Professor Mark McGovern


Mark completed an undergraduate degree in History at Trinity College, Dublin in 1986 before being awarded a PhD by the University of Liverpool in 1994, shortly before taking up a position at Edge Hill University. He became a Reader in 2004 and became Professor of Sociology in 2009.

Mark’s primary areas of research include the study of conflict and the politics of transition in post-conflict societies, human rights and transitional justice and the critical analysis of ‘terrorism’ and political violence. His research has been supported by funding from a range of organisations, including; the British Academy; the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; the European Union Special Programme for Peace and Reconciliation Fund; and the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council. He has published two books (including as co-author of Ardoyne: The Untold Truth) and has had articles appear in a number of leading international peer-reviewed journals, including; SociologyCritical Studies on TerrorismLaw and SocietyTerrorism and Political ViolenceState Crime; and Race and Class.  

Mark is currently undertaking research, working in collaboration with human rights NGOs  – principally the Belfast-based victims’ group, Relative for Justice – and community organisations, on state violence, collusion and truth recovery, as well as conducting consultancy projects on issues of the state abuse of human rights. He is also carrying out work on the historic role of informers and undercover police and intelligence agents in political groups and movements and on the state use of torture.

Reflecting these research areas, Mark leads teaching in the 2nd and 3rd year modules on conflict and political violence and the critical study of ‘terrorism’ on the Sociology programme. He offers PhD supervision in the broad areas of his research, including; political violence, state violence and ‘terrorism’; the critical analysis of counterinsurgency; and human rights and redressing the legacy of conflict.


  • PhD, University of Liverpool, 1994
  • BA History, Trinity College, Dublin, 1986


  • SPY3110: Critical Terrorism Studies (Module Leader)
  • SPY2136: States, Conflict and Political Violence (Module Leader)
  • SPY3031: Dissertations
  • SPY1112: Introduction to Cultural Studies


  • State Violence and Political Violence
  • Critical Study of ‘Terrorism’
  • Transitional Justice, Truth Recovery and the Politics of Memory
  • Comparative Community Experiences of Policing



McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2002) Ardoyne: The Untold Truth, Beyond the Pale Publications: Belfast

McGovern, Mark & Shirlow, Peter (1997) Who are the People?: Unionism, Loyalism and Protestantism in Contemporary Northern Ireland, Pluto Press: London

Journal Articles

McGovern, Mark (2017) ‘”See No Evil” Collusion in Northern Ireland’, Race and Class, 58:3, 46-63

McGovern, Mark (2016) ‘The University, Prevent and Cultures of Compliance’, Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, 34:1, 49-62

McGovern, Mark (2016) ‘Informers, Agents and the Liberal Ideology of Collusion in Northern Ireland’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 9:2, 292-311

McGovern, Mark (2015) ‘State Violence and the Colonial Roots of Collusion in Northern Ireland’, Race and Class, 57:2, 3-23

McGovern, Mark & Coppock, Vicki (2014) ‘”Dangerous Minds”? Deconstructing Counter-Terrorism Discourse, Radicalisation and the “Psychological Vulnerability” of Muslim Children and Young People’, Children and Society, 28:3, 242-256.

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 & Lundy, Patricia (2008) ‘Whose Justice? Rethinking Transitional Justice from the Bottom-up’, Journal of Law and Society, 35:2, 265-292

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2008) ‘Truth, Justice and Dealing with the Legacy of the Past in Northern Ireland’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1, 117-133.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2008) ‘A Trojan Horse? Unionism, Trust and Truth-telling in Northern Ireland’, International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2:1, 42-62.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy Patricia (2007) ‘Attitudes Towards a Truth Commission for Northern Ireland in Relation to Party Political Affiliation’, Irish Political Studies, 22:3, 321-338.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2006) ‘Participation, Truth and Partiality: Participatory Action Research, Community-based Truth-telling and Post-Conflict Transition in Northern Ireland’, Sociology, 40:1, 71-88.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2006) ‘Truth, Action and Participation: The Ethics of PAR and Community-based Truth-telling in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland’, Action Research, 4:1, 49-64.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2005) ‘Community-based approaches to post-conflict “truth-telling”: Strengths and Limitations’, Shared Space: A Research Journal on Peace, Conflict and Community Relations in Northern Ireland, 1:1, 35-52.

McGovern, Mark (2004) ‘The old days are over: Irish Republicanism, the Peace Process and the discourse of equality’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 16: 3, 622-645.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2004) ‘’You understand again’: Testimony and Post-Conflict Transition in the North of Ireland: The Ardoyne Commemoration Project, 1998-2002’, Words and Silences: Journal of the International Oral History Association, 2:2, 30-35.

McGovern, Mark (2002) ‘The Craic Market: Irish Theme Bars and the Commodification of Irish Identity in Contemporary British Society’, Irish Journal of Sociology, 11: 2, 77-98.

McGovern, Mark (2001) ‘Rhyming History with the Man from Hope: Irish Republicanism, the US and the Irish Peace Process’, Peace Review: A Transnational Quarterly, 13: 1, 81-88.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2001) ‘The Politics of Memory in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland’, Peace Review: A Transnational Quarterly, 13: 1, 27-34.

McGovern, Mark (2000) ‘Irish Republicanism and the Potential Pitfalls of Pluralism’, Capital and Class, 71: 133-162.

McGovern, Mark & Shirlow, Peter (1998) ‘Language, Discourse and Dialogue: Sinn Fein and the Peace Process’, Political Geography, 17: 2, 171-186.

McGovern, Mark (1998) ‘Myths and Marches: The Siege of Derry of 1689’, History Ireland, Winter, 3-5.

McGovern, Mark & Shirlow, Peter (1996) ‘Sectarianism, Socio-economic Competition and the Political Economy of Ulster Loyalism’, Antipode: a Radical Journal of Geography, 28: 4, 377-396.

McGovern, Mark & Shirlow, Peter (1996) ‘Sectarianism, Regulation and the Northern Ireland Conflict: The Protestant Working Class and the Political Economy of the Irish Peace Process’, Reclus: Journal de L’Espace Geographique, 37, 13-32.

Book Chapters

McGovern, Mark (2013) ‘Police, Community, Conflict and Context: Some Thoughts on British Muslim and Irish Comparisons’, in D. Silk, B. Spalek & M. O’Rawe (eds) Preventing Ideological Violence: Communities, Police and Case Studies of “Success”, Palgrave: London, 55-66

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

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (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

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (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

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (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.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (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.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2008) ‘Embedding Justice: Truth Recovery from Below’, in L. O’Hagan (ed) Stories in Conflict, Derry: Yes! Publications, 111-126.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2007) ‘Habitus, Identity and Post-conflict Transition in a Catholic Working Class Community in Northern Ireland’, in Contemporary Ireland, University College Dublin Press: Dublin, 370-388.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2006) ‘’You understand again’: Testimony and Post-Conflict Transition in the North of Ireland: The Ardoyne Commemoration Project, 1998-2002’, in Rob Perks and Alistair Thomson (eds) The Oral History Reader (2nd edition), Routledge: London, 531-537.

McGovern, Mark and Lundy, Patricia (2006) ‘Inside Silence: The Ardoyne Commemoration Project, Community-based Truth-telling and Post-Conflict Transition in the North of Ireland’, in Ann Perotin et al. (eds) Historizar el Pasado Vivo en America Latina, Santiago, Chile: Universitad Alberto Hurtado.

McGovern, Mark (2003) ‘A Besieged Outpost?: The Imagination of Empire and the Myth of the Derry Siege in the Late Nineteenth Century’ in D.G. Boyce & Roger Swift (eds) Problems and Perspectives in Irish History since 1800, Four Courts Press: Dublin, 132-150.

McGovern, Mark (2003) ‘The Irish pub, Irish Identity and the Tourist Eye’, in Michael Cronin and Barbara O’Connor (eds) Irish Tourism: Image, Culture and Identity, Channelview Publications: Dublin, 83-103.

McGovern, Mark (2001) ‘We Have a Strong City: Politicised Protestantism, Evangelicalism and the Siege Myth in Early Nineteenth Century Derry’, in Kelly, W. (ed) The Sieges of Derry, Four Courts Press: Dublin, 96-122.

McGovern, Mark (1997) ‘Unity in Diversity: The SDLP and the Peace Process’, in Chris Gilligan & Jon Tonge. (eds), Peace or War?: Understanding the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, Ashgate: Aldershot,

McGovern, Mark & Shirlow, Peter (1997) ‘The Political Economy of Contemporary Loyalism’, in Mark McGovern and Peter Shirlow (eds), Who are the People: Unionism, Loyalism and Protestantism in Northern Ireland, Pluto Press: London, 176-198.


McGovern, Mark (2010) Comparing Irish and British Muslim Experiences of Counter-insurgency Policy and Law, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust: London.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2006) Attitudes towards a Truth Commission for Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, Community Relations Council (Northern Ireland): Belfast.

McGovern, Mark & Lundy, Patricia (2005) Community-Based Truth Telling and Post-Conflict Transition in Northern Ireland: An Assessment of the Ardoyne Commemoration Project, Community Relations Council (Northern Ireland): Belfast.