Degree: MA, MSc, DPhil

College: St Cross College

Email: Heather Hamill

Tel.: 01865 286184

Further Links: College profile

Member of

Member of Research Streams

  • Crime, violence and governance

Heather Hamill

Associate Professor in Sociology, Fellow of St Cross College

Research Areas: Extra-Legal Governance and Crime.

Research Interests

Heather's research primarily centres on the various ways in which problems related to establishing trust and reputation are solved. These issues are particularly pertinent in the low trust environments of high crime neighbourhoods and illegal political and criminal organisations. She has researched these issues in a number of different settings including: informal justice and policing in Northern Ireland; how taxi drivers establish the trustworthiness of their customers and how illegal political and criminal organisations recruit their members. She has also been working on a project investigating the implementation of equality legislation in Northern Ireland.

Heather was formerly a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow and has been awarded research grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC) and the Nuffield Foundation. Her books include Streetwise: How taxi drivers establish their customer's trustworthiness (Russell Sage Foundation 2005, with Diego Gambetta) and The Hoods: Crime and Punishment in Belfast (Princeton University Press, 2011).


Does Affirmative Action Work? Evidence from the Operation of Fair Employment Legislation in Northern Ireland.
Muttarak, R.; H. Hamill; A. Heath and C. McCrudden (2012) 
Sociology published online 2 October 2012 DOI: 10.1177/0038038512453799

The Hoods: Crime and Punishment in Belfast
Hamill, H. (2011)
(Princeton University Press)

Winner of the James Donnelly Sr Prize for Books in History and Social Sciences, by the American Conference for Irish Studies. This prize is awarded for outstanding scholarship in Irish studies, and the selection committee, headed by Dr. Brigittine French, described the book in this way:

"Hamill's ethnographically-informed analysis of extra-legal punishment in Belfast is social science at its best. She exposes the ways that Catholic and Protestant paramilitary police and punish youth in their own communities and interrogates why such violent social sanctions do not deter "the Hoods." In this way, Hamill's book opens up new terrain in Irish Studies while grounding her conclusions in the cultural and political circumstances of Northern Ireland. It is an extremely well-written academic book that is truly difficult to put down."

Affirmative Action without Quotas in Northern Ireland
McCrudden, Christopher, Raya Muttarak, Heather Hamill and Anthony Heath (2009)
The Equal Rights Review 4: 7-14.

Streetwise: How Taxi Drivers Establish Their Customers' Trustworthiness
Gambetta, Diego and Hamill, Heather (2005)
Volume X in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust (New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation)

It's Not Who You Know - It's What You Know About People You Don't Know That Counts: Extending the Analysis of Crime Groups as Social Networks
Chattoe, Edmund and Hamill, Heather (2005)
British Journal of Criminology

Victims of Paramilitary Punishment Attacks in Belfast
Hamill, Heather (2002)
in Hoyle, Carolyn and Young, Richard (eds.) New Visions of Crime Victims (Oxford: Hart Publishing), pp. 49-69.