New book "Struggles for Empowerment" by Dr Teresa Bruen and Professor Ambreen Shahriar

Friday, April 12, 2019 Press Office
Press Release

Book launched by Professor Neville McClenaghan, Vice President for GMIT Mayo

A new book “Struggles for empowerment – Higher Education stories from East and West”, co- authored by Dr Teresa Bruen, GMIT Mayo, and Professor Ambreen Shahriar from the University of Sindh, Hyderabad, Pakistan, was formally launched at the Mayo campus this week (10 April 2019).

The book, published by UCL Press, examines the stories of mature students from the region of Sindh in Pakistan and the west of Ireland, looking at their journeys and their struggle whilst they navigate the world of Higher Education. The narratives are explored utilising the theoretical lens of the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his theoretical framework of Habitus, Capital and Field.

Dr Teresa Bruen, lecturer in the GMIT Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Social Care, says: “Whilst the students appear to come from extremely different backgrounds and cultures, the study illuminates similarities in their experiences in relation to social inequality and the challenges and obstacles they have to surmount in order to access Higher education and throughout their time in higher education.”

“Seeking to understand why some are able to persevere with studies against enormous odds, our book draws on Bourdieu’s theories of social and cultural capital, habitus and field to analyse the students’ very personal narratives. The accounts are truthful and moving and inspirational and lead us to engage with the very real questions of how we support non-traditional students within higher education”.

Launching the book, Professor Neville McClenaghan, Vice President for GMIT Mayo, says: “This book, in itself, captures the essence of what Institute of Technologies are all about in terms of purpose, and this work captures the values and ethos of Mayo Campus, with a very open commitment to the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, reflected in the work we do that extends beyond the curricula we deliver. Examples of this include the recent programme of events here on Mayo Campus held to mark International Women’s Day 2019, and a Soroptimist Girl’s Conference last week. Today however, we are here to celebrate the launch of Dr Bruen’s book which provides fascinating insights as to people going against the grain, working against the odds, in a supportive learning environment, to reinvent themselves, aspects captured in the title.”

Justin Kerr, Head of Dept of Nursing, Health Sciences and Social Care, GMIT, says: “We are delighted to host the launch of Dr Teresa Bruen’s book ‘Struggles for Empowerment Higher Education Stories from East to west’’. It is a culmination of many years hard work and is a must read that informs the dialogue of inequalities in our society today”.

The book, published by UCL Press, is available in paperback, Kindle and eBook formats. To order  Further information on courses in the GMIT Dept of Nursing, Health Sciences and Social Care -


Galway-Mayo IT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT are working towards becoming a Technological University for the west and northwest of Ireland.

Issued by Regina Daly, GMIT Communications Officer, Dublin Road, Galway.
Tel. 0035391742826 / 0879618355 Email: