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  1. Study at the OU
  2. Research degrees
  3. Research areas
  4. Psychology
  5. Narrative, discursive and psychosocial research

Narrative, discursive and psychosocial research

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The Department of Psychology’s work in this area has a distinguished history and the department has a world-class reputation for its contribution to the development of these psychological approaches. This research ranges from normative sexualities, health and illness, masculinities, femininities, and the discursive construction of identities; to alternative structures of intimate life in diverse situated contexts. A principal interest concerns theoretical and methodological innovation in psychosocial approaches and the psychodynamics of organisation and group processes. Other significant areas of work in this area address questions of ethnicity, racism and nationalism and migration and citizenship. There is a strong track record of externally-funded research and active links with colleagues across the Faculty of Social Sciences and the flagship Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG). The Psychosocial Research Programme within CCIG offers an institutional context for collaborative research activity and support.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, including some research methods. A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships

Potential research projects

  • Discursive construction of selves, subjectivities and experience, including mothering, nations and place
  • Narratives of relationships, normative and/or non-normative sexualities
  • Embodied and/or lived experience
  • History and memory
  • Femininities, masculinities, gendered experiences of racialised subjectivity
  • Conflict, prejudice and discrimination
  • Discourses of health and illness
  • The construction and practices of moralities and moral orders
  • Identity work around occupations and work e.g. in the creative industries
  • Media representations of children and parenting
  • Methodological developments in social psychology
  • History, theory and philosophy of psychology
  • The nature of folk psychology and its role in scientific psychological explanation
  • Psychology and law
  • Critical psychology
  • Discursive, phenomenological or psychoanalytic approaches to self, experience and embodiment
  • Dialogical Self, dialogical analysis; dialogues of mobility and non-mobility in the public sphere
  • Life course transitions and intimacy; alternative structures for intimacy
  • Social psychology, history and memory

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Emily Smith
+44 (0)1908 653947

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under ‘Your questions’ on the right of the page.