The Centre is based in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at UCC and the School of Humanities at SETU.


The Economy & Society Summer School is run as part of this centre.

Our logo is the Dagda’s Cauldron from Knowth, a dining vessel that never emptied and from which everyone got a fair share. This vessel serves as a symbolic representation of the gift relation; the anthropologically universal foundation of Society, Economy, and Culture.

Prof. Maggie O’Neill and Dr. Ray Griffin are the current directors of the centre.

The Society, Economy, and Culture Research Centre:


  • Studies the manner in which the development of the modern global economy, driven by unlimited technological growth and an unbridled profit motive damages the very tissue of social life;
  • Through research and teaching suggests novel ways to stop this process by re-ethicizing the social fabric that is necessary in order to live a healthy, meaningful and ethical life;
  • Organizes courses, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, that promote an education oriented towards a responsible, meaningful, healthy and hopeful life.
  • Conducts research in and with communities and civil society organisations using participatory, creative,  biographical, feminist and ‘non procedural’ methods and methodologies

It is evident that Ireland, just as the rest of the world is experiencing a very fundamental social, political and cultural crisis, which incorporates environmental crises and climate breakdown as well. Any claim that this crisis can be overcome by the standard means, and therefore soon we can return to business as usual, is not sound practical reason, but an irresponsible evasion of facing reality.

We have to reckon that we, altogether, have reached an impasse, or even paralysis. It is necessary to find a way forward, but for this we must be able to overcome some deeply ingrained ways of thinking. In the words of John Maynard Keynes, who faced a similar situation, ‘the difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds’.

The Centre takes its mission from, amongst other sources, Max Weber’s writings from an historical period that has troubling similarities to our own; namely, Weber’s formulation of the problem of escaping the seemingly watertight, irresistible and irreversible ‘iron cage’ of the present age of rationalized acquisitiveness; the comprehensive intellectual, political and moral programme that Weber set out in Economy & Society; and the hopefulness of ‘Politics as a Vocation’ where he says: “It is perfectly true, and confirmed by all historical experience, that the possible cannot be achieved without continually reaching out towards that which is impossible in this world”.

President Michael D. Higgins opening the 2015 Summer School with staff and students.

Our annual event – the Economy + Society Summer School will be held in University College Cork from April 11-13th 2023.

This year’s theme is | Theorising at the Edges of the World.

Our team is currently working behind the scenes to develop our 2023 event. Please visit our E&S 2023 page for the most up-to-date information and check back soon for further details.

Location of event

Our 2023 event will be held in University College Cork


Events and Activities

Times Monday 13thTuesday 14thWednesday 15thThursday 16thFriday 17th
9:30 -11 am Arrivals and Orientation: Conveneat at 11:30 in our AulaReading groups Reading groups Reading groups Solitary Reflections
Mid Morning Break Mid Morning Break Mid Morning Break Mid Morning Break Mid Morning Break Mid Morning Break
11:30 - 1pm Introduction: Economy & Society 2019 Maggie O'Neill UCCNisha Kapoor
Damian O'Doherty Manchester Kieran KeohaneStudent Presentation s
Lunch sitting at 1pmLunch sitting at 1pmLunch sitting at 1pmLunch sitting at 1pmLunch sitting at 1pmLunch sitting at 1pm
Afternoon sessions with breaksRene Ten Bos Radbound

Victoria Grace Canterbury NZ
Tom Boland WIT

Jill O'Mahoney WIT & James Cuffe UCC

Carmen Kuhling UL & Tina Kinsella IADT
Walk to Bridgetown Abbey

Abbey lecture:
Maggie O'Neill UCC
Ray Griffin WIT & Colette Kirwan WIT

James Fairhead

Professorial: Mary Daly Interview
Michael Cronin TCD

Closing Roundtable
Dinner sitting at 7pmDinner sitting at 7pmDinner sitting at 7pmDinner sitting at 7pmDinner sitting at 7pmDinner sitting at 7pm
Evening time: Dinner at 7ish, Reconvene at 8ish Bonfire of the Vanities
Salon: Paul Clogher WITSalon: Triona Ni Shiocahin UCCSalon: Ger Mullally UCC Parting Glass Celebration (departures Sat AM)


A selection of images from our past events