Dr Patrick McGovern

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Dr Patrick McGovern is Director of the MSc International Migration and Public Policy and an Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Sociology.

He specialises in the sociology of work and the sociology of migration though his interests also include broader questions of social inequality, moral economy, and institutional change. He is currently working on three different projects that take up these issues in various ways.

With Eiko Thielemann (Government, LSE) and colleagues from the Universities of Amsterdam, Harvard, Luxembourg, and Sydney, he is examining trends in immigration policy across nine major OECD countries. The ‘IMPALA Project’, which is an innovative, multi-disciplinary endeavour, seeks to develop comparable measures of restrictiveness in relation to economic, family, humanitarian and student migration (http://www.impaladatabase.org/). Results from the pilot study reveal trends toward more complex forms of regulation since the 1990s, with differential treatment and greater selectivity accompanying increased restrictiveness.

A second project focuses on problems of theory and method within the qualitative case study tradition in industrial relations and the sociology of work. Drawing on an analysis of case study research published over a fifteen year period this project examines prevailing research practices and modes of theorising at a time when the future of this tradition has been questioned. A plenary paper at a recent British Universities Industrial Relations Association conference drew a lively response.

Finally, Pat’s interests in moral economy are reflected in a project with Martin Bauer (Social Psychology, LSE) which examines the way income inequality is framed in mass media discourse. Remarkably, the explosion of mass media interest in pay, especially in the form of “executive compensation” for CEOs, has been largely ignored by cultural sociologists, social psychologists and media scholars. Funded by the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute this project will explore the way various types of moral and market justifications are used in discussions of rising income inequality.

Pat holds a doctorate from Oxford University and First Class degrees in Sociology (BSc) and Industrial Relations (MSc) from University College, Dublin. He has served on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Industrial Relations, The British Journal of Sociology and Work, Employment & Society.


Selected Publications


McGovern Market ClassMarket, Class, and Employment (with Stephen Hill, Colin Mills, and Michael White). Oxford University Press, 2007.

Click on image right for book details.






HRMTechMNCImageHRM, Technical Workers and the Multinational Corporation
London: Routledge, 1998.






Gest, Justin and Boucher, Anna and Challen, Suzanna and Burgoon, Brian and Thielemann, Eiko R. and Beine, Michel and McGovern, Patrick and Crock, Mary and Rapoport, Hillel and Hiscox, Michael (2014) Measuring and comparing immigration, asylum and naturalization policies across countries: challenges and solutions Global Policy Journal, 5 (3). 261-274. ISSN 1758-5880

McGovern, Patrick (2014) Contradictions at work: a critical review Sociology, 48 (1). 20-37. ISSN 0038-0385

McGovern, Patrick, (2013) ‘The Experience of Work in Comparative Perspective’ in Carola Frege and John Kelly (eds) Comparative Employment Relations in the Global Economy, London: Routledge 978-0415686631

Inequalities in the (De-)Commodification of Labour: immigration, the nation state, and labour market stratification.’Sociology Compass, 6 (6). (2012) pp. 485-498. ISSN 1751-9020

Richard Hyman: Marxism, Trade Unionism and Comparative Employment Relations’ Frege, Carola M. and Kelly, John and McGovern, Patrick British Journal of Industrial Relations, 49 (2). (2011) pp. 209-230. ISSN 0007-1080

The Young Lipset on the Iron Law of Oligarchy: A Taste of Things to Come.’ British Journal of Sociology, 61 (s1). (2010) pp. 29-42. ISSN 0007-1315’ , 61 (s1). (2010) pp. 29-42. ISSN 0007-1315

Will the Economic Downturn Alter Current Work-life Strategies? The Debate on Work-life Balance is Still in its Infancy.’ Personalführung, 2. (2009) pp. 40-45. ISSN 1430-5658 ’ , 2. (2009) pp. 40-45. ISSN 1430-5658

Immigration, Labour Markets and Employment Relations: Problems and Prospects.’ British Journal of industrial relations, 45 (2). (2007) pp. 217-235. ISSN 0007-1080 ’ , 45 (2). (2007) pp. 217-235. ISSN 0007-1080

Bad Jobs in Britain: Non-standard Employment and Job Quality.’ McGovern, Patrick and Smeaton, Deborah and Hill, Stephen (2004) Work & Occupations, 31 (2). (2004) pp. 225-249. ISSN 0730-8884.’ McGovern, Patrick and Smeaton, Deborah and Hill, Stephen (2004) , 31 (2). (2004) pp. 225-249. ISSN 0730-8884.

"High-Performance" Management Practices, Working Hours and Work-life Balance.’ White, Michael and Hill, Stephen and McGovern, Patrick and Mills, Colin and Smeaton, Deborah British Journal of Industrial Relations, 41 (2). (2003) pp. 175-195. ISSN 0007-1080’ White, Michael and Hill, Stephen and McGovern, Patrick and Mills, Colin and Smeaton, Deborah , 41 (2). (2003) pp. 175-195. ISSN 0007-1080

Rational Choice Theory, The "New Economic Sociology" and Functionalism.’ Work, Employment & Society, 17 (4). (2003) pp. 747-756. ISSN 0950-0170’ , 17 (4). (2003) pp. 747-756. ISSN 0950-0170

Globalization or Internationalization? Foreign Footballers in the English League, 1946-1995.’ Sociology, 36 (1). (2002) pp. 23-42. ISSN 0038-0385’ , 36 (1). (2002) pp. 23-42. ISSN 0038-0385


Dr Pat McGovern