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Ronaldo Munck

Professor Ronaldo Munck

Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
Phone Number:   (+353) 871224721
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Biographical Details

Ronaldo Munck is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Engaged Research at Dublin City University and a member of the Council of Europe Task Force on The Local Democratic Mission of Higher Education.  Professor Munck was the first Head of Civic Engagement at DCU and drove the ‘third mission’ alongside teaching and research. His own work in this area includes the co-edited volumes Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives, Higher Education and Community-Based Research. Creating a Global Vision and The Local Mission of Higher Education: Principles and Practice.

As a political sociologist Professor Munck has written widely on the impact of globalisation on development, changing work patters and migration. Recent works include Migration, Precarity and Global Governance; Rethinking Global Labour: After Neoliberalism and Social Movements in Latin America: Mapping the Mosaic.

Professor Munck has led large-scale social research projects funded by The British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Human Sciences Research Council, The Horizon Fund (EU), EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund, EU Corporate Social Responsibility Project, EU AGIS framework, EU Science and Society framework, HEA/Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Co-operation, South African Netherlands Partnership for Development, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada.

He is a member of the editorial board of the following international journals: Globalizations, Global Social Policy, Global Discourse, Global Labour Journal, Latin American Perspectives and Review: Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center. He is a lead author of Amartya Sen’s International Panel on Social Progress Report ‘Rethinking Society of the 21st Century’.


Research Profile

Ronaldo Munck completed his PhD in political sociology at the University of Essex in 1976 under the supervision of Ernesto Laclau. Since then he has developed a broad set of overlapping interests under the general rubric of political sociology and, more recently, the globalisation problematic.

His work on Latin America has been a constant from his first book Politics and Dependency in the Third World: the case of Latin America (1984) which was one of the early developments of the dependency perspective in the area of politics. This was followed by Latin America: The transition to democracy (1989) which promoted a critical engagement with the transition to democracy problematic then in vogue. The successful introductory overview Contemporary Latin America went through three editions (2002, 2007, 2012) and established itself as a key text. This strand of work culminated in Rethinking Latin America: Development, Hegemony and Social Transformation (2013) which brought a Gramscian perspective to bear and sought to provide a critical understanding of current politics from a broad historical perspective.

Professor Munck’s engagement with Irish political sociology was a result of his first academic post at the University of Ulster. This resulted in an overview of Irish history written at one of the most critical phases of the war Ireland: Nation, State and Class Conflict (1985) and was followed by one of the first oral histories Belfast in the Thirties: An Oral History (1987) which examined the republican and labour struggles of another pivotal era.  This was followed by one of the first all-Ireland analyses of the economy The Irish Economy: Results and Prospects (1993) which was widely disseminated. More recently, since being based in Dublin, he has engaged with the new migration which resulted in the path-breaking collection co-edited with Bryan Fanning  Globalisation, Migration and Social Change in Ireland: After the Celtic Tiger (2011).

A constant theme in his research has been the sociology of work and labour movements from a broad comparative and global South orientation. An early statement of a new field then emerging was The New International Labour Studies (1988) set the tone for the new comparative labour studies from below. There was also a still influential overview of Argentina’s powerful labour movement Argentina: From Anarchism to Peronism: Workers, unions and politics 1855-1985 (1986). His work with international colleagues who were an active community of practice in the new labour studies resulted in the collection co-edited with Peter Waterman Labour Worldwide in the Era of Globalisation: Alternative Unions Models in the New World Order (1998). This strand of work culminates with the widely cited Labour and Globalisation: the new ‘great transformation’ (2002) which brought to bear the insights of Karl Polanyi on the transformations caused by globalisation.

The impact of globalisation on his work followed a period in South Africa in the mid- 1990s and resulted in a series of texts seeking to go beyond the sociological wisdom of the time with a more critically engaged perspective. This research programme resulted in Globalisation and Social Exclusion: A Transformationalist Perspective (2005) and Globalisation and Contestation: The Great Counter-Movement (2006) both influenced by Karl Polanyi’s double movement thesis and seeking to foreground the importance of agency.  This approach was also applied to the issue of migration resulting in Globalisation and Migration: New Conflicts, New Politics (2008) and that of human security in the wide ranging collection co-edited with Honor Fagan  Globalisation and Security, 2 vols (2009).

Ronaldo Munck’s more general interest in the area of political sociology and social theory are reflected in The Difficult Dialogue: Marxism and Nationalism (1986) and Marx @ 2000: late Marxist perspectives (2000) which sought to renew Marxism in conversations with post-modernism. His consistent interest in critical development theory resulted in an influential collection co-edited with Denis O’Hearn Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm (1999), Water and Development: Good Governance after Neoliberalism (2015)  and (with Honor Fagan) the Handbook for Development and Social Change (2016). His most recent book is Marx 2020: After the Crisis (2016) which seeks to show the renewed relevance of Marxism for an understanding of the world and as a tool to seek a better future.

See Ronaldo Muncks interview by E- International Relations 'the world's leading open access website for scholars of international politics which has previously featured Noam Chomsky, Joseph Nye, Cynthia Enloe and Johan Galtung'