)The Criminalisation of Social Policy: Exploring Crime and Social Policy Intersections.
Kiely, E. and Swirak, K. (2022) The Criminalisation of Social Policy: Exploring Crime and Social Policy Intersections. Bristol: Bristol University Press. [Details]
(2012)Youth policy, civil society and the modern Irish state: The politics of youth.
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. [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2020)'The 'soft power' of marketisation: the administrative assembling of Irish youth justice work'
Swirak, K (2020) 'The 'soft power' of marketisation: the administrative assembling of Irish youth justice work' In: MARKETISATION AND PRIVATISATION IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE. BRISTOL: POLICY PRESS. [Details]
(2019)'Neoliberal subjectivities in a marketised youth justice system'
Swirak, K. (2019) 'Neoliberal subjectivities in a marketised youth justice system' In: Kevin Albertson, Mary Corcoran, Jake Phillips (eds). Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice. Bristol: Policy Press. [Details]
(2012)'Negotiating tensions and contradictions in youth crime prevention initiatives in Ireland'
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. [Details]
(2012)'Child outcasts: the Ryan Report into industrial and reformatory schools'
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. [Details]
(2012)'The search for an Irish youth narrative: minor citizens or urban tribe?'
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. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2022)'From late starter to exemplar of rights-based Youth Justice? Tracing continuities and shifts in 25 years of Irish youth justice'
Forde, Louise and Swirak, Katharina (2022) 'From late starter to exemplar of rights-based Youth Justice? Tracing continuities and shifts in 25 years of Irish youth justice'. Journal Of Contemporary Criminal Justice, [Details]
(2018)'A critical analysis of informal youth diversion policy in the Republic of Ireland'
Swirak, K. (2018) 'A critical analysis of informal youth diversion policy in the Republic of Ireland'. Youth and Policy,   [Details]
(2018)'Unmasking the ‘criminal justice voluntary sector’in the Republic of Ireland: towards a research agenda'
Swirak, Katharina (2018) 'Unmasking the ‘criminal justice voluntary sector’in the Republic of Ireland: towards a research agenda'. Irish Probation Journal, 15 :24-46   [Full Text] [Details]
(2016)'Problematising Advanced Liberal Youth Crime Prevention: The Impacts of Management Reforms on Irish Garda Youth Diversion Projects'
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, 16 :162-180 [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'The Irish Charity Myth, Child Abuse and Human Rights: Contextualising the Ryan Report into Care Institutions'
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 :7-23 [DOI] [Details]
(2011)'Targeted Youth Work in Contemporary Ireland'
M. Scanlon, F. Powell, M. Geoghegan and K. Swirak (2011) 'Targeted Youth Work in Contemporary Ireland'. Youth Studies Ireland, 6 (1):3-17 [Details]
(2009)'Review Finding Youth- Exploring theory and experiences of youth in late modern societies'
Katharina Swirak (2009) 'Review Finding Youth- Exploring theory and experiences of youth in late modern societies'. Youth Studies Ireland, 4 (2) [Details]

Published Reports

 YearPublication
(2022)Ensuring the collaborative reform of youth justice in Ireland in line with international research and evidence-based approaches.
Kilkelly, U., Forde,L., Hurley, E. , Lambert, S. , Swirak,K. Kelleher, D. and Buckley, S. (2022) Ensuring the collaborative reform of youth justice in Ireland in line with international research and evidence-based approaches. DCYA, Forthcoming. [Details]
(2016)Galtan Housing Evaluation- a view of Tenants and Stakeholders.
Finnerty, J. O'Connell, C. and Swirak, K. (2016) Galtan Housing Evaluation- a view of Tenants and Stakeholders. UCC, COrk. [Details]
(2020)Spent Convictions Rapid Evidence Review.
Swirak, K. and Forde, L. (2020) Spent Convictions Rapid Evidence Review. Department of Justice, Dublin. [Details]
(2010)Working with Young People: a national study of youth work provision and policy in contemporary Ireland.
Swirak, K., Powell, F., Geoghegan, M. and Scanlon, M. (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, Cork. [Details]
(2015)Just For Dads-Providing an opportunity for dads to explore their relationships with their children: what have we learned?.
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. [Details]
(2015)Briefing Note No. 2/2015: Policy and Literature Review of Goal 1 of the National Children’s Strategy, 2000-2010.
Kilkelly, U., Martin, S., Swirak, K. and Field, S. (2015) Briefing Note No. 2/2015: Policy and Literature Review of Goal 1 of the National Children’s Strategy, 2000-2010. Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Dublin.   [Details]
(2013)Briefing Note Department of Children and Youth Affairs Scholarship Programme- Youth Crime Prevention Policy and Practice in Ireland- Implications for Policy and Practice.
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. [Details]
(2013)Garda Youth Diversion Projects in the Contemporary Youth Justice Landscape- What are some of the implications?.
Swirak, K. (2013) Garda Youth Diversion Projects in the Contemporary Youth Justice Landscape- What are some of the implications?. Youth Work Ireland, Dublin. [Details]
(2015)Policy and literature review Goal 1 of the National Children’s Children Strategy.
Kilkelly, U., Martin, S., Swirak, K. and Field,S. (2015) Policy and literature review Goal 1 of the National Children’s Children Strategy. Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Dublin.   [Details]

Other

 YearPublication
(2021)RTE Brainstorm Is Police Abolition Relevant to Ireland?.
O'Keefe, T. and Swirak, K. (2021) RTE Brainstorm Is Police Abolition Relevant to Ireland?. Other [Details]
(2018)Here's what criminologists make of The Young Offenders (RTÉ Brainstorm).
Windle, J. and Swirak, K. (2018) Here's what criminologists make of The Young Offenders (RTÉ Brainstorm). Other   [Details]
(2018)When Technology brings disciplines together- the example of Electronic Monitoring.
Jeske, D., Bantry-White, E., Swirak, K. and Donson, F. (2018) When Technology brings disciplines together- the example of Electronic Monitoring. Other [Details]
(2016)Childhood.
Swirak, K (2016) Childhood. LONDON: Other [DOI] [Details]

Thesis/Dissertation

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

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2022200,0000 Euro HEA North South Programme Higher Education Authority
202111,700 Euro New Foundations Irish Research Council Irish Research Council
20201,500 Euro UCC Excellence in Teaching Award University College Cork, OVPTL
201930,000 Euro Irish Youth Justice Strategy Expert Advisor (together with Dr. Louise Forde) Department of Justice, Equality and Law Affairs
201990,0000 Euro Team Member COALESCE- Ensuring the collaborative reform of youth justice in Ireland in line with international research and evidence-based approaches (PI: Prof. Kilkelly) Department of Children and Youth Affairs
20181,500 Euro Charlemont Grant- Royal Irish Academy Royal Irish Academy
201030,0000 Euro PhD Scholarship Social Policy Department of Children and Youth Affairs
19991,500 Euro Scholarship for Talented Undergraduate Students Government of Lower Austria

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Irish Sociological Association Member/
UCC Children Excellence Cluster Member/
European Society of Criminology Community Sanctions WG Member/
ISS 21 Children and Young People Research Cluster Member/

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2022)Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference,
Forde, L. and Swirak, K. (2022) Implementing Children’s Rights Principles in Youth Justice: Drivers of Change and Challenges in the Irish Youth Justice System”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference, York . [Details]
(2021)Crime, Justice and the Covid Pandemic,
Swirak, K. (2021) Some Critical Reflections. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Crime, Justice and the Covid Pandemic, Maynooth University . [Details]
(2021)Sociological Association of Ireland Annual Conference,
Swirak, K. (2021) Working at the edge of critique and praxis in carceral contexts . [Oral Presentation], Sociological Association of Ireland Annual Conference, Online . [Details]
(2020)COALESCE Online Conference,
Swirak, K. (2020) Criminological and sociological perspectives on youth justice reform. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], COALESCE Online Conference, Online Dublin Cork . [Details]
(2019)International Learning Connections Teaching and Learning Conference, Cork, UCC,
Swirak, K. (2019) “And why do you think prisoners would want that……?”- Initial reflections on the challenges of staying true to radical and feminist pedagogies when teaching inside prison,. [Oral Presentation], International Learning Connections Teaching and Learning Conference, Cork, UCC, Cork . [Details]
(2019)International Knowledge Exchange Seminar on WISEs in the Criminal Justice System - Opportunities and Challenges - An exchange of knowledge and ideas,
Swirak K., O’Sullivan C. and Donson, F. (2019) WISEs and the Irish Criminal Justice System: Posing questions for future directions. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Knowledge Exchange Seminar on WISEs in the Criminal Justice System - Opportunities and Challenges - An exchange of knowledge and ideas, Cork Business School . [Details]
(2019)North South Irish Criminology Conference 2019,
Kilkelly, U., Swirak, K., Lambert, S. and Forde,L. Kelleher, D. (2019) Young people in conflict with the Law in Ireland- Insights from Growing Up in Ireland. [Oral Presentation], North South Irish Criminology Conference 2019, Cork . [Details]
(2018)Electronic Monitoring in Ireland: Shaping what we do and who we are”,
Swirak, K. (2018) Crosscutting aspects of Electronic Monitoring. [Oral Presentation], Electronic Monitoring in Ireland: Shaping what we do and who we are”, UCC, Cork . [Details]
(2018)North South Irish Criminology Conference,
Swirak, K. (2018) Marketisation of the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector in the Republic Of Ireland: Paranoia or justified caution?. [Oral Presentation], North South Irish Criminology Conference, UCD Dublin . [Details]
(2018)European Society of Criminology Annual Conference,
Swirak, K. (2018) A conceptual exploration of penal voluntarism in the Republic of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], European Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Sarajevo . [Details]
(2017)Research Roundtable: Delivering Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services in the Community: Obstacles and Opportunities,
Swirak, K. (2017) (2017) Community supervision, voluntary sector organisations and reintegration. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Research Roundtable: Delivering Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services in the Community: Obstacles and Opportunities, Blackpool, Cork, . [Details]
(2015)EuroSoTL 2015: Bridging Boundaries through the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning,
Swirak, K. and Bantry-White, E., Hurley, M. and Mackey, S. (2015) Building bridges in social work professional education. [Oral Presentation], EuroSoTL 2015: Bridging Boundaries through the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Cork, UCC . [Details]
(2015)Just for Dads- An Opportunity for Dads to build Relationships with their Children- Evaluation meeting,
Swirak, K. (2015) Just for Dads – providing an opportunity for Dads to explore their relationships with their children: what have we learned?. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Just for Dads- An Opportunity for Dads to build Relationships with their Children- Evaluation meeting, Cork . [Details]
(2015)UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre 7th Biennial International Conference: Building Family Support Systems,
Jenkinson, H., Casey, D. Monahan, L., Magee, D. and Swirak, K. (2015) Engaging with fathers in practice – challenges, achievements, and lessons learnt. [Oral Presentation], UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre 7th Biennial International Conference: Building Family Support Systems, NUIG Galway . [Details]
(2015)5th National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference,
Jenkison, H., Magee, D., Monahan, L., Swirak, K. and Casey, D. (2015) Benefits for all: Combining academic and practice resources to develop and evaluate ‘Just for Dad’s – a groupwork programme for fathers in a family support setting. [Oral Presentation], 5th National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference, UCC, Cork . [Details]
(2014)IYJS Managers Forum Event,
Swirak, K. (2014) Garda Youth Diversion Projects, the State and the Voluntary Sector: Critical Issues. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], IYJS Managers Forum Event, Youth Work Ireland, Dublin . [Details]
(2009)International youth studies conference, ‘All Change for Young People?’, NUI Maynooth,
Swirak, K. (2009) Youth, Youth Policy And Civil Society in Ireland. [Oral Presentation], International youth studies conference, ‘All Change for Young People?’, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth , 14-JUL-09 - 15-JUL-10. [Details]
(2010)International youth work conference, UCC,
Swirak, K. and Powell, F. (2010) Working with Young People – A National Study of Youth Work Provision and Policy in Contemporary Ireland. [Oral Presentation], International youth work conference, UCC, UCC , 11-MAY-10 - 12-MAY-10. [Details]
(2009)9th European Sociological Association,
Katharina Swirak (2009) Negotiating Tensions and Contradictions in Youth Crime Prevention Initiatives in Ireland. 9th European Sociological Association, Lisbon , 05-SEP-10 - 10-SEP-09. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Advisory Panel Irish Probation Journal Advisory Panel/
MA Criminology Board of Studies Chair/
Churchfield Community Trust Board of Directors Member/
Graduate Studies Committee, Department of Sociology and Criminology Member/
Academic Council, University College Cork Member/

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
United Nations Development Programme (Latvia) Resident Coordination Assistant01-OCT-02 / 31-DEC-03
University College Cork Research Officer01-JUL-08 / 30-JUN-10
University College Cork Lecturer (part-time)01-JUL-12 / 05-OCT-15
United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO Ethiopia and Kenya) Programme Manager01-JUL-05 / 31-MAR-08
Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs Desk Officer (Humanitarian Affairs)01-JAN-04 / 30-JUN-05

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2013UCC PhDSocial Policy
2002London School of Economics MScComparative Politics
2001Utrecht BASocial Science

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
French FluentFunctionalFluent
German FluentFluentFluent

Outreach Activities

 Description

Community supervision, voluntary sector organisations and reintegration; UCC School of Sociology & Discipline of Criminology, Research Roundtable: Delivering Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services in the Community: Obstacles and Opportunities; 21st of September, 2017 Churchfield Community Trust, Cork. ,

Invited to United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Rule of Law Education 4 Justice Workshop and Podcast Series on Rehabilitation vs Punishment

September 2018; Co-organised with Prof Ursula Kilkelly at TCD Dublin

September 2019 Organised Inside-Out Prison Exchange Stakeholder Workshop in Cork Prison

Invited as Expert on Garda Youth Diversion Projects policy review group, Department of Children and Youth Affairs & Irish Youth Justice Service, Dublin, January 2018

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Community Development Journal Referee-
Youth Justice: An International Journal Referee-

Teaching Activities

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2018Graham Cambridge UCCPHDSeeking peace of mind – understanding desistance as a journey into recovery and out of chaos

Contact details

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School of Applied Social Studies

Staidéar Sóisialta Feidhmeach

William Thompson House, Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland.

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