Dr Gëzim Alpion

Lecturer in Sociology
Director of Joint Honours and Combined programmes

Department of Political Science and International Studies

Gezim Alpion

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0)121 414 3241

Fax +44 (0)121 414 3496

Email g.i.alpion@bham.ac.uk

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • PhD Durham University
  • BA Cairo University


Prior to joining the Department of Sociology at the University of Birmingham in 2002, Gëzim lectured at the University of Huddersfield, Sheffield Hallam University, Westhill College of Higher Education and Newman University College. Gëzim joined the Department of Political Science and International Studies in August 2010.

Gëzim specialises in the sociology of success, religion, race, ethnicity, film, media and authorship. His books include "Foreigner Complex" (2002), "Mother Teresa: Saint and Celebrity?" (2007), and "Encounters with Civilizations: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa" (2009). Gëzim is currently developing the idea of 'fame capital' as a variable in an intranational and international context, and exploring the significance of Mother Teresa's 'dark night of the soul' in a post-modernist context.

Gëzim is Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, since 2000, and Member of Max Weber Study Group of the British Sociological Association.

Gëzim has presented papers at prestigious national and international conferences and has delivered keynote addresses, lectures and talks at several universities in the United Kingdom and overseas: the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, China, India, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Finland, Macedonia, Kosova and Albania.

Gëzim has written features on British, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Indian politics, culture and identity for "The Guardian", "The Middle East Times", "The Birmingham Post", "The Huddersfield Daily Examiner", and "Hürriyet Daily News".

He is regularly interviewed by local, national and international media for his expertise.


Gëzim convenes and teaches on the second year course "Sociology of 'Race' and Ethnicity: A Global Perspective", and level three modules "Sociology of Success and Fame" (which he introduced in 2008) and "Sociology of Film".

At the MA level he has delivered lectures on the sociology of success, fame and authorship. In addition he supervises undergraduate and MA dissertations, and provides supervision for MPhil and PhD students. Gëzim is external PhD examiner for the Department of Political Science, University of Calcutta, India.

Postgraduate supervision

Gëzim would be happy to consider supervising research students interested in the following areas:

  • sociology of success and fame: charisma, fame capital, celebrity culture, and celebrification of politics
  • sociology of religion: role of religious icons in contemporary society, religion and post-modernity, dark night of the soul, relationship between mysticism and scholasticism, and women empowerment in Catholicism
  • sociology of authorship: production of knowledge, disinterested knowledge, originary genius, and copyright
  • sociology of media: mis/representations, and stereotyping
  • sociology of nationality: paradigms of national identity, anarchy and nationalism


Research interests

  • Fame capital, celebrity culture, and image politics
  • Mother Teresa's iconic status and "dark night of the soul"
  • Politics of faith and disbelief in post-modernity
  • Politics of representation and stereotyping in cinema, literature and media
  • Catholicism and women empowerment since the 11th century
  • Knowledge production, originality, and authorship
  • Cognitive property, intellectual property, and copyright
  • Paradigms of national identity

Gëzim has reviewed book manuscripts for Palgrave Macmillan and Pearson Education

Current and recent projects

Gëzim is currently working on three research projects:

  • Who Betrayed Mother Teresa? Politics of Faith and Disbelief in Post-modernity

The monograph assesses the implications of the publication in 2007 of Mother Teresa's private correspondence (in which she confesses her lack of faith in God from 1940 until her death in 1997) for her legacy, and in the context of creationist and evolutionist views on the role of religion in post-modernity. The study highlights similarities and differences between Mother Teresa's "dark night of the soul" and the spiritual darkness experienced by medieval writers such as Richeldis of Faverches and Hidegard of Bingen as well as St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Ávila and St Thérèse of Lisieux. This is the first sociological study of Mother Teresa's controversial confessions about her troubled faith.

  • Orientalism versus Nationalism: National Costumes, Clothing Industry and Standardization of Taste

Concentrating on national costumes, the study explores some of the consequences of mass production on clothing industry in modernity. The monograph draws attention for the first time to the work of 'unknown' European scholars and intellectuals, such as F. Nopcsa and F. Konica, who expressed concerns about the fading aura in the art of dressing almost four decades before Walter Benjamin and other members of the Frankfurt School articulated their concerns about the relationship between the capitalist mode of production and standardization of tastes in the late 1930s. The study assesses the importance European nationalists attached to the national costume towards the end of the nineteenth century and at the start of the twentieth century.

  • In God's Image: The Sociology of Authorship

The monograph critically assesses key modernist and postmodernist theories of authorship, concentrating on Foucault's analysis of the 'author-function' in Western culture and the impact of Derrida's and Barthes' views on deconstruction, 'la mort de l'auteur', and the 'supremacy' of the reader on the authorship debate over the last fifty years. The study approaches the author in the context of 'pre/romantic', 'elitist' and 'populist' views concentrating on the im/personal, attached / detached, therapeutic and autobiographical aspects of writing


Select Publications

  • Books

Alpion, G., Encounters with Civilizations: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2011. 303 pages [Available as a paperback]

Alpion, G., Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? London and New York: Routledge, 2007. 284 pages [Available as a hardback, a paperback, and an eBook]

  • Indian edition (also in English) was published by Routledge India in New Delhi in 2008. [Available as a paperback only in South Asia.]
  • Italian edition. Madre Teresa: Santa o Celebrità? Trans. Massimo Laria. Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2008. [Available as a paperback.]
  • The book has been reviewed in the following languages: Albanian, Bengali, Chinese, Dutch, English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Indonesian, Maltese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovakian and Spanish.

Alpion, G., Foreigner Complex: Essays about Egypt. Birmingham: UBCPS, 2002.

  • Chapters in Edited Collections

Alpion, G., ‘European media and ‘outsiders' within,’ in A. Schumann (ed.), Logic in Central and Eastern Europe: History, Science and Discourse, Lanham, MD, USA: University Press of America, 2012.

Alpion, G., ‘Albanian community in the West Midlands’, Cultural Voyage: Exploring the Muslim Heritage, Studley: Brewin, 2008.

  • Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journal

Alpion, G., ‘Enoch Powell, immigration and English nationalism’. Studia Humana Journal, December 2012.

Alpion, G., ‘Brain down the drain – An exposé of social closure in Western academia." Albanian Journal of Politics, Vol. 4, Issue, 1, June 2008, pp. 41-63.

Alpion, G., ‘Media and celebrity culture: subjectivist, structuralist and post-structuralist approaches to Mother Teresa’s celebrity status’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol. 20, No. 4, December 2006, pp. 541-57.

Alpion, G., ‘Media, ethnicity and patriotism: The Balkans “unholy war” for the appropriation of Mother Teresa’, Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans (now Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies) Vol. 6, No. 3, December 2004, pp. 227-43.

  • Book Reviews in Peer-Reviewed Journals:

Alpion, G., Review of: S. Schwartz The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony [New York and London: Doubleday, 2007] for Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, Vol. 40, Issue 2, June 2011, pp. 255-257.

Alpion, G., 'Satyajit Ray: ‘The Visionary Cinéaste', Review Article of: G. Roberge, Satyajit Ray [New Delhi: Manohar, 2007] for Scope: Journal of Film Studies, Issue 13, February 2009.

Alpion, G., Review of: G Roberge, 'Valuing Humanity in the New Media Environment', Cyberbani: Being a Human in the New Media Environment. [New Delhi: Anand Press] for The Review of Communication Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1. January 2009, pp. 58-59.

Alpion, G., Review of: G. Roberge, Satyajit Ray [New Delhi: Manohar, 2007] for Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, December 2008, Vol. 38, Issue 2, pp. 107-108.

Alpion, G., Review of: J. Pettifer and M. Vickers The Albanian Question: Reshaping the Balkans [London & New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007] for Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Vol. 9, No. 2, August 2007, pp. 204-6

Alpion, G., Review of: (ed) I. Pardo Between Morality and the Law: Corruption, Anthropology and Comparative Society [Aldershot, UK & Burlington, USA: Ashgate] for The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2006, pp. 231-2.

Alpion, G., Review of: P. Kola The Search for Greater Albania [London: Hurst, 2003] for Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, July 2004, pp. 413-14.


Sociology of media, religion, fame and nationality; political correctness in British/Western media; celebrity culture; film studies; Anglo-American studies; brain drain; media representation of asylum seekers and refugees in British and Western media; Mother Teresa; fame capital

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