Irene Rafanell

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Irene Rafanell currently teaches Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland. She studied in Universidad Central de Barcelona where she got a BA in Social Anthropology, History and Geography. Subsequently she graduated (with a Distinction) on an MSc in Sociology (Gender Stream) at the University of Edinburgh. She was subsequently awarded a PhD Research Studentship grant by the Faculty Group Law Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh which lead to being awarded a PhD in Social Sciences.


Dr Rafanell currently teaches in a range of modules and topics, mainly around social theory, sociology of gender and sociology of the body.


Area of academic expertise - outline

Her research straddles between the areas of sociology of the body, social theory and theories of power (in particular Bourdieu and Foucault), social constructionism and sociology of knowledge, post-structuralist feminist theory (in particular on post-structuralist theorists such as Judith Butler) and sociology of sexuality. Her PhD research harnessed conceptual machinery of all the above disciplines to explore the socially constructed nature of a sexed/gendered identity and the constitutive power dynamics underpinning such construction.  The research developed lead to presenting and alternative analytical frameworks highlighting the constitutive power of individuals' interactions, with particular emphasis on individuals’ mutual susceptibility to affective sanctioning mechanisms.

Current research activities

Currently she is collaborating in different projects substantiating and further developing aspects of this analytical approach. This research attempts the reveal the methods and mechanisms present in micro-interaction dynamics underpinning the emergence of collective patterned behaviour and structural phenomena (among gang members in Glasgow communities, in on-line bereavement communities and in darknet cryptomarkets)

Desired research direction

To continue contributing with evidence base research into the significance and understanding of the micro-dynamics of face-to-face interaction into the generation and constitution of collective patterns of behaviour and its potential modification. To diseminate to academic and policy makers involved in the analysis and understanding of collective identity behaviour and practices. To continue publishing high quality internationlly relevant research including a monograph containing an overview of the general aspects of past and current research into the theoretical understanding of collective patterns of behaviour.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Honorary Fellow School of Social and Political Science Edinburgh University, University of Edinburgh


  • HM Sociology


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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