The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Una McGahern

Senior Lecturer in Politics


Roles and Responsibilities

Director of Undergraduate Studies


I am interested in issues relating to security, mobility and space in Israel-Palestine. My research is ethnographic and interdisciplinary in nature and engages a range of methods to document hidden histories of violence as well as new and alternative spaces of action, interaction and contention. I am particularly interested in examining the material effects of state policies, urban and interurban road networks and transport infrastructures in generating ethnically-differentiated patterns of mobility, mobilisation and policing. 


  • DPhil in Government and International Affairs (Durham University)
  • MA in Research Methods of the Middle East (Durham University)
  • BA in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (Dublin City University) 


Past, current and future projects

My doctoral research was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Sir Peter Ustinov Prejudice Fund and examined state attitudes towards Palestinian Christians in Israel. It focused on police responses to instances of intra-communal violence in Nazareth and other mixed Arab villages in the Galilee. This work was published with Mediterannean Politics (2010) and resulted in my first book with Routledge (2011). It also paved the way for a two year Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship focusing on urban policing and the policing of Palestinian protest in Israel. The results of this were published with International Political Sociology (2016), Security Dialogue (2016) and Political Geography (2017).

My current research examines the relationship between mobility and space, focusing in particular on the transformative power and potential of everyday cross-border movements in Israel-Palestine. This includes work on the politics of social or recreational running in Jerusalem (Mobilities) as well as investigations of Palestinian educational (student) mobilities more generally. 

Alongside my ongoing research interest in issues relating to security, mobility and space, I remain committed to ethnographic research methods and methodologies as a means of centering minorities, peripheral groups and social-political margins in mainstream scholarship.   

Areas of potential research supervision:

  • Contentious politics, social movements, mobilisation and protest
  • Ethnopolitics and ethnic minorities
  • Urban policing and surveillance
  • Mobility and space
  • The politics of everyday life 
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Palestinians in Israel, Israel-Palestine, the Middle East

Postgraduate Supervision

Sarina Theys 

Arnab Ray Chaudhuri


Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship 

Sir Peter Ustinov Prejudice Scholarship

Economic and Social Research Council (1 3) Studentship

Council for British Research in the Levant Award

Ginsburg-Ingerman Scholarship


Undergraduate Teaching

POL2012: Politics of the Middle East

POL3099: Power, Security and Protest in the Middle East

Teaching Awards

 2015: Higher Education Academy Fellowship Award