Torsten Geelan

Dr. Torsten Geelan is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen. His new project (2021-2023) is titled Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy: Trade Unions and the ‘Jobs versus Environment’ Dilemma. He completed his PhD and MPhil in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. His doctorate thesis, under the supervision of the late William Brown (Professor of Industrial Relations), examined the role of media and communication in Danish and British trade union responses to the 2008 North Atlantic financial crisis.

Torsten’s primary strand of research focuses on the media (newspapers, social media) as arenas in which trade unions, employers and the State seek to shape public debate, thereby shaping the future of work and employment. He studies contemporary industrial and political conflicts using a comparative (Denmark and the UK), interdisciplinary (industrial relations, sociology of media and social movement studies) and multi-method approach (interviews, thematic content analysis).

He is currently working on two collaborative projects. The first project is as Co-PI on a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant examining the role of Twitter in the 2018-2020 UK higher education strike together with PI Professor Athina Karatzogianni. The second project is a special issue in New Technology, Work and Employment co-edited with Dr. Andy Hodder titled ‘The Internet, Social Media and Labour Movement Revitalization: Still behind the Digital Curve or Catching up?’

His secondary strand of research focuses on alternative ways of organising the economy and society to help tackle the most pressing issues of our time: inequalities of power and wealth, the erosion of democracy and the ecological crisis. As co-founder of the ‘Alternatives to Capitalism’ Research Network at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), he has co-chaired several international conferences (Doshisha University, Kyoto 2018; The New School 2019; University of Amsterdam 2020) and two mini-conferences (Berkeley 2016; University of Lyon 2017). He is also the co-editor of a new Bristol University Press book series titledAlternatives to Capitalism in the 21st Century’.   

Torsten has held lectureships at the University of Leicester (2018-2020) and the University of Copenhagen (2013). As a teacher, he developed and delivered a course on ‘Work and Society’ for undergraduates and the ‘Comparative Sociology of Labour Markets’ for postgraduates and has supervised more than twenty master theses. He has also worked as a research assistant at the Danish Institute for International Studies and as a monthly columnist for the national Danish newspaper Information.   

To date his research has been published in Industrial Relations Journal, Employee Relations, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, and Danish Sociology as well as in edited collections. He is also the co-editor of a book published by Palgrave MacMillan (2018; 2020 paperback) titled ‘From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons.’