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Sociology Research


Torsten Geelan is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Sociology of Work and Employment at the University of Leicester. He completed his PhD and MPhil in Sociology at the University of Cambridge and holds a Bachelor in Economics and Social Science from the University of Manchester. During his doctorate he was an External Lecturer at the University of Copenhagen and a columnist for the national Danish newspaper Information. He's also worked as a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and volunteered in the NGO sector.

Torsten works at the intersection of industrial relations, the sociology of media and social movement studies, with a primary focus on the media (newspapers, radio, television and social media) as arenas in which trade unions, employers and the State seek to control the agenda surrounding the changing nature of work, thereby shaping the future of employment. He applies a comparative, interdisciplinary and mixed-method approach to the study of contemporary industrial and political conflicts and is currently working on two collaborative projects. The first project is investigating the role of social media in the recent UK University Pension Dispute. The second project is a co-edited special issue in New Technology, Work and Employment titled ‘The Internet, Social Media and Labour Movement Revitalization: Still behind the Digital Curve or Catching up?’

More broadly, Torsten is interested in alternatives to the most pressing issues of our time: inequalities of power and wealth, the erosion of democracy and the ecological crisis. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the new SASE research network I ‘Alternatives to Capitalism’ and the co-editor of a recently published book by Palgrave MacMillan (2018) titled ‘From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons.’ To date his work has been published in journals such as the Industrial Relations Journal, Employee Relations, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, and Danish Sociology.

As a teacher, he has several years of experience coordinating, lecturing, supervising and examining undergraduate and post-graduate students at the Universities of Cambridge, Copenhagen and Leicester on the following modules: ‘The Political Economy of Capitalism’, ‘Global Social Analysis’, ‘The Comparative Sociology of Labour Markets’ and ‘Work and Society’.

Research Interests

I am interested in the following areas of research:
  • Comparative industrial relations and industrial relations theory
  • Trade union power and revitalisation in the digital age
  • New and old forms of collective action
  • The past, present and future role of the media (newspapers, television, radio and social media) in industrial and political conflict
  • Precarious work
  • Working conditions and worker voice in the Chinese gig economy
  • Worker cooperatives
  • Alternatives to capitalism


2018 Work and Society
BA in Management Studies, University of Leicester

2014 Political Economy of Capitalism and Global Social Analysis
BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences University of Cambridge

2013 Comparative Sociology of Labour Markets
MSc in Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Key Publications - Books

Geelan, T., González Hernando, M. and Walsh, P. W. (Eds.) (2018). From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Geelan, T. (2015) Danish Trade Unions and Young People: Using Media in the Battle for Hearts and Minds, in Hodder and Kretsos (eds.) Trade Unions and Young People: A Global View, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Engberg-Pedersen, L. Webster, N. Geelan, T. and Fejerskov, A. (2014) Corporatism and the Development of Private Aid Organizations in Denmark in Hoebink and Schulpen (eds.) Private Development Aid in Europe: Foreign Aid between the Public and Private Domain, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Wright, Chris. Wood, Alex. Trevor, Jonathan. McLaughlin, Colm. Huang, Wei. Harney, Brian. Geelan, Torsten. Colfer, Barry. Chang, Cheng. Brown, William. (2018) Towards a New Web of Rules: An International Review of Institutional Experimentation to Strengthen Employment Protections, Employee Relations, 41 (2): 313-330.

Geelan, Torsten. and Hodder, Andy. (2017) Enhancing Transnational Labour Solidarity: The Unfulfilled Promise of the Internet and Social Media, Industrial Relations Journal, 48 (4): 345-364.

Geelan, Torsten. Skovrind, Magnus. and Ribe, Malthe. (2017) The Highly-Educated Precariat in the Danish Labour Market, Danish Sociology, 28 (2): 27-51.

Geelan, T. (2013) Confederate Responses to the Youth Employment Crisis, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 19 (3): 399-413.

Key Publications - Other

Geelan, T. (2016) Book review: Worker Resistance and the Media: Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 54 (1): 239–240.

Grants and Projects

Geelan, Torsten. 2019 Research Development Award, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Leicester (value: £3,300)

Geelan, Torsten. 2019 Workshop Grant, School of Business, University of Leicester (value £2,500)

Geelan, Torsten. 2015 Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust Emergency Funding (value: £1,000)

Geelan, Torsten. 2014 Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust Supplementary Funding (value: £6,916)

Geelan, Torsten. 2012 University of Cambridge Oversees Fieldwork Funding (value: £2,220)

Geelan, Torsten. 2012 Scholarship: Oticon Foundation (value: £3,000)

Geelan, Torsten. 2011 Scholarship: Knud Hojgaard Foundation (value: £3,100)

Geelan, Torsten. 2009 Grant for MPhil in Sociology at the University of Cambridge from the Danish Education and Research Ministry (value:

PhD Supervisor

Professor William Brown, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Economics (MPhil & PhD Supervisor)

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Sociology of Work and Employment at the University of Leicester, Affiliated Researcher
Contact Information: