Professor Therese O'Toole

Professor Therese O'Toole

Professor Therese O'Toole
Professor of Sociology

1.07, 3 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)

Telephone Number (0117) 331 0854

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

Therese is Professor of Sociology and a member of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship. 


Therese’s research interests are in the fields of ethnicity, governance, political activism and social movements. In 2004, she was awarded a Leverhulme Trust grant to research political engagement among ethnic minority young people and, with Richard Gale (University of Cardiff), she completed a book from this research: Political Engagement amongst Ethnic Minority Young People: Making a Difference (2013). The book addresses changing forms of political activism among ethnic minority young people, their experiences of participatory decision-making, the ways in which ethnicity, race, religion and gender shape political engagement and the different scales at which their activism is focused. This research builds on Therese’s previous work on young people and political participation, which critically engaged with crisis narratives of youth political apathy (Young People and Politics in the UK: Apathy or Alienation?, 2007, co-authored with David Marsh and Su Jones). In 2009, Therese was awarded an AHRC Religion and Society programme Large Grant, with Tariq Modood and Nasar Meer (University of Strathclyde), to study Muslim Participation in Contemporary Governance. With the appointment of Daniel Nilsson DeHanas and Stephen Jones to the team, the project examined the significance of Muslim participation within governance across a range of policy areas at national and local levels, including equalities, integration/cohesion, faith-based welfare and regeneration and security/counter-terrorism policies. In 2013, the team was awarded an AHRC follow-on funding grant to launch an on-line forum on religion and public policy: Public SpiritPublic Spirit is a forum for researchers, policymakers, politicians and practitioners from the voluntary and community sectors to debate recent developments in religion and public policy. Subsequently, Therese developed her interests in Muslim participation in governance further through a project with Tariq Modood and Aleksandra Lewicki on Muslim participation in governance in Bristol within the ESRC-funded Connected Communities programme: Productive Margins: Regulation for Engagement. The project examined the development of a local Muslim umbrella group, Building the Bridge, as a mechanism for the inclusion of Muslim groups within local governance, with a particular focus on spaces for Muslim women's effective engagement in decision-making.


Therese teaches in the areas of ethnicity and qualitative research methods. She currently convenes and teaches an undergraduate unit on Ethnicity and Racism, and an MSc unit on Introduction to Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences. She is keen to supervise doctoral students working on ethnicity, religion or age and political sociology, particularly in the areas of political participation/activism, governance and social movements.

Fields of interest

ethnicity, Muslims, governance, political participation/activism, social movements

Key publications

  1. O'Toole, T & Gale, R, 2013, ‘Political Engagement amongst Ethnic Minority Young People: Making a Difference’. Palgrave Macmillan
  2. O'Toole, T, Meer, N, DeHanas, D, Jones, S & Modood, T, 2016, ‘Governing through Prevent? Regulation and contested practice in state-Muslim engagement’. Sociology, vol 50., pp. 160-177
  3. Lewicki, A & O'Toole, T, 2017, ‘Acts and Practices of Citizenship: Muslim Women's Activism in the UK’. Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol 40., pp. 152-171
  4. O'Toole, T & Braginskaia, K, 2016, ‘Public Faith and Finance: Faith responses to the financial crisis’. University of Bristol

Latest publications

  1. O'Toole, T, 2019, ‘Reviewing Prevent’. Discover Society
  2. O'Toole, T, 2018, ‘Countering Extremism through Integration?’. Discover Society
  3. Holmwood, J & O'Toole, T, 2017, ‘Countering Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair’. Policy Press
  4. Jones, SH, O'Toole, T, DeHanas, DN, Modood, T & Meer, N, 2015, ‘A ‘System of Self-appointed Leaders’?: Examining Modes of Muslim Representation in Britain’. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol 17., pp. 207-223
  5. O'Toole, T, 2015, ‘Beyond Crisis Narratives: changing modes and repertoires of political participation among young people’. in: Tracey Skelton (eds) Geographies of Politics, Citizenship and Right: Children and Young People as Participants in Politics. Springer Verlag
  6. O'Toole, T, 2015, ‘Prevent: from ‘hearts and minds’ to ‘muscular liberalism’’. Public Spirit

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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