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Dr Giada Lagana

Dr Giada Lagana

Research Associate, WISERD

School of Social Sciences

Available for postgraduate supervision


Dr Giada Laganá is a Research Assistant at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), School of Social Sciences (SOCSI), Cardiff University. She currently works with Dr Sioned Pearce at the project 'Youth unemployment and civil society under devolution: a comparative analysis of sub-state welfare regimes'. She has recently completed a book, published with Palgrave McMillan, entitled The European Union and the Northern Ireland Peace Process and She has recently been awarded the Simone Veil Fellowship at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), for her research on the European Union and peacebuilding.

Dr Lagana was previously appointed at the Wales Governance Centre (WGC), with Professor Daniel Wincott, where she examined the impact of the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the EU on the UK’s internal constitutional and intergovernmental arrangements. 

Giada started out as an historian, completing her undergraduate studies in modern and contemporary history at the University of Pavia (Italy). She then obtained an MA in international relations and history, under the joint supervision of Didier Poton (Université de La Rochelle) and Michel Catala (Université de Nantes).


I was awarded my PhD in political science and sociology, in February 2018. My thesis was submitted under the supervision of Professor Niall O’Dochartaigh and looked at the role of the European Union in the Northern Ireland peace process. I started out as an historian, completing my undergraduate studies in modern and contemporary history at the University of Pavia (Italy). I then obtained an MA in international relations and history, under the joint supervision of Didier Poton (Université de La Rochelle) and Michel Catala (Université de Nantes).


Dr Giada Lagana previous research focuses on the genesis of the European Union (EU) role in the Northern Ireland peace process. She analysed this role through a new theoretical lense, which combined elements of Strategic Peacebuilding (Lederach and Appleby 2010) with notions of Metagovernance. Her research has engaged with, and will continue to evaluate, wider questions in conflict and peace studies using Northern Ireland as a case study.

In parallel, Dr Lagana has developed a specific expertise in cross-border processes and cross border cooperation. By bridging Political Science with History and theories of Metagovernance, this research has so far explored historically the conscious mobilisation, forming and shaping of Irish and Welsh cross-border spaces by subnational actors through the EU programme INTERREG. By employing qualitative methods for collecting and analysing empirical data, semi-structured interviews, as well as analysis of primary and secondary sources, Dr Lagana aims at providing new theoretical insights critical for understanding how subnational actors and policy networks are not just empowered by EU sponsored cross-border cooperation, but how they can actively shape it as an opportunity structure.

Finally, Dr Lagana is currently appointed as a researcher in Dr Sioned Pearce ESRC funded project entitled 'Youth unemployment and civil society under devolution: a comparative analysis of sub-state welfare regimes'. This project aims at identifying, categorise and compare scales and types of civil society involvement in youth unemployment policy between the four devolved nations of the UK. In doing so it will examine the implications of these differences for both youth unemployment provision and devolved policy arrangements. The broader aim is to critique the notion of 'one UK welfare state' and, in doing so, progress our understanding of the impact of decentralisation, devolution and territorial rescaling on welfare state formation across Western Europe. In this framework, Dr Lagana is specifically looking at the historical development of unemployment provisions in Northern Ireland, starting from unemployment among former political prisoners. Theoretically, she is working at applying notions of Metagovernance to devolution and territoriality in the UK.


(2021) The European Union and the Northern Ireland Peace process, Palgrave McMillan.

This book examines the economic and political contributions of the EU to the Northern Ireland peace process, tracing the genesis of EU involvement since 1979 and analysing how it acted as an arena in which to foster dialogue and positive cooperation. Based on extensive archival research and exclusive elite interviews this volume provides the first comprehensive study of how the EU contributed to the reconfiguration of Northern Ireland from a site of conflict to a site of conflict amelioration and peace-building. The book demonstrates that the relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU has been much more significant in the peace process than previously suggested.


Lagana G., White T. (2021), “Cross-border Cooperation on Cultural Heritage in European Border Regions: Sites and Senses of ‘Place’ on the Border of Ireland and Northern Ireland”, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. (Forthcoming)

Lagana G. (2020), ‘Has the European Union empowered the regions? A pre and post Brexit preliminary investigation of the United Kingdom’, European Urban and Regional Studies

Lagana G. (2021), ‘EU Structural Funds programmes on the island of Ireland: Interreg and the cross-border dimension’ in Simpson K., Holmes M., Ireland and the EU: Economic, Political & Social Crises, Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Lagana G., Wincott D. (2020), "The Added-Value of the Ireland- Wales Cooperation Programme", Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University. Available at:

Lagana G. (2020), "Ireland" in UKIIN, The future of the European Union: new perspectives, The UK in a Changing Europe, p. 24 – 25.

Lagana G. (2019), "The European Union and the Northern Ireland peace process in the shadow of Brexit", The Irish Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade & the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, ISBN: 978-1- 908358-60-8.

Lagana G. (2019), ‘Triangulation of Archival and Oral Sources: When Political Science meets history on a middle ground’, Sage Research Methods Cases in Politics and International Relations, Online ISBN: 9781526492913, DOI:

Lagana G. (2019),’L’européanisation du processus de paix nord-irlandais’, Relations Internationales, Vol. 176, Issue 4, p. 20 - 39.

Lagana G. (2019), ‘A preliminary investigation on the genesis of EU cross-border cooperation on the island of Ireland’, Space and Polity, Vol. 21, Issue 3, p. 289 - 302.

Lagana G. (2017), ‘Il processo di pace NordIrlandese all’ombra del Brexit’, In Europa, No 1, May 2017. Available online at:

Additionally, over 25 non-academic, online articles and media contributions have been produced, including: LSE EUROPP Blog; The Centre on Consitutional Change Blog; Youtube; and FranceCulture.