Ben O Ceallaigh

Dr, BA, MA, PhD

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Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests primarily focus on the relationships between political economy and language vitality - looking specifically at the ways in which capitalism negatively affects minoritised languages. To this end I have conducted extensive research on the effects of post-2008 economic developments on Irish-speaking communities and Irish-language policy, exploring how austerity and neoliberalism are in direct opposition to the sort of supports minoritised languages typically need. I have also conducted some research on how the macro-economic developments of the last 15 years have impacted Scottish Gaelic, Manx and Welsh.

Additionally, I have a deep interest in how language revitalisation policy can fruitfully align with environmental policy in a time of rapidly exacerbating ecological crisis. In coming years I hope to expand my focus to examine in more detail how heterodox political ideologies such as democratic confederalism can be more conducive to minority language rights than those models based on the state and capitalism which are currently hegemonic.


I grew up in the west of Ireland and did my undergraduate degree in Politics, Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Galway. After spending several years living in an Irish-speaking ("Gaeltacht") community I did an MA in language revitalisation in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, the division of the University of Galway which teaches through the medium of Irish. Following this, I received a scholarship to do a PhD in the University of Edinburgh's Department of Celtic Studies. In 2021 I received the Joshua A. Fishman Award for my thesis, a triennial accolade which recognises "an outstanding dissertation that pushes intellectual boundaries and offers innovative, forward-looking perspectives in the sociology of language". A book based on this PhD was published in 2022. 

In addition to my work within academia I also have a wide range of other experience both as an activist and professional in the field of language revitalisation in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Hapus i siarad Cymraeg / Gaeilge agus fáilte / Fàilte air cho-fhreagartas sa Ghàidhlig / Looayr Gaelg rhoom / Ankaŭ mi ĝojegas praktiki Esperanton!

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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