Social Justice, Rights and Social Change Research Group

The Social Justice, Rights and Social Change Research Group was formed in 2011 and brings together active social science researchers exploring a range of contemporary issues centring on the critical examination of dominant structures of power and the ways in which critical research can challenge inequalities, social and economic divisions and social injustice. The Group organise public lectures and a regular Troubling Issues seminar series.

Details of future research developments undertaken by the Social Justice, Rights and Social Change Research Group in the Social Sciences will appear here.

Recent Public Lectures by Group Members

Recent Publications by Group Members

  • McGovern, Mark (2013) ‘Inquiring into Collusion? Collusion, the State and the Management of Truth Recovery in Northern Ireland’, State Crime, 2:1, 4-29
  • McGovern, Mark (2011) ‘The Dilemma of Democracy: Collusion and the State of Exception’, Studies in Social Justice, 5:2, 213-230
  • McGovern, Mark (2010) ‘”The IRA are not Al Qaeda”: New Terrorism Discourse and Irish Republicanism’, in K. Hayward & C. O’Donnell (eds) Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating Peace in Northern Ireland, Routledge: London, 192-208.
  • McGovern, Mark (2010) ‘Ignatieff, Ireland and the lesser Evil: Some Problems with the Lessons Learnt’, in B. Brecher (ed) Interrogating Terror: Discourses and Practices of Terrorism, Routledge, London, 135-155
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Whose Justice? Rethinking Transitional Justice from the Bottom-up’, Journal of Law and Society, 35:2, 265-292
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Truth, Justice and Dealing with the Legacy of the Past in Northern Ireland’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1, 117-133.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘A Trojan Horse? Unionism, Trust and Truth-telling in Northern Ireland’, International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2:1, 42-62.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Attitudes Towards a Truth Commission for Northern Ireland’, in A Sustainable Peace: Research as a Contribution to Peace-Building in Northern Ireland, Belfast:CRC, 117-136.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Community, Truth Recovery and Conflict Transformation from Below’, in A Sustainable Peace: Research as a Contribution to Peace-Building in Northern Ireland, Belfast:CRC, 155-172.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Telling Stories, Facing Truths: Memory, Justice and Post-conflict Transition in Northern Ireland’, in Colin Coulter & Michael Murray (eds) Northern Ireland after the Troubles? A Society in Transition, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 29-48.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Transitional Justice from the Bottom Up’, in K. McEvoy & L. McGregor (eds) Transitional Justice from Below: Grassroots Activism and the Struggle for Change, Oxford: Hart, 99-120.
  • Lundy, Patricia & McGovern, Mark (2008) ‘Embedding Justice: Truth Recovery from Below’, in L. O’Hagan (ed) Stories in Conflict, Derry: Yes! Publications, 111-126.
  • Reynolds, Paul (2010) (with Jennifer Burr) ‘The wrong paradigm? Social research and the predicates of ethical scrutiny’ in Research Ethics Review, 6:4, 128-133
  • Reynolds, Paul (2010) ‘Critical Review of “The Charmed Circle of Ideology” by Geoff Boucher for the Symposia on “The Charmed Circle of Ideology”, Global Discourse [Online], 2: I
  • Reynolds, Paul (2010) ‘Seksuele toestemming ontrafeld’, Ethiek en Maatschappij, 13:1, 68-90
  • Reynolds, Paul (2010) ‘Disentangling Privacy and Intimacy: Intimate Citizenship, Private Boundaries and Public Transgressions’ in Human Affairs (Special Issue On ‘Intimacy And The Civic Arena: Exploring Needs, Expectations & Conflicts; Negotiating Transformations, Agreements & Rules), 20:1, p33-42
  • Reynolds, Paul (2008) with Jennifer Burr ‘Thinking ethically about genetic inheritance: liberal rights, communitarianism and the right to privacy for parents of donor insemination children Journal of Medical Ethics 34; 281-284


Past Events

In 2011-12 the Power, Conflict and Justice Research Group organised a Public Lecture Series:

(In) Security, Surveillance and the State634540978_a3694b50af

Edge Hill University’s free public lecture series, (In) Security, Surveillance and the State saw leading international commentators, academics and experts exploring the politics of ‘insecurity’ by examining some of today’s key events and, as a result, some of the most critical, controversial and as a result divisive issues facing society today.

Leading experts will explore the politics of ‘insecurity’ by examining some of the most controversial events in today’s society, including the summer riots, in a series of lectures at Edge Hill University.

(In) Security, Surveillance and the State included talks on the Enlgish 2011 riots and the representation of the working class; the role of informers and human intelligence as part of the ‘war on terror’; the figure of the suicide bomber; the destructive force of the Islamophobia in Europe which had devastating effects in the Oslo massacre and the nature of state collusion in Northern Ireland in the death of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

The free public lecture series was been organised by the University’s Department of Social Sciences, the Power, Conflict and Justice Research Group and the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

Mark McGovern, Professor in the Social Sciences and who coordinated the series, said: “The lecture series, while looking at a diverse range of important social issues, centres on whether or not contemporary society is characterised by uncertainty, anxiety and ‘insecurity’? Or is the idea of ‘insecurity’ a way for society’s most powerful agencies, including the State, to promote an agenda of surveillance and fear that pervades and delimits so many aspects of our lives today? These are the kind of questions our experts will be asking as we explore some of the catastrophic events that are having a huge impact on our society.”

In 2012 Social Sciences Staff were involved in the organisation of a major international conference hosted at Edge Hill:

A Sort of Wisdom – Exploring the Legacy of Primo Levi International Conference, Edge Hill University, 6-7 July 2012

The legacy of the renowned Italian Jewish writer and Holocaust  survivor Primo Levi will be the subject of an international conference  at Edge Hill University next year.

The high profile conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of Primo Levi’s death will take place on 6-7 July, 2012 at the University’s Ormskirk campus.

The  University are currently calling for papers that critically examine all  aspects of Levi’s life and work for next year’s unique two-day  conference entitled A Sort of Wisdom – Exploring the Legacy of Primo Levi.

Primo  Levi was born in 1919 and lived his entire life in Turin.  He was  captured in 1944 as an anti-fascist partisan and deported to Auschwitz  and then released into war-torn Europe. After liberation, with ‘a  torrent of things to tell the civilised world’ and ‘the tattooed number  on his arm burning like a sore’ he wrote a series of remarkable books,  including If This is a Man, The Periodic Table, and The Drowned and the Saved.  He is now viewed as not only one of the key literary figures of the  20th century and one of the most important survivor-writers of the  Holocaust, but for many he is considered an ethical writer of great  depth and a subtle and humane ‘political philosopher’.

Keynote  speakers already confirmed include: Robert S.C. Gordon, Reader in Modern  Italian Culture and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College University of  Cambridge, and author of Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics;  Norman Geras, Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester; Anthony  Rudolf, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and who knew Levi  well; Paul Salmons, Head of Curriculum and Development at the Holocaust  Education Development Programme; and Judith Woolf, Senior Lecturer in  English and Italian at the University of York.

The conference will  also host an exhibition of photographs taken of Primo Levi in 1986 by  the award-winning photographer Jillian Edelstein.

Professor Alan  Johnson from the University’s Social Sciences, said: “This will be the biggest event in Europe to commemorate  the 25th anniversary of Primo Levi’s death and it is a major  coup for Edge Hill University to be organising the conference. We have  an exciting line-up of keynote speakers who are the forefront of Levi  studies.”

“Levi was wary of being turned into a secular saint.  On the other hand he accepted that his readers often found ‘a sort of  wisdom’ in his writings. The conference will explore this tension. What  sort of wisdom do we find in the works of Primo Levi, the writer and  intellectual, scientist, political polemicist, atheist and Jew, novelist  and poet? How can we critically appropriate his complex legacy?”

Organisers  are keen to receive proposals for papers or for conference panels on  any aspect of Levi’s legacy and from any discipline – including  Literature, Cultural Studies, Political Philosophy, Ethics, Educational  Studies, Social Theory, History and Holocaust Studies.

Topics included:

  • Levi and Ethics
  • Levi and Holocaust Education
  • Levi and Memory / Story-Telling / Witnessing
  • Levi and the Holocaust
  • Levi and the ‘Two Cultures’ of Science and Literature
  • Levi and Work
  • Levi and Friendship
  • Levi and Writing
  • Levi and Language
  • Levi and Violence and War
  • Levi and Humour
  • Levi and Political Philosophy after the Holocaust
  • Levi and Humanism
  • Levi as an Educator
  • Representations and Receptions of Primo Levi