Dr Torsten Geelan

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Sociology of Work and Employment

Contact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 229 7323
  • Email: tkrg1@leicester.ac.uk
  • Office: Room 0.01, Heron House, Brookfield
  • Office hours: By appointment only (please email)

Personal details

Bilingual by birth (English/Danish) and a sociologist of work and employment by trade, I joined the University of Leicester as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in March 2018.

I hold a PhD and MPhil in Sociology from the University of Cambridge (2009-2017) and a BA in Economics and Social Studies from the University of Manchester (2005-2008). During my doctorate I was an External Lecturer in the Comparative Sociology of Labour Markets at the University of Copenhagen and a columnist for the national Danish newspaper Information. I’ve also worked as a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and volunteered in the NGO sector.


I have experience teaching courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level at the Universities of Leicester, Cambridge and Copenhagen. Namely, ´The Political Economy of Capitalism´, ´The Comparative Sociology of Labour Markets´ and ´Global Social Analysis´. At Leicester I am currently teaching ´Employee Relations´.


My primary research focuses on the media (newspapers, radio, television and social media) as arenas in which trade unions, employers and the State seek to control the agenda surrounding the changing nature of work and employment, thereby shaping the future of employee relations.

I am particularly interested in the ways in which trade unions and worker organisations in different national contexts are using the Internet and social media to coordinate and drive activism, to form new coalitions and increase the impact of collective action, and to create new forms of solidarity.

I am currently working on two collaborative projects. The first project is investigating the role of digital media in contemporary industrial conflicts in the UK and Denmark. The second project is surveying working conditions and worker voice in the rapidly expanding Chinese gig economy.

More broadly, I am interested in alternatives to the pressing socio-economic and political issues of our time: inequalities of power and wealth, the erosion of democracy and environmental degradation. To pursue this stream of research I co-founded and I co-chair a new research network on Alternatives to Capitalism at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE).


I am interested in supervising doctoral students in the following areas:

  • Comparative industrial relations and industrial relations theory
  • Trade union power and revitalisation in the digital age
  • New and old forms of collective action
  • The past, present and future role of the media (newspapers, television, radio and social media) in industrial and political conflict
  • Precarious work
  • Working conditions and worker voice in the Chinese gig economy
  • Worker cooperatives


Refereed Journal Articles

Geelan, Torsten. and Hodder, Andy. (2017) Enhancing Transnational Labour Solidarity: The Unfulfilled Promise of the Internet and Social Media, Industrial Relations Journal, 48 (4): 345-364.

Geelan, Torsten. Skovrind, Magnus. and Ribe, Malthe. (2017) The Highly-Educated Precariat in the Danish Labour Market, Danish Sociology, 28 (2): 27-51.

Geelan, Torsten. (2013) Confederate Responses to the Youth Employment Crisis, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 19 (3): 399-413.

Edited Books

Geelan, Torsten. Gonzalez Hernando, Marcos. and Walsh, Peter. (2018) From Financial Crisis to Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Book Chapters

Geelan, Torsten. (2015) “Danish Trade Unions and Young People: Using Media in the Battle for Hearts and Minds” in Hodder and Kretsos (eds.) Trade Unions and Young People: A Global View, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Engberg-Pedersen, Lars. Webster, Neil. Geelan, Torsten. and Fejerskov, Adam.  (2014) “Corporatism and the Development of Private Aid Organizations in Denmark” in Hoebink and Schulpen (eds.) Private Development Aid in Europe: Foreign Aid between the Public and Private Domain, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 67

Book reviews

Geelan, Torsten. (2016) Worker Resistance and the Media: Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 54 (1): 239–240.


I have experience of live radio interviews as well as print interviews. I’ve also been a columnist for the national Danish newspaper Information and the Copenhagen Post. Every now and then I’m invited as a panel speaker at conferences and to give lectures to trade unions and student groups such as this one on Reconsidering Labour Markets for the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism (CESP).

External Affiliations

Affiliated Researcher, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

Associated Researcher, Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS), Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Advisory Board Member, Explain Artist (non-profit funded by the Swedish Research Council which helps academics engage in public debate by facilitating collaborations with artists and illustrators), Gothenburg, Sweden

Member of the European Sociological Association (ESA) Research Networks on Work, Employment and Industrial Relations (RN 17) and Sociology of Communications and Media Research (RN 18)

Member of the Society for the Advancement of Economics (SASE)

Former Advisory Board Member, Analysis & Numbers (cooperative consultancy that uses cutting-edge digital methods to produce research for newspapers, educational institutions, trade unions and political parties), Copenhagen, Denmark

Share this page:

Contact Details

School of Business
University of Leicester
University Road



AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has detailed accessibility guides for the Astley Clarke Building and the Ken Edwards Building.