Mervyn Horgan

Mervyn Horgan
Associate Professor
Phone number: 
519 824 4120 x56373
MCKN 637

Cultural Sociology; Classical & Contemporary Social Theory; Urban Sociology; Social Solidarity; Strangership; Migrant Labour; Sociabilities and Incivilities; Mental Health; History of the Social Sciences; Sociology of Community; Sociology of Everyday Life

Accepting graduate students for September 2019: 
Yes, both MA and PhD

I am a social theorist, urbanist and cultural sociologist (PhD York; MA, BA UCC, Ireland). 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 2018-2021, with Co-Investigator Prof. Liinamaa), develops the concept of ‘soft solidarity’ to understand how solidarity manifests (or not) through ordinary encounters between strangers in mundane settings like park benches, playgrounds, ice rinks, dog parks, street fairs, and public transit.


For 2018-2019 I am a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. I am active in the Canadian Sociology Association’s Social Theory Research Cluster, where I co-founded the Symposium for Early Career Theorists (SECT). I am also a co-founder and active member of the Canadian Network for Critical Sociology (see Horgan 2017a), and serve on the Board of the Sociological Theory Research Committee of the International Sociological Association.  

If you’re a graduate student 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, and tend to share an interest in qualitative methods, meaning-centred analysis, and an appreciation for the practical value of social theory.

Horgan, Mervyn. 2018. "Territorial Stigmatization and Territorial Destigmatization: A Cultural Sociology of Symbolic Strategy in Parkdale's (Toronto) Gentrification" International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42(3): 500-516.

Horgan, Mervyn & Liinamaa, Saara. 2017a. “The Social Quarantining of Migrant Labour: Everyday Effects of Temporary Foreign Worker Regulation in Canada” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43(5): 713-730.

Horgan, Mervyn. 2017a. "Interaction, Indifference, Injustice: Elements of a Normative Theory of Urban Solidarity" in Kurasawa, F. Interrogating the Social: Critical Sociology for the 21st Century. London: Palgrave Macmilla.

Horgan, Mervyn. 2017b. “Mundane Mutualities: Solidarity & Strangership in Everyday Urban Life” in Oosterlynck, S., M. Loopmans & N. Schuermans (eds.) Place, Diversity, Solidarity. London & New York: Routledge.

Horgan, Mervyn, and Saara Liinamaa. 2017b. "First but Not a Founder: Annie Marion MacLean and the History and Institutionalization of Canadian Sociology" in P Albanese, L Tepperman, & E Alexander (eds). Reading Sociology. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 121-126.