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.

Chloë Delcour (junior researcher, teaching assistant, PS04)

chloe-delcour.jpgChloë Delcour obtained her Master in Sociology (2010-2011) at Ghent University . Now she works as as a PhD fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders within the Centre for Social Theory. Before October 2013, she was a teaching assistant for two years at the Sociology Department. In these two years she developed her research interests in globalization, human rights culture, and international power relations

Her doctoral research is situated within the interdisciplinary domains of political sociology and sociology of human rights. She tries to grasp the construction of human rights for Roma and Gypsy travellers, a group for which these rights are still highly contested, by analysing the discursive debate taking place in newspaper reporting between different actors on different levels in specific human rights case studies.



Els De Waele (junior researcher, PS04)

els-dewaele.jpgIn 2012 Els De Waele obtained her Master degree in social work at the Department of Social Welfare Studies of Ghent University. Currently she is working as a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for Social Theory. Her doctoral research focuses on the triangular relationship between activation practices, the labor market and volunteer work, and on the emerging phenomenon of government-driven volunteering therein. More specifically she is studying how and with which consequences government-driven volunteering is employed as an answer to social exclusion, and which consequences this has for the present day nature of volunteering.


Davide Dusi

davide-dusi-150x156.jpgDavide Dusi is a PhD student at the Centre for Social Theory of Ghent University. He obtained his BA in Education Sciences at University of Verona in 2008, and his MA in Sociology at University of Trento in 2012.

His curriculum encompasses Labour, Organization, and Information Systems, with a great emphasis on the relationship between Science, Technology and Society. Presently, his research concerns productive paradigms in digital environments and related phenomena such as prosumer movement and user participation through social media. He is also interested in participatory design of ICT and in societal innovation driven by digital innovation.


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.


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.


Kaat Louckx

kaat-louckx-150x152.jpgKaat Louckx is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology of the University of Chicago (B.A.E.F. Fellowship) and at the Center for Social Theory at Ghent University. Her research interests include the history of the social sciences, sociology of knowledge, and social theory. Her work appeared, amongst others, in The Sociological Review (2014), Social Science History (2015), and Nations and Nationalism (forthcoming).



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.


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.


Allan Souza Queiroz

Allan 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.




Dirk Van Glabeke


Dirk Van Glabeke is currently preparing his PhD dissertation at the Center for Social Theory.

The dissertation will be on the subject of the sociology of emotions, with as specific topic: rational decision making and the moral emotions, shame, guilt and pride.

Besides these subjects his main interests lie in the fields of social and moral norms, self, honor/respect, actor theories, social movements, the micro-macro link and historical sociology.



Raf Vanderstraeten (professor, PS04)

Raf Vanderstraeten is University Professor and Professor of Sociology. His work is in the

field of socioraf-vanderstraeten.jpglogical theory, sociology of knowledge, sociology of religion, and sociology of education. Currently he is preparing a book on differentiation theory.


Rachel Waerniers

rachel_waerniers.jpgRachel Waerniers obtained her Master degree in Sociology (2012-2013) at Ghent University.

At present she is a teaching assistant at the Sociology department of this university and a doctoral researcher attached to the Centre for Social Theory.

Her research interests are situated within the domain of political sociology, more specifically she deals with questions of social capital and ethnic minorities. At the moment she’s focusing on the attachment of ethnic minorities to their neighbourhood and the development of a local identity.


Nathan Wittock

nathan-wittock.jpgNathan Wittock is a PhD Student at the Department of Sociology at Ghent University since November 2015. He obtained his Master in Sociology at Ghent University in 2014-2015, graduating in the Major Political Sociology. While his Master’s Thesis was on the sociology of mental health and illness, and the experiences of family members of people diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, his current research further expands on his interests in the fields of political sociology, Science and Technology Studies, and the sociology of health. Currently he is working on different aspects of the Blood Economy, studying the interplay of social constructions and material aspects that provide blood(-products) with meaning and causes sociotechnical controversies.