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Torsten Geelan

Torsten Geelan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and a member of Darwin College. His thesis focuses on extending our traditional understanding of how trade unions exercise power by including mass communication – bridging the field of industrial relations with the sociology of media. Specifically, he uses a case study and mixed methods approach (participant observation, interviews, content analysis and survey data) to examine four cases of contemporary union mobilisations in the UK and Denmark. Of particular interest are cross-national differences in the use of old and new forms of mass media, and the ways in which the communicative environment enhances or constrains the effectiveness of trade union campaigns.

More broadly, Torsten is interested in the relationship between social movements, media and power, and the pressing socio-economic and political issues of our time – inequality, environmental degradation, and the erosion of democracy. He is currently co-editing a book – ‘From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons’ – which addresses three interrelated questions in the aftermath of the North Atlantic financial crisis: how to reclaim Universities, revitalize social movements and recast politics. The collection will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.

Academic background

Torsten received his Master of Philosophy in Sociology from the University of Cambridge (2010) and a Bachelor in Economics and Social Science, specializing in Politics and Development, from the University of Manchester (2008). Prior to arriving at Cambridge, he was employed as a research assistant at the Danish Institute for International Studies.


Peer-reviewed Journals

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

Geelan, T. (2013) Union Solidarity International, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 19 (3): 419-424.

Under Review

Geelan T. et al. The Highly-Educated Precariat in the Danish Labour Market, Danish Sociology.

Geelan, T and Hodder, A. Enhancing Transnational Labour Solidarity: The Unfulfilled Promise of the Internet and Social Media, Industrial Relations Journal.

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.

Edited Books

Geelan, T. Gonzalez, M. and Walsh, P. (Forthcoming, 2017) From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Book Reviews

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

Research Affiliations

Associated Researcher, Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS), Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Corresponding Scholar, Centre for Civil Society Studies (CSC), Copenhagen Business School

Individual in the Labour Market Research Group (ILRM), Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

Former Advisory Board Member, Analyse & Tal (cooperative consultancy), Copenhagen, Denmark

Advisory Board Member, Explain Artist (non-profit that promotes academic engagement with the public by working with artists to create animations of research), Gothenburg, Sweden

Selected Academic Service

Conferences and Seminars Arranged

2016 Co-organizing Mini Conference, ‘New Modes of Production, Critical Consumption and Alternative Lifestyles’, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Annual Conference, Berkley, 24 – 26 June

2014 Conference Organizing Committee Chair, ‘Crisis and Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons’, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, September 26 – 27 2014


2014/2015 Undergraduate Supervisor in the Political Economy of Capitalism, Media Culture and Society, and Modern Society and Global Transformations, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

2013 External Lecturer, Sociology of Labour Markets and Trade Unions, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen, MA level

Guest Lectures

2016 ‘Cooperatives and Platform Cooperativism’, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen, March 15

2014 ‘Economic Sociology: Reconsidering Labour Markets’, Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism (CESP), Department of Economics, University of Cambridge

Academic-Related Professional Experience

Educational Columnist, Information (National Danish Newspaper, readership 130,000) (2012-2013)

Freelance Journalist (Copenhagen Post, Balkan Insight)

Programme Associate, Institute for Parliamentary Democracy, Macedonia

  • E-mail:
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ
  • Supervisor: Emeritus Professor William Brown
  • College: Darwin
  • Thesis Title: Disrupting the Status Quo: Trade Unions and Communicative Power at a Time of Austerity