Dr Pauline Garvey


Gaeilge agus fáilte

Associate Professor

Rowan House
1st Floor
(01) 708 3587


Pauline Garvey is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Maynooth University. Her recent book, (co-written with Daniel Miller) is entitled Ageing with Smartphones in Ireland: When Life Becomes Craft, University College London/ University of Chicago Press (2021). Other works include her monograph Unpacking IKEA: Swedish Design for the Purchasing Masses, Routledge (2018), and Exhibit Ireland, Wordwell, (2012), co-edited with Adam Drazin and Seamas O'Siochain. Research for Unpacking IKEA work was funded by the Irish Research Council and The Swedish Institute. This project featured in the IRC-produced volume Mosaic to commemorate 10 years of funded research excellence. Other publications include a special edition of the Journal of Design History dedicated to anthropological engagements with design entitled Design Dispersed, (2016, with Adam Drazin UCL), 'Material Culture and Making the Modern' published in A Cultural History of the Home in the Modern Age (Bloomsbury 2021), edited by D. Stratigakos and papers in various journals including Social Anthropology, Journal of Material Culture, Journal of Design History, Journal of Business Anthropology, Ethnologie Francaise, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute amongst others. Pauline's research interests include mass consumption, material culture, design and digital anthropology, and ageing in Ireland. Recent research projects include the Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing led by University College London and funded by the European Research Council. Maynooth University was a project partner. Her current research pilot (with Joseph Timoney, Computer Science, Maynooth University) is entitled Social Prescribing, Anthropological Research and Digital Innovation (SPARDI) and is funded by MaynoothWorks.

Pauline is currently External Examiner for the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queens University Belfast. She has occupied the role of Visiting Scholar in the Department of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in Singapore University of Technology and Design (2022) and the Slovak Academy of Sciences (2022). She is co-editor the international peer-reviewed journal Home Cultures, the Journal of Architecture, Design and Domestic Space (published by Taylor and Francis), and sits on the Editorial Board of the Nordic Journal of Social Research.

Research Interests

Pauline Garvey's research interests include material culture and Nordic domesticity, domestic exhibitions (‘housing theatre’) in 20th century Sweden, design anthropology, and the politics surrounding ethnographic collections in Ireland. Her PhD research, focussing on domestic material culture in Skien, Norway, was completed in 2002 and is published in several book chapters and journals such as Social Anthropology, Journal of Material Culture, Journal of Design History, Ethnologie Française, the International Encyclopaedia of Housing and Home. Recent publications include Unpacking IKEA: Swedish Design for the Purchasing Masses published by Routledge (2018). Research for this monograph was funded by the Irish Research Council and the Swedish Institute, Stockholm.  Pauline has been editor of Home Cultures, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal dedicated to Architecture, Design and Domestic Space since 2013.
Pauline is currently working on an ERC-funded project The Anthropology of Smart Phones and Smart Ageing which involves a close collaboration of eleven anthropologists in 10 countries. 

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
SmartPhoneSmartAging: Smartphones, Smart Ageing and mHealth PI This project will investigate fundamental changes in people’s relationship to age and health associated with the global rise of the smartphone. The aim is to combine an intellectual challenge in understanding the contemporary nature of age and the impact of new media, with an applied challenge to use this knowledge to help make mHealth a more effective intervention. Through simultaneous 15 month ethnographies in China, Japan, Iran, Ireland, Nigeria and Tanzania (and supplementary work in Trinidad) a team will explore the experience of age for those between 45-70 i.e. neither clearly young nor elderly, who represent an unprecedented population that has resulted from changed life expectancy and changed aspirations. We will examine how this shift in the experience of age is impacted by the rise of smartphones that bring access to technologies associated with the young. mHealth started with youth orientated issues of fitness and wellbeing but is increasingly becoming a significant intervention in helping older populations deal with disease and frailties. mHealth has potential both for helping those with low access to professional care but also threatens to bypass and undermine professional medical services. Our aim is to complement technology led mHealth interventions with ethnography led participatory design, consisting of a collaboration between mHealth professionals with our ethnographically informed team and our informants. The applied anthropology will inform our intellectual advances in the field of digital anthropology. Reflections on mHealth will contribute to the core aim of advancing our understanding of the experience of age in this new interstitial period of life, and to appreciate the major transformations in society and sociality represented by the new ubiquity of the smartphone. Both the intellectual and applied components will be shown to depend upon sensitivity to the forms of cultural diversity uncovered by our comparative ethnographic approach. 01/02/2018 30/09/2022 52137
Unpacking IKEA Cultures: A Comparative Ethnography of IKEA consumers in Stockholm and Dublin. PI, researcher. Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), Research Fellowship (€42,000). Unpacking IKEA Cultures: A Comparative Ethnography of IKEA consumers in Stockholm and Dublin. Principal Investigator: 01/09/2007 01/09/2008 42000
Trash to Treasures: An Ethnographic Account of the Transformation of Value Within a Dublin Flea-Market. PI 01/10/2015 30/09/2017 47980


Year Publication
2021 Pauline Garvey and Daniel Miller (2021) Ageing with Smartphones in Ireland: When Life Becomes Craft. London: University College London Press. [Link]
2021 Daniel Miller, Laila Abed Rabho, Patrick Awondo, Maya de Vries, Marília Duque, Pauline Garvey, Laura Haapio-Kirk, Charlotte Hawkins, Alfonso Otaegui, Shireen Walton, and Xinyuan Wang (2021) The Global Smartphone: Beyond a Youth Technology. London: University College London Press. [Link]
2018 Pauline Garvey (2018) Unpacking Ikea: Swedish Design for the Purchasing Masses. London: Routledge, CRESC Series.

Edited Book

Year Publication
2016 Garvey, Pauline and Adam Drazin (Ed.). (2016) Special Issue of the Journal of Design History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, [Link]
2013 Pauline Garvey, Victor Buchli (University Colege London), Setha Low (CUNY) (Ed.). (2013) Home Cultures: The Journal of Architecture, Design and Domestic Space. London: Taylor and Francis,
2012 Seamas O’Siochain, Pauline Garvey and Adam Drazin (Ed.). (2012) The Globe in a Glass Case: Ethnographic Collections in Irish Museums. Dublin: Wordwell,
2009 Garvey, Pauline and Adam Drazin (eds) (Ed.). (2009) Special Issue of Anthropology in Action and the Irish Journal of Anthropology. London: Berghahn Books,

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Miller D.; Garvey P. (2022) 'Grandparenting as the resolution of kinship as experience'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, . [DOI]
2020 Drazkiewicz, E; Strong, T; Scheper-Hughes, N; Turpin, H; Murphy, F; Saris, AJ; Garvey, P; Mishtal, J; Wulff, H; French, B; Miller, D; Maguire, L; Mhordha, MN (2020) 'Repealing Ireland's Eighth Amendment: abortion rights and democracy today'. Social Anthropology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Pauline Garvey and Adam Drazin (invited editors for Special Issue) (2016) '‘Design Dispersed: Design History, Design Practice and Anthropology: An Introduction’'. Journal of Design History, . [Full-Text]
2008 Garvey P. (2008) 'The Norwegian country cabin and functionalism: A tale of two modernities'. Social Anthropology, 16 (2):203-220. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Garvey, Pauline (2013) ''Ikea sofas are like H&M trousers': The potential of sensuous signs'. JOURNAL OF BUSINESS ANTHROPOLOGY, 2 :75-92. [Full-Text]
2005 Garvey, P (2005) 'Domestic boundaries - Privacy, visibility and the Norwegian window'. Material Culture, 10 :157-176. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Garvey, Pauline (2011) 'La mémoire en attente. Le muse ethnographique dans L’Irlande post-coloniale'. ETHNOLOGIE FRANÇAISE, 2 :253-262. [Full-Text]
2009 Garvey, Pauline and Adam Drazin (editors) (2009) 'Anthropology, Design and Technology in Ireland, a special edition'. ANTHROPOLOGY IN ACTION AND IRISH JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY, 16 .
2009 Pauline Garvey and Adam Drazin (invited editors) (2009) ''Design and Having Designs in Ireland: Introduction''. ANTHROPOLOGY IN ACTION AND IRISH JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY, 16 :4-18. [Full-Text]
2003 Garvey, Pauline (2003) '‘How to have a ‘good home’: the practical aesthetic and normativity in Norway’'. Journal of Design History, 16 :241-251. [Full-Text]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2021 Pauline Garvey (2021) 'Furniture and Furnishings: Material Culture and Making the Modern' In: A Cultural History of the Home. London : Bloomsbury. [Link]
2017 Garvey P.; Drazin A. (2017) 'Ireland's ethnographic Horizons' In: Irish Ethnologies.
2018 Pauline Garvey (2018) 'Consuming IKEA and Inspiration as Material Form, 2nd edition' In: Design Anthropology: Object Cultures in Transition. London : Bloomsbury.
2012 Pauline Garvey, Seamas O'Siochain and Adam Drazin (2012) 'Introduction: Presencing Assemblages' In: Exhibit Ireland: Ethnographic Collections in Ireland. Dublin : Wordwell Press. [Full-Text]
2012 Pauline Garvey (2012) 'Living rooms' In: International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Amsterdam : Elsevier. [DOI]
2011 Garvey, Pauline (2011) 'Consuming IKEA and inspiration as material form' In: A.J. Clarke(Eds.). Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century. Wien, New York : Springer Verlag.
2009 Garvey, Pauline (2009) 'Culture Materialised: IKEA furniture and other evangelitcal objects' In: J. Fenwick(Eds.). Lost and Found. Dublin : Wordwell Press. [Full-Text]
2005 Garvey, Pauline (2005) 'Drunk and (Dis) Orderly in Norway: Norwegian Drinking Parties in the Home' In: T. Wison (editor)(Eds.). Drinking Culture: AIcohol and the Expression of Identity, Class and Nation. Oxford : Berg.
2001 Garvey, Pauline (2001) 'Organized Disorder: Moving Furniture in Norwegian Homes' In: Daniel Miller(Eds.). Home Possessions: the Material Culture of the Home. Oxford : Berg.
2001 Garvey, Pauline (2001) 'Drinking, Driving and Daring in Norway' In: Daniel Miller (editor)(Eds.). Car Cultures. Oxford : Berg.

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2020 Pauline Garvey and Daniel Miller (2020) Endings, Conference of the Anthropological Association of Ireland Conference of the Anthropological Association of Ireland Online, .
2019 Pauline Garvey and Shireen Walton (2019) Association of Social Anthropologists: Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges Ageing - ideology and practice: cases from ireland and italy Norwich UK, 03/09/2019-06/09/2019.
2018 Garvey, Pauline (2018) Department of Folklore, University College Dublin Paper presented as part of the departmental seminar series University College Dublin, 02/10/2018-.
2014 Pauline Garvey, Johan Nilsson and Lotta Björklund Larsen (panel organisers) (2014) European Association of Social Anthropologists Generating value and valuation as collaborative practice Tallin Estonia, 31/07/2014-03/08/2014.
2013 Pauline Garvey (2013) Retrocycle: The Science Gallery, TCD, Dublin Retrocycle Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, .
2012 Pauline Garvey and Adam Drazin, University College London (panel organisers). (2012) European Association of Social Anthropologists Powerful and opaque corporate boundaries now constitute many aspects of everyday life, identity, biography, and the material world. We interrogate the anthropological encounter with these patrolled but slippery boundaries, and their implications for anthropological knowledge Nanterre, France, 10/07/2012-13/07/2012.
2013 (2013) The sensuous quality of domestic things It's personal: subjectivity in Design History University of Hertfordshire, .
2012 (2012) Democratic Discourse, Democratic Design Govemark Seminar National University of Ireland Maynooth, .
2011 (2011) Democratic Design Anthropology seminar series Anthropology Department, Queen's University Belfast, .
2011 (2011) Democractic Design and the Ikea flatpack Material Culture Seminar Series Anthropology Department, University College London, .
2011 (2011) The Materialisation of Brand Opening the Flatpack: Ethnography, Art, and the Billy Bookcase postgraduate workshop Konstfack Stock National college of Art, Craft and Design, (Konstfack) Stockholm, .
2011 (2011) ‘Per Albin Hansson built Ikea and Ingvar Kamprad Furnished it’ Anthropological Association of Ireland conference School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast, .
2011 (2011) Democratic Design Material Culture Seminar University College London, Anthropology Department, .
2010 (2010) Consuming IKEA NUIM Business School seminar series School of Business and Law, NUI Maynooth, .
2010 (2010) On folk museums and corporations NAIRTL-funded research cluster organised by Eamonn Slattery (NUIM) and Terence McDonough (NUIG) Strokestown Famine museum, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. , .
2009 (2009) ‘Inspiration as material form’ Ethnography, Creativity, Design, a two-day workshop Maynooth, .
2009 (2009) Inspiration as material form Ethnography, Creativity, Design, a two-day workshop in collaboration with Intel Ireland National University of Ireland Maynooth in collaboration with Intel Ireland, .
2009 (2009) On the museology of IKEA in Sweden School of Marketing, DIT Dublin DIT Dublin, .
2009 (2009) Inspiration as material form: on the museology of IKEA in Sweden’ Seminar for Consumption and Leisure Studies DIT Dubin, .
2008 (2008) IKEA and Taste: Some reflections from on-going ethnography Department of Social Anthropology seminar series, Stockholm University Stockholm University, .
2008 (2008) Love in a cold climate: Devotional objects and IKEA consumption in Sweden Love Objects conference National College of Art and Design Dublin, .


Year Publication
2012 Pauline Garvey (2012) ’Light’, invited contribution to the CIM (Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement) Teaching Resource, Queens University Belfast. Based in Queens University Belfast. CIM researchers analyze how globalizing forces may stimulate or hamper forms of cultural production through an examination of creative practices across Europe, South Asia, West Africa, Australia, South America and the Caribbean. http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/cim/. [ANET/COS]

Book Review

Year Publication
2002 Dr Pauline Garvey (2002) Review of Victor Buchli (ed) 2002 Material Culture Reader. [Book Review]

Invited papers

Year Publication
2011 Pauline Garvey (2011) ‘Ikea as folk museum’, in Gareth Kennedy (ed) Ikea Butter Churn for Gneeveguilla. Invited contributor to the catalogue that forms part of this art installation, funded by Kerry County Council and on tour throughout Ireland during 2011 / 2012. [Invited papers] [Full-Text]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
European Association of Social Anthropology Member -


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
Anthropology Department PhD, University College London Anthropology
University of Cambridge MPhil Archaeology
UCD BA, First Class Honours Archaeology

Other Activities

I am currently serving as external examiner of the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Anthropology in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics in Queens University Belfast.

Teaching Interests

My interests lie in the area of material culture, consumption, and digital anthropology. 

I have made consistent efforts to form teaching collaborations of an interdisciplinary nature. 

: On invitation, I contributed to a teaching collaboration designed by Johan Lindqvist (Anthropology, Stockholm) and John Freyer (Univerisity of Iowa and Fulbright Fellow, Stockholm) with colleagues in Stockholm's University College of Arts, Craft and Design (Konstfack) called 'Opening the Flat pack: Ethnography, Art and the Billy Bookcase’.

2009- 2010 I was approached by the Design and Innovation Department in Maynooth to establish a module on Design and Ethnography. I ran this module for two years, which included an interdisciplinary cohort of anthropology and design students.  2008:  I personally established and taught on a joint module between the MA Social Anthropology at NUIM, and the MA Material and Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin with the aim of establishing material culture dialogues between anthropologists and design students.
Teaching collaborations based on research:  In 2010 was invited to contribute to the web-based CIM (Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement) Teaching Resource with a written piece on my research in Stockholm. Based in Queens University Belfast, the CIM is a peer-reviewed resource aimed at the study of cultural production and creative practices across Europe, South Asia, West Africa and Australia. 

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2004 Keith Parker
2005 Silvia Loeffler
2011 Shannon Damery
2013 Malise Gibney
2013 Kathleen Levacher
2010 Johan Nilsson
2009 Chiara Garattini PhD
2007 Chiara Dallevalle PhD
2015 Alison Troutner
2017 Katie Cremer
2018 Amiee Flynn-Curran PhD