Christopher T. Whelan, who served as Chair of the Board of the European Consortium for Sociological Research from 2009-2012, has died.
Chris did a primary degree in Psychology at University College Dublin followed by an MSc in Sociology from the LSE and completed his doctorate in Sociology from the University of London. He joined the research staff of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin in 1978, spending most of his career there, as Research Professor from 1992. In 2009 he moved to UCD as Professor of Sociology, serving as Head of Department 2009-11, and then to Queen’s University Belfast as Professor of Sociology until formal retirement in 2015. He continued researching and publishing up to the onset of his illness last year. He became a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2006.
Chris published about 200 journal articles, monographs, books and book chapters over the course of his career. His research focused primarily on the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality, on social stratification and social mobility, and on societal change in Ireland and Europe, while covering a very wide span of topics from values and attitudes to psychological distress. He made a very substantial contribution to the development of sociology in Ireland, and to building European social science research collaboration. He served as Chair of the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences of the European Science Foundation from 2002-2005. He participated in a very wide range of research collaborations, including as Chair of the Governing Council of the EU Economic Change, Quality of Life and Social Cohesion Network of Excellence (co-ordinated by Robert Erikson) and as Coordinator of the EU-funded CHANGEQUAL Network 2003-2004.
“Chris was an inspirational leader and scholar for the ECSR, supporting many early career to senior researchers. He leaves a legacy of research excellence but also a model of being kind, full of humor and bringing people together”, says Melinda Mills, who served as ECSR secretary and treasurer with Chris.
Chris was a very active, engaged and effective contributor to the European research scene, with his infectious enthusiasm matched by focus and drive. He will be sadly missed.