Louise Brangan

Dr, Chancellor's Fellow, Senior Lecturer

  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Personal Statement

My research interests focus on the sociology of punishment, particularly comparative and historical study of penal cultures and penal politics.

In 2023, I was named as one of the BBC/AHRC’s New Generation Thinkers, who are ‘ten of the UK’s most promising arts and humanities early career researchers’.


I am currently working on an ESRC New Investigator Grant funded study of Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, "Mass Decarceration: A critical social history'. In 2024, I signed a contract with The Bodley Head (UK) and Simon and Schuster (US) for a tradebook based on this research.


With Dr Colette Barry (University of Ulster) I am undertaking a history of Irish prison officers, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme small grant fund.

I joined the School of Social Work and Social Policy in 2021 as a Chancellor's Fellow, having previously been a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Stirling and been the Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Howard League Scotland. I completed my PhD in Criminology at the University of Edinburgh in 2018. During that time I was also a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at UC Berkeley.


In 2021, my paper ‘Pastoral Penality’ received the best article prize in Theoretical Criminology, and my first article, 'Civilising Imprisonment', won the British Society of Criminology's best article prize for a paper produced by a new scholar. My recent book, The Politics of Punishment, is an examination of penality in Ireland and Scotland from 1970 until the end of the 1990s. It shines a light on their unfolding penal cultures, showing the startling differences in how and why people were punished. I am also co-editor (with Lynsey Black and Deirdre Healy) of a volume on the Histories of Punishment and Social Control in Ireland.


I am an international associate editorial board member at Punishment & Society, and on the editorial boards of The British Journal of Criminology,  Law & Society Review, and the International Journal of Crime, Justice, and Social Democracy.


I welcome PhD applications concerned with penal culture and penal politics, comparative criminology, and the social history of punishment.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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