I am a social theorist, urbanist and cultural sociologist. My research gathers an eclectic set of substantive interests grounded in a normative commitment to solidarity. I’m especially interested in social sites and scenes where strangers mingle, where solidarity is passively produced, tenuously assumed, or threatened with dissolution. I am currently completing work on the RIEL (Researching Incivilities in Everyday Life) project funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. My new research project, the Sociable Cites Project (funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, with Co-Investigator Prof. Liinamaa), develops the concept of ‘soft solidarity’ to understand how solidarity manifests (or not) through ordinary encounters between strangers in complex multicultural societies across a range of mundane public settings like park benches, playgrounds, ice rinks, dog parks, street fairs, and public transit. In addition to this major project I also maintain active solo and collaborative research projects on social science history, theories of recognition and copresence, realist representation, stigmatization (especially with regard to housing), and the civil sphere in Canada.
I am a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and was a Visiting Fellow there in 2018-2019. Currently I am the Communications Officer for the Canadian Sociology Association, and I’m also active in the Social Theory Research Cluster where I co-founded the Symposium for Early Career Theorists (SECT). I serve on the Board of the Sociological Theory Research Committee of the International Sociological Association, and am also a co-founder and active member of the Canadian Network for Critical Sociology (see Horgan 2017a). At the University of Guelph, in addition to being an active member of the Graduate Faculty in Sociology, I am a core faculty member of the PhD Program in Social Practice and Transformational Change, and Affiliated Faculty with the Graduate Programs in Critical Studies in Improvisation. Prior to joining the University of Guelph I was Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Sociology at Acadia University. My PhD (2010) is from York University (Toronto), while my MA and BA are from University College Cork, Ireland.
If you’re a graduate student (or are considering applying to graduate school) and you’re interested in cultural sociology, social theory, solidarity, ethnography, documentary film, housing, destigmatization, or urban sociology, please feel free to drop me a line. Students I work with do research in many different subfields that are not always directly connected to my current research, but that do tend to share an interest in qualitative methods, meaning-centred analysis, and an appreciation for the practical value of social theory.
If you’d like copies of any of my publications and can’t access them online, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email (or snail mail!) and I’m happy to send them along.