Research Staff

Ricardo A. Ayala

ricardo_ayala.jpgRicardo A. Ayala is a postdoctoral research fellow financed by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). After a brief career in healthcare in Chile, he studied sociology at Université de Strasbourg (France) and completed his doctoral research at Ghent University with a dissertation in the field of sociology of the professions. He holds affiliation with the Association Française de Sociologie, the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, the European Society of Health and Medical Society, and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. His interests include narratives, academic writing, social theory, ethnographic research and concept development.


Sam Gorleer

sam-gorleer.jpgSam Gorleer obtained his Master’s degree in Sociology in 2015 at Ghent University. After obtaining his Master’s degree in Sociology, he obtained a Master’s degree in Business Economics (2016, Ghent University). His current research is situated in the field of Blood Economy and aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the structural determinants of blood donation in Europe




Lesley Hustinx (lecturer, PS04)

lesley-hustinx.jpgLesley Hustinx is a professor at the Center for Social Theory. She earned her Ph.D. in 2003 from the University of Leuven, and was granted a doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). She was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Civil Society at London School of Economics, the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California. Her major research interests include societies in transition, and the consequences of recent social change for the condition and nature of citizenship and citizen-based solidarity, focusing on the study of civil society and civic participation, voluntary associations and social capital, volunteering and philanthropy.


Lesley Hustinx is a board member of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) and the Flemish Sociological Association (VVS). She is an active member of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP), and the European Civil Society Dissertation Network.



Efstathios Kessareas

efstathios-essareas-150x179.jpgEfstathios Kessareas received a PhD in sociology in 2010 from the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies, University of Crete (Greece); the PhD dissertation was entitled “Orthodox Church and State in modern Greece: a sociological analysis of the ideological conflicts”.

He obtained a MA in Religious and Development Studies at the University of Leeds (UK), a BA degree in Sociology at the Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences (Greece) and a BA degree in Greek Philology at the University of Crete.

He worked as a teacher of sociology at a Public Institute of Vocational Training in Greece and during his military service as a researcher at the Army History Directorate of the Hellenic Army.

In collaboration with Raf Vanderstraeten, his current postdoctoral research focuses on the attitude of ecclesiastical and secular intellectuals toward the current financial crisis in Greece. His main objective is not to offer a simple typology of the different ideological responses toward the crisis, but more importantly to examine the ‘rhythm’ of the changes between the realm of ideas and the socioeconomic reality in the current context of the financial crisis.

His general research interests are in the field of sociology of religion, sociology of knowledge, social and conceptual transformation.


Ivan Kislenko

ivan-kislenko.jpgIvan Kislenko obtained his MA degree at the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2016. His Master dissertation focused on the historical origins of the theory of the social inequality of G. Therborn. He is generally interested in the history and theory of sociology. His PhD project concentrates on the notion of global sociology and the opposition between the Global North/South in sociological theory. Currently, he is also affiliated as a PhD student with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.



Tomás Koch

tomas-koch.jpgTomás Koch obtained his Master’s Degree at Austral University, Chile. Currently, he is a teaching assistant at Playa Ancha University (Chile) and a doctoral researcher at the Center for Social Theory at Ghent University. His doctoral research explores the transition of the academic profession in Chile through the analysis of socialisation of new faculty members from a communication-theory perspective.

More specifically, he intends to look at both internal changes in the university (e.g. balance between research and teaching) and the relationship between the university and its social environment. His research interests include sociology of education, sociology of knowledge and sociology of development.


Arno MaetensArno Maetens

Arno Maetens obtained a Master’s degree in Sociology in 2014 at Ghent University and received his PhD in Social Health Sciences (VUB) and Health Sciences (Ghent University) in 2019 with the dissertation on palliative home care. He is currently a part-time post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University (2BA) and Head of the Centre of Expertise The Cycle of Care at Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences. His main interests are in the field of sociology of health and illness.

Memory Mphaphuli

Memory MphaphuliMemory Mphaphuli obtained her Masters degree (cum laude) from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Her MA dissertation was titled “Interrogating the heteronormative sexuality and gendered performativity of young people in Madelakufa Informal Settlement” and it aimed to explore the multiple processes, positionings and power relations that constitute normative heterosexuality.

She is pursuing her PhD in the Department of Sociology here at Ghent University. Her doctoral research seeks to take the examination of normative heterosexuality further by investigating its construction within the family institution.

Her research interests include gender, sexuality, race politics and feminist theories.

Massilia OurabahMassilia Ourabah

Massilia Ourabah is a doctoral research fellow funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). She received her Research Master’s degree in Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in 2018. She has been an assistant at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and junior lecturer at UvA. Her doctoral research focuses on gender and eco-friendly reproductive labour. It seeks to understand how the global environmental crisis translates into mundane and gendered practices within domestic life.

Duyen Phuong

duyen-phuong.jpgDuyen Phuong got a Master degree in Linguistics and Literature in 2003 at Hanoi University of Education. From 2003 till 2016, she has worked as a lecturer at Hanoi University of Industry in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Her current research is intended to aim at teachers’ treatment of gendered school textbooks, teachers’ gendered stance and their classroom practices as well as the effects of teachers’ talk about gender representation in the textbooks on learners’ gendered identity formation in Vietnam.

Her main research interests include discourse analysis, gender and identity formation.


Mario Poblete

mario-poblete.jpgMario Poblete obtained his MA in Sociology at the Catholic University of Chile (2006). He also holds a MA in Political Science from the Complutense University of Madrid (2010). In 2016, he completed his doctoral research with a dissertation about Latin American populism in Madrid. Currently, he works as a lecturer of Latin American History and Education Policies at the Alberto Hurtado University of Chile and as a senior researcher at the Library of the National Congress of Chile. The main objective of his post-doctoral research project is to explain the rise –during the first half of the 20th century– and the revival –at the end of the 20th century– of Latin American populism.



Itamar Y. Shachar

itamar-sachar.jpgItamar Y. Shachar is a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). He received his PhD in 2017 from the Department of Sociology at Ghent University. Between 2017 and 2019, thanks to a Marie Skłodowska Curie individual fellowship, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam.

His current research project explores professionalization processes in the European and Flemish fields of volunteer management. This project forms part of his broader scholarly interest in the public rise of the notion of ‘volunteering’ and its alignments with state, corporate and military activity. He conducted ethnographic and qualitative research in Belgium, Israel and the US. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Ethnography, Voluntas, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Administrative Theory & Praxis and the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology.

Allan Souza Queiroz

allan-souza.jpgAllan Souza Queiroz holds a BA in Social Sciences from Federal University of Alagoas and a MA in Sociology from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He is a doctoral researcher at the Center for Social Theory since September 2013.

His research focuses on changes in the employment and working conditions of sugar cane cutters in Northeastern Brazil. More specifically, he aims to understand the relation between precarious forms of work and employment and the workers' mobility in the sugar agroindustry.

His research interests lies in sociology of work, employment relations, processes of precarization and oral history.




Raf Vanderstraeten

raf-vanderstraeten.jpgRaf Vanderstraeten is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Social Theory. His work is in the field of sociological theory, sociology of knowledge, sociology of religion, and sociology of education. In recent years, he has been a Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Finland), and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology of the University of Chicago (USA). With Kaat Louckx, he published in 2018 Sociology in Belgium: A Sociological History (Palgrave Macmillan).