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Dr Paul Gilfillan

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0)131 474 0000


Dr Paul Gilfillan

New Publication
My first monograph A Sociological Phenomenology of Christian Redemption (2014) has been recently published and, despite its title, is principally an ethnographic study of contemporary Scottish nationalism covering some fifteen years of fieldwork and is the only such ethnography on the market as far as I am aware. While published in the run up to the Independence Referendum in September, given the never-ending constitutional debate in Scotland that is set to dominate our political and much of our public life, this work is also an example of the contribution which sociology can make to the public sphere.
While the content of the first part of the book covers standard ethnographic concerns with chapters on mainstream sociological concerns such as locality, work, housing, history and politics, the final three chapters depart from this conventional subject matter of ethnographic studies quite dramatically as they deal with 'cognitional agency,' psychological liberation and the advent of the supernatural.
These later chapters reflect my other research interests such as the relationship between sociology and integral human liberation and the question of transcendence, and how bringing the sociological imagination to bear upon how we think of human being opens up many different avenues and vistas to the extent that it requires we re-think the sociological tradition.
The book is available in e-Reader and paperback formats at Amazon.

Research & Teaching
In May 2014 the Sociology team validated our new BSc Hons Public Sociology programme. As the Programme Leader at this time I was keen to see Sociology at Queen Margaret develop an explicit agenda of engaging with the great public issues of the day - such as the Independence Referendum - and to draw upon the Team's research strengths and model to our students how the study of Sociology might engage with and shed light on the great issues of the day in Scottish society and culture as well as much further afield.

To access the video of the debate which I chaired in February 2014 - involving Prof. David McCrone, Colin Fox MSP, Mark Lazarowitz MP and Dr. Mae Shaw - follow this link.

My other research and teaching interests include social class, questions of research methodology, introduction to the intellectual life, cognitional theory, education as a social and cultural practice, the relationship between transcendence and the sociological and ethnographic traditions.    

Summary Biography
I was born in 1965 in the Fife village of Cardenden and educated at the local Catholic High School. I completed a joint honours Anthropology & Philosophy degree at the National University of Ireland (1983-1987). Subsequently, I gained two Masters degrees from Edinburgh University (1997, 1998) and my PhD from Edinburgh University (2002).

I am married to Eva and have three beautiful children: Candela (16), Ninian (9) and Lucia (7).

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last modified 23/08/11 Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU - Tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000
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