Skip to content

Toggle service links

Professor Paul Stenner

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Social Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • Psychology
  • paul.stenner

Professional biography

I have held a Chair in Social Psychology at The Open University (OU) since September 2011. Prior to that I was Professor of Psychosocial Studies in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton. I have also held lectureships and senior lectureships in Psychology at University College London, The University of Bath and The University of East London. I like to collaborate with colleagues nationally and internationally in various ways. I was a core member of the Beryl Curt Collective and am on the Steering Group of the UK Psychosocial Studies Network. As a lifelong Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, I spent a year (2002-2003) in the Department of Law (Institut für Arbeits-, Wirtschafts- und Zivilrecht) at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, working on emotional dimensions of human rights. I have held, or currently hold, honourary positions at the Department of Social and Biological Communication at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the University of Brighton, the University of Bath and University College London, and I have recently taught courses at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico.

At the OU I direct the Culture and Social Psychology Research Group  (CUSP).

Research interests

I have contributed to the development of a critical and reflexive approach to social psychology that takes process and relationality as keynotes at that is known as a transdisciplinary psychosocial approach.

The word 'transdisciplinary' here indicates an effort to move across, between and beyond disciplines whilst maintaining an integrative focus on the problem of experience. I think it is important that psychological processes (e.g. emotional experiences, memories, styles of thinking, subjective senses of identity) be understood as embodied processes that unfold in concrete historical and cultural contexts, and usually as part of networks of social communication. This makes history, anthropology, biology and so forth relevant, but in a way that emphasizes the experiential dimensions of their various subject matters. Transdisciplinarity does not deny the relevance of disciplines, but is about attending to the disciplinary borderlines, interfaces and other liminal spaces in which change and development occur.

The word 'psychosocial' marks a difference from the standard U.S. and European approach to social psychology. This standard approach is a disciplinary form of social technology that involves approaching problems of social influence, social perception, and social cognition as if they were describable and explainable as a causally related collection of discrete factors and variables. From a critical perspective, this standard approach can itself be seen as a rather unusual way of thinking, communicating and acting: a peculiar psychosocial form of life that is only understandable once we locate it in its various historical and cultural contexts. In other words, it should be part of the subject matter of a 'second order' social psychology (psychosocial studies) which affirms that a) all social issues and problems have psychological dimensions but that b) these dimensions need always to be addressed in relation to the historical, cultural and institutional circumstances of a social and material milieu. In this way we can begin to see how, particularly in modern neo-liberal societies, psychological knowledge and expertise has taken on a social life of its own, influencing the ways in which people make sense of their own subjectivity and relationships, and doing so in a way that can contribute directly to contemporary forms of governance and social regulation.

The bulk of my own contributions to this approach can be classified into three interdependent strands: empirical, theoretical and methodological.

Empirical research

Long ago in my doctoral research, the main empirical challenge I set myself was to identify the social intelligibility structures that variously pattern the understanding of jealousy and shape its experience. My continuing empirical concern with the emotional aspects of experience and communication is reflected in a series of articles on affectivity, love, and on the relationship between human rights and emotions. The rights and emotions focus continued a series of empirical studies on the ethical and aspirational aspects of subjectivity associated with contested concepts like authenticity, sincerity, maturity and independence. In each of these studies I was concerned with the ways in which experiences are negotiated and articulated in the context of historically occasioned modes of communication, often intricately associated with forms of governance. My recent studies of Human Rights, Quality of Life and Activity (as in 'active ageing') respond to the fact that, for better or for worse, these have become associated with globally dominant discourses and techniques of governance in recent years, and to the fact that the subjective dimension is key to their operation. In a series of studies exploring health issues ranging from IBS to sexual health and addiction, I have also made empirical contributions to an innovative experience-oriented critical health psychology. In collaboration with various others, I have recently received:

  • An AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme grant for a project entitled 'Writing the landscape of everyday life: lay narratives of the home garden' (with A. Church [PI] and M. Bhatti, awarded 2006)
  • A Joint Research Councils New Dynamics of Aging grant for a project entitled 'Psychometric testing of the multidimensional questionnaire and the causal model of quality of life under-pinning it' (with A. Bowling [PI], D. Banister, K. Sproston and H. Titherige, awarded 2007).
  • A Research for Patient Benefit Programme grant from the National Institute for Health Research (with Carol McCrum, Sussex Health Care Trust, and Ann Moore and Vinette Cross, University of Brighton). An exploration of self-care in chronic low-back disorder from the perspective of practitioners and patients: a Q methodological study (awarded 2011).
Theoretical research

The critique and reformulation of social psychology has demanded quite extensive engagement with social theory and philosophy. The theoretical framework I developed in the context of my PhD thesis drew heavily upon post-structuralism, hermeneutics and ordinary language philosophy. This framework was collaboratively elaborated in the books 'Textuality and Tectonics' and 'Social Psychology: a critical agenda'. Since that time my theoretical publications have concentrated on the process thinking of figures like Whitehead, James, Heidegger, Langer, Foucault, Deleuze, Stengers, Serres, Girard, and Luhmann. The process orientation I adopt stresses the relevance of history and future oriented creativity to social psychology, and also the multiplicity of perspectives in a shifting environment of power dynamics. A book with Professor Steve Brown assembles some of these theoretical resources into the form of a Psychology without Foundations (Sage, 2009). My theoretical development was greatly enriched thanks to funding from a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Fellowship (awarded in 2002) and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. My most recent theoretical book is called Liminality and Experience: A transdisciplinary approach to the psychosocial (Palgrave, 2017).

Methodological research

The task of developing a psychology in dialogue with the social sciences raises methodological issues, and I have devoted research energies to interpretive methods and forms of pattern analysis. In my PhD I invented a type of discursive analysis involving the decomposition of a given text into coherent themes reflecting dynamics of subject positioning as these unfold in social processes. Thematic Decomposition has since been taken up and used in fields such as health psychology, feminist psychology, the study of relationships, and sexuality studies. I have also written extensively on the use of Q methodology to identify (using an 'inverted' form of factor analysis) the range of discursive positions that can be adopted on a given issue, and to explore, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the structure and function of those accounts. My efforts to frame Q as a critical 'qualiquantological' mixed method grounded in process thinking have been quite influential amongst the growing Q methodology community.

Application

A 2017 Special Issue of the journal Theory and Psychology introduces the concept of a liminal hotspot introduced by Monica Greco, Johanna Motzkau and I. The volume contains a number of applications to real-life topics varying from cyberbullying in schools, the management of drug problems, and medical practice around so-called MUS (medically unexplained symptoms). A current application deals with the politics of Brexit. Contemporary professional and lay practice across a range of domains such as these struggles with the need to handle multiple rationalities informed by various disciplinary logics and forms of evidence, and to coordinate these in an ongoing pursuit of 'best practice'. The practical difficulty in handling and translating the often contradictory forms of evidence generated by such distinct empistemological realms is particularly compounded during circumstances in which specialist rationalities reach their limit.

When dealing with MUS, for instance, authoritative health knowledge reaches its limit and falters, and when dealing with child witnesses, the legal presupposition of an autonomously rational subject can run up against its limit. If specialist knowledge provides professionals with a procedural rationality ('know how') that supplies a pratical orientation for professionals and clients alike, then such limits constitute points of practical impasse or paralysis.

Under such circumstances, attributions of a psychological nature typically come to characterise, either explicitly or implicitly, the forms of communication at play in practice. The spectre of the 'suggestibility' of child-witnesses, for instance, echoes the medical concern with the 'psychogenic' causation of symptoms and the 'placebo' effects of treatments. But due to the necessarily liminal nature of the practice situation at play, such attributions are essentially contestable, unstable and usually controversial if not conflictual (their characteristic feature is subjectivity). Our programme of research thus focuses on fields of practice characterised by stalemates (paralysis) and controversy (polarisation) associated with certain distinctively contemporary forms of liminality that are haunted by 'subjectivity'. We adapt the anthropological concept of liminality to include contemporary situations characterised by 'gaps' in structures of practice: gaps, paradoxes and voids in (or during) which the procedural rationalities of the social structure falter and are held in suspense. Such gaps, however, are also implicated in creative pattern shifts during which new modes of practice and knowledge are invented and put to work. Our approach to concrete practice situations thus entails a focus upon the destructive /productive activity of gaps, paradoxes and voids as these are implicated in the undoing of existing structural arrangements, and in the genesis of novel structure.

PhD supervision

I have supervised 10 PhD students to succesful completion and have examined over 30.I am willing to consider taking on new PhD students working critically within psychology related fields (critical psychology, discursive psychology, psychosocial studies), and am particularly interested in empirical (typically, but not exclusively, qualitative) applications of process perspectives. Domains of particular interest to me are: affectivity and the emotions; genealogies of subjectivity; liminal experiences; health related issues (particularly 'contested' or unexplained illnesses).

Books

Stenner, P. (2017) Liminality and experience: A transdisciplinary approach to the psychosocial. London: Palgrave.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2012) Doing Q methodological research: Theory, method and interpretation. London: Sage.

Stenner, P. Cromby, J., Motzkau, J. & Yen, J. (2011) Theoretical psychology: global transformations and challenges. Captus: Concord, Ontario, Canada.

Brown, S. and Stenner, P. (2009) Psychology without foundations: history, philosophy and psychosocial theory. London: Sage.

Teo, T., Stenner, P., Rutherford, A., Park, E., & Baerveldt, C. (2009). Varieties of theoretical psychology: International philosophical and practical concerns. Captus: Concord, Ontario, Canada.

Greco, M. & Stenner, P. (2008) Emotions: a social science reader. London: Routledge.

Haralambos, M. Rice, D. Stenner, P. Brown, S. Foreman, N. Jones, S. Kinderman, P & Sharp, K. (2002) Psychology in Focus: A2 Level. Ormskirk, Lancs: Causeway Press Ltd.

Stainton Rogers, R. Stenner, P. Gleeson, K. and Stainton Rogers, W. (1995, re-printed 1996) Social Psychology: a critical agenda. Cambridge: Polity Press. 306 pages.

Curt, B. (1994) Textuality and Tectonics: troubling social and psychological science. Buckingham: Open University Press. 260 pages. (Note: Curt, B. is a pseudonym for a group of authors that include myself, Rex Stainton Rogers, Wendy Stainton Rogers, Kate Gleeson, Chris Eccleston, Marcia Worrell and Nick Lee)

Journal articles

Stenner, P, Greco, M. and Motzkau, J. (2017) Introduction to the special issue on liminal hotspots. Theory and Psychology, 27(2): 141-146.

Greco, M. and Stenner, P  (2017) From paradox to pattern shift: Conceptualising liminal hotspots and their affective dynamics. Theory and Psychology, 27(2): 147-166.

Kofoed, J. and Stenner, P. (2017) Suspended liminality: Vacillating affects in cyberbullying/research. Theory and Psychology, 27(2): 167-182.

Cross, V. McGowan, J. McCrum, C. Defever, E. Stenner, Lloyd, P. Poole, R. Moore, A. P. (2016) “It Sounds Like a Drama:” Hearing Stories of Chronic Low Back Pain Through Poetic (Re)presentation. The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, November 30, 2016.https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/journalofhumanitiesinrehabilitation/files/2016/12/JHR_Fall_2016_Cross-2.pdf

Stenner, P. (2016) On standards and values: between finite actuality and infinite possibility. Theory and Psychology, 26 (2): 144-162.

Stenner, P. Cross, V. McCrum, C. McGowan, J. Defever, E. Lloyd, P. Poole, R. & Moore, Ann. (2015) Self-management of chronic low back pain: Four viewpoints from people with pain and healthcare providers Health Psychology Open, 2(2):1-11. DOI: 10.1177/2055102915615337

McCrum, C. Stenner, P. Defever, E. Cross, V. McGowan, J. Moore, A. P. (2015) Q-Methodology as a valuable research approach in physiotherapy: an illustration using a study of self-management in chronic low back pain. Physiotherapy, 101 (1): e973-974 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2015.03.1830

Hasenbring, M and Stenner, P. (2015). Exploring cognitive factors in pain persistence behavior: some methodological and theoretical considerations—a commentary on a study by Andrews et al. Pain, 156: 1178-1179.

Stenner, P. (2014). Psychosocial: qu'est-ce que c'est? Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, 8, (1): 205-216.

Hanna, P. Johnson, K. Stenner, P. and Adams, M. (2014). Foucault, sustainable tourism, and relationships with the environment (human and nonhuman). Geojournal, (2015) GeoJournal, 80 (2), pp. 301-314. April. DOI: 10.1007/s10708-014-9557-7

Greco, M. and Stenner, P. (2013). Happiness and the art of life: diagnosing the psychopolitics of wellbeing. Health, Culture and Society, 5(1): 1-19.

Watts, S, and Stenner, P (2013). Definitions of love in a sample of British women: An empirical study using Q methodology. British Journal of Social Psychology, Article first published online: 11 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12048

Stenner, P. and Moreno, Eduardo (2013). Liminality and affectivity: the case of deceased organ donation. Subjectivity, 6(3) 229–253. doi:10.1057/sub.2013.9.

Stenner, P. and Greco, Monica (2013). Affectivity. Informática na Educaçao: Teoria e Prática, 16 (1) 49-70. http://seer.ufrgs.br/InfEducTeoriaPratica/article/view/36925

Langdridge, D. Barker, M. Reavey, P. and Stenner, P. (2012). Becoming a subject: a memory work study of the experience of romantic jealousy. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(2), article no. 5.Stenner, P. Church, A. & Bhatti, M. (2012) 'Human–landscape relations and the occupation of space: experiencing and expressing domestic gardens'. Environment and Planning A 44(7) 1712 – 1727

McFarland, J., Hezseltine, L., Serpell, M., Eccleston, C. & Stenner, P. (2011) An investigation of constructions of justice and injustice in chronic pain: A Q-methodological approach. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(6): 873-883.

Stenner, P. (2011) James and Whitehead: Assemblage and systematization of a deeply empiricist mosaic philosophy. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 3 (1): 101-130. http://lnx.journalofpragmatism.eu/

Apfelbacher, C., Hankins, M., Stenner, P., Frew, T., Smith, H. (2011): Measuring quality of life in asthma: review. Allergy, 66 (4): 439-457.

Stenner, P. (2011) Subjective dimensions of human rights: What do ordinary people understand by 'human rights'. International Journal of Human Rights 15 (8): 1215-1233. ISSN 1364-2987

Stenner, P., McFarquhar, T. & Bowling, A. (2011) Older People and 'Active Ageing': Subjective aspects of ageing actively and becoming old. Journal of Health Psychology, , 16(3), pp. 467-477. ISSN (print) 1359-1053

Bowling, A. & Stenner, P. (2011) Which measure of quality of life performs best in older age? A comparison of the OPQOL, CASPE-19, WHOQOL-OLD. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65 (3): 273-280.

Claremont, A. Church, A. Bhatti, M. and Stenner, P. (2010) Going public: landscaping everyday life, Cultural Geographies, 17 (2): 277-282.

Farrimond, H. Joffe, H. and Stenner, P. (2010) A Q-methodological study of 'smoking identities' amongst UK smokers. Psychology and Health, 25(8): 979-998.

Stenner, P. (2009) On the actualities and possibilities of constructionism: towards deep empiricism. Human Affairs, 19, 194-210

Stenner, P. (2009) Psychology, religion, and world loyalty. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 29 (2), 102-107.

Dancey, C.P., Stenner, P., Attree, E.A., Coogan, J., Kovàcs, A., & Bàrdos, G. (2009). Irritable bowel syndrome Hungary: How do patients view their illness? Clinical and Experimental Medical Journal, 3(3), 487–498.

Stenner, P. (2009). Between method and ology: Introduction to special issue. Operant Subjectivity, 32, 1-4.

Stenner, P. (2009) Q as a constructivist methodology. Operant Subjectivity, 32, 46-69.

Bhatti, M. Church, A. Claremont, A. and Stenner, P. (2009) 'I love being in the garden': enchanting encounters in everyday life. Social & Cultural Geography, 10(1): 61-76.

Stenner, P. & Taylor, D. (2008) Psychosocial welfare: reflections on an emerging field. Critical Social Policy, 28 (4):415-437.

Stenner, P. Barnes, M & Taylor, D. (2008) Psychosocial welfare: contributions to an emerging field. Critical Social Policy, 28 (4): 411-414.

Stenner, P. (2008) A.N. Whitehead and subjectivity. Subjectivity: International Journal of Critical Psychology, 22 (1): 90-109.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2007). Q methodology: The inverted factor technique. Irish Journal of Psychology, 28 (1-2):63-75.

Stenner, P. (2007) Non-foundational criticality? On the need for a process ontology of the psychosocial. Critical Social Studies: Outlines, 9 (2): 44-55.

Stenner, P. Bianchi, G. Popper, M. & Pujol, J. (2006) The Construction of Sexual Relationships: A study of the views of young people in Catalunia, England and Slovakia. Journal of Health Psychology, 11 (5): 669-684.

Stenner, P. (2005) An outline of an autopoietic systems approach to emotion. Cybernetics and Human Knowing, 12 (4): 8-22.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2005) The subjective experience of partnership love: a Q methodological study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 44: 1-26.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2005) Doing Q methodology: theory, method and interpretation. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2: 67-91.

Lunt, P. & Stenner, P. (2005) The Jerry Springer Show as an Emotional Public Sphere. Media, Culture and Society. 27 (1): 59-81.

Stenner, P. (2005) Emotions and rights, or: on the importance of having the right emotions. History and Philosophy of Psychology, 7 (1).

Martin, A. & Stenner, P. (2004) Talking about drug use: What are we (and our participants) doing in qualitative research? International Journal of Drug Policy, 15: 395-405.

Stenner, P. (2004) Psychology and the Political: On the psychology of natural right and the political origins of modern psychology. International Journal of Critical Psychology, 12: 14-37.

Stenner, P. (2004) Is Autopoietic Systems Theory Alexithymic? Luhmann and the socio-psychology of emotions. Soziale Systeme, 10 (1): 159-185.

Stenner, P. (2004) Emotionale Dimensionen des Rechts. Forum Kritische Psychologie, 47: 39-55.

Stenner, P. (2004) On reaching the parts that quantitative researchers cannot: Commentary on Sage, R. (2004): 'How interviews with adults who stammer inform research directions'. Stammering Research, 1 (3): 290-292.

Stenner, P. Cooper, D. & Skevington, S. (2003) Putting the Q into Quality of Life: The identification of subjective constructions of health-related quality of life using Q methodology. Social Science and Medicine, 57: 2161-2172.

Stenner, P. (2003) Dostoevsky and the Spirit of Critical Psychology. International Journal of Critical Psychology. 8: 96-128.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2003). Q methodology, quantum theory & subjectivity. Operant Subjectivity, 26 (4): 155-73.

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2003). On normativity, meaninglessness and the centrality of the self: a reply to the comments of Good and Brown. Operant Subjectivity, 26 (4): 182-89.

Stenner, P. (2002) Unsettling Social Psychology. History and Philosophy of Psychology, 4 (1), 43-44.

Stenner, P. (2002) Social Psychology and Babel. History and Philosophy of Psychology. 4 (1), 45-57.

Stenner, P. (2002) Words for Rex: Comentario a: Ibáñez Gracia, Tomás; Íñiguez, Lupicinio. Telling stories about story-tellers. Athenea Digital, 1, junio 2002.

Brown, S. and Stenner, P. (2001) Being Affected: Spinoza and the psychology of emotion. International Journal of Group Tensions, 30 (1): 81-105.

Stenner, P., Dancey, C. and Watts, S. (2000) The Understanding of their Illness amongst People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: a Q methodological study. Social Science and Medicine, 51: 439-452.

Dancey, C. and Stenner, P. (2000) IBS - One Voice or Many? The Journal of the IBS Network,37: 4-5.

Stenner, P. and Marshall, H. (1999) On Developmentality: sesearching the varied meanings of 'independence' and 'maturity' extant amongst a sample of young people in East London. Journal of Youth Studies, 2 (3): 297-316.

Stenner, P. with Bianchi, G., Popper, M., Lukšík, I., and Superkova, M. (1999) The Construction of Sexuality amongst Young Slovak and British People. Ceskoslovenská Psychologie, 43(3): 231-252. (In Czechoslovakian).

Marshall, H., Stenner, P. and Lee, H. (1999) Young People's Accounts of Personal Relationships in a Multi-cultural East London Environment: questions of community, diversity and inequality. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 9: 155-171.

Curt, B.C. (1999) Rex Stainton Rogers, 1942-1999: A Celebration of his Contribution to Critical Psychology. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 9 (1).

Stenner, P. (1999) Sincerity, Authenticity and Aspirational Models. Changes - An International Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, 17 (4): 249-264.

Stenner, P. and Watts, S. (1998) [Re]Searching for Love: subjectivity and the ontology of the Q factor. Operant Subjectivity, 21 (1/2): 27-48.

Woollett,A. Marshall, H. and Stenner, P. (1998) Young Women's Accounts of Sexual Reproduction and Sexual Reproductive Health. Journal of Health Psychology, 3 (3): 369-381.

Stenner, P. and Brown, S. (1998) Psychology as History and Philosophy: implications for research. The Psychologist, April, 6-9.

Stenner, P. and Stainton Rogers, R. (1998) Jealousy as a Manifold of Divergent Understandings: a Q methodological investigation. The European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 71-94.

Stenner, P. (1998) Heidegger and the Subject: questioning concerning psychology. Theory and Psychology, 8 (1): 59-77.

Stenner, P. (1997) Animals from the Underground. Manifold, 4 (3/4): 45-56.

Stenner, P. (1996) Shared Pathways of Heidegger and Foucault, Manifold, 3 (1/2): 12-17. 33.

Stenner, P. and Marshall, H. (1995) A Q Methodological Study of Rebelliousness, The European Journal of Social Psychology, 25: 621-636.

Stenner, P. and Marshall, H. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis? Discourse and Society, 6: 568-70.

Stenner, P. (1994) Theo-ry is dead? Manifold, 1: 67-70. 17.

Curt, B. (1994) What do You Get When you Cross a Scapegoat with a Trojan Horse: a special edition? Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 4: 309-312

Stenner, P. and Eccleston, C. (1994) On the Textuality of Being: towards an invigorated social constructionism, Theory and Psychology, Vol.4(1): 85-103.

Stenner, P. (1993) Wittgenstein and the Textuality of Emotion, Practice, 9 (2): 29-35.

Chapters in books

Stenner, P. (2017) Being in the zone and vital subjectivity: On the liminal sources of sport and art. In T. Jordan, K. Woodward & B. McClure (Eds) Culture, Identity and Intense Performativity: Being in the Zone (Antinomies). London: Routledge.

Stenner, P. (2016). Liminalität, Un-Wohl-Gefühle und die affektive Wende. In E. Mixa, S.M. Pritz, M. Tumeltshammer, and M. Greco (eds). Un-Wohl-Gefühle: Eine Kultureanalyse Gegenwärtiger Befindichkeiten. Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag. 

Stenner, P. (2015). Integrating and integrated experiences: Proust’s art of life and van Gennep’s rites of passage as scenes for ‘integrating experiences’ à la Zittoun and Gillespie. In B. Wagoner, N. Chaudhary and P. Hviid (Eds), Integrating experiences: Body and mind moving between contexts. Niels Bohr Professorship Lecture in Cultural Psychology. Vol. 2.  Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Stenner, P (2015) A transdisciplinary psychosocial approach. In K. Slaney, J Martin and J Sugarman (Eds) The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: Methods, Approaches and New Directions for Social Science. New York: Wiley.

Stenner, P. (2015). Emotion: being moved beyond the mainstream. In Ian Parker (Ed) Handbook of Critical Psychology. London: Routledge, pp.43-51.

Stenner, P (2014). Transdisciplinarity. In: Teo, Thomas, (ed.) Encyclopedia of critical psychology. pp. 1987-1993. Springer, New York, USA. ISBN 9781461455844

Stenner, P. (2014). Doing Q Methodology: Theory, Method and Interpretation. In Brendan Gough (Ed) (2014) Qualitative Research in Psychology. London: Sage.

Stenner, Paul (2013). Human rights between brute fact and articulated aspiration. In: Madsen, Mikael Rask and Verschraegen, Gert eds. Making Human Rights Intelligible: Towards a Sociology of Human Rights. Oñati International Series in Law and Society (1). Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 105–125.

Stenner, P (2013) Foundation by Exclusion: Jealousy and Envy, in Bernhard Malkmus and Ian Cooper (Eds) Dialectic and Paradox: configurations of the third in modernity, Oxford: Lang.

Stenner, P. (2012) 'Pattern'. In Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford (Eds) Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social, London: Routledge.

Stenner, P. (2011) Psychology in the key of life: deep empiricism and process ontology. In P. Stenner, J. Cromby, J. Motzkau, & J. Yen (Eds) Theoretical psychology: global transformations and challenges. Captus: Concord, Ontario, Canada.

Stenner, P., Watts, S. & Worrell, M. (2008) Q methodology, in C. Willig and W. Stainton Rogers (eds) The Sage handbook of qualitative research in psychology, pp215-239. London: Sage

Stenner, P. (2005) Emotions and rights: On the interpenetration of the psychic and the social. In A. Gülerce, I. Steauble, A. Hofmeister, G. Saunders and J. Kaye (Eds), Theoretical Psychology. Toronto: Captus Press.

Stenner, P. & Stainton Rogers, R. (2004) Q methodology and qualiquantology: the example of discriminating between emotions. In Todd, Z., Nerlich, B., McKeown, S. & Clarke, D.D. (Eds) Mixing methods in psychology: the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in theory and practice. New York: Psychology Press.

Stenner, P. (2002) Relationships. In M. Haralambos et al (eds) Psychology in Focus. Causeway Press.

Stenner, P. (2002) Issues in Psychology. In M. Haralambos et al (eds) Psychology in Focus. Causeway Press.

Stenner, P. (2002) Debates in Psychology. In M. Haralambos et al (eds) Psychology in Focus. Causeway Press.

Stenner, P. (2002) Perspectives in Psychology. In M. Haralambos et al (eds) Psychology in Focus. Causeway Press.

Lee, N. and Stenner, P. (1999) Who Pays? Can we pay them back? In J. Law and J. Hassard. (Eds.) Actor Network Theory and After. Sociological Review Monographs. Oxford: Blackwell.

Curt, B.C. (1999) Discourse Analysis. In K. McGowan (ed) Year's work 96: Critical and cultural theory 6. Oxford: Blackwell.

Marshall, H. and Stenner, P. (1997) Friends and Lovers, in J. Roche and Tucker, S. (eds) Youth in Society. London: Sage.

Stenner, P. (1993) Discoursing Jealousy, in Burman, E. and Parker, I. (eds) Discourse Analytic Research: repertoires and readings of texts in action. London: Routledge.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Teaching interests

Module Team Member of Investigating Psychology 3 (DE300) and Advancing Social Psychology (DD317).

Impact and engagement

An accessible introduction to my work was presented in the form of an interview with the Editor of The Psychology: Stenner, P and Sutton, J. (2018) ‘This incitement to “become different” can be both thrilling and terrifying’: Psychologist Editor Jon Sutton meets social psychologist Professor Paul Stenner. The Psychologist  31, March 2018: 50-53.

Nominated academic (NA) on the BBC4/OU documentary Freud: Genius of the Modern World (BBC4 June 2016). 

Expert appearence on the South Bank Show (2006) and on Radio 4 'Emotional rollercoaster'.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CCIG: Psycho-Social ProgrammeProgrammeFaculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Social Psychology Research GroupGroupFaculty of Social Sciences

 

Externally funded projects

Narratives of ADHD: A qualitative study of women’s narrative accounts of living with ADHD

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Apr/201531/Mar/2016BRITAC British Academy
Taking a qualitative, discursive approach to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder we focus on the narratives of women in the UK who have either a formal, or self defined, diagnosis of ADHD. Understandings and patterns of diagnosis of ADHD can be seen to be gendered, with the assumption that it affects boys and men. The study will contribute to knowledge on the lives of girls and women with ADHD, examining women’s retrospective accounts to make sense of their transition through childhood to become adults with ADHD. The project is an exploratory study to collect a new, small corpus of qualitative data on women with ADHD and to identify issues to be explored in a future larger scale research project. The project aims to carry out a discursive analysis of women’s narratives to: • Investigate the identity work of women in relation to their experiences of living with ADHD • Explore (possible) differences in the way women assumed an ADHD identity in either childhood or adulthood; in order to examine how ADHD impacted upon their childhood and the role of diagnosis in childhood, later in adulthood or self-identification • Explore how women account retrospectively for ADHD in their childhood and how they construe their transitions to adulthood This will be of interest to qualitative researchers in ADHD, gender and disability studies and practitioners in health, social care and education.

Publications

Introduction to the Special Issue on Liminal Hotspots (2017-04)
Stenner, Paul; Greco, Monica and Motzkau, Johanna
Theory and Psychology, 27(2) ((In Press))
From paradox to pattern shift: Conceptualising liminal hotspots and their affective dynamics (2017-04)
Greco, Monica and Stenner, Paul
Theory and Psychology, 27(2) ((In Press))
Suspended liminality: Vacillating affects in cyberbullying/research (2017-04)
Kofoed, J. and Stenner, Paul
Theory and Psychology, 27(2) ((In Press))
On standards and values: Between finite actuality and infinite possibility (2016-04-01)
Stenner, Paul
Theory & Psychology, 26(2) (pp. 144-162)
Self-management of chronic low back pain: Four viewpoints from patients and healthcare providers (2015-11-25)
Stenner, Paul; Cross, Vinnette; McCrum, Carol; McGowan, Janet; Defever, Emmanuel; Lloyd, Phil; Poole, Robert and Moore, Ann P.
Health Psychology Open, 2(2) (pp. 1-11)
Exploring cognitive factors in pain persistence behavior: some methodological and theoretical considerations — a commentary on a study by Andrews et al. (2015-07)
Hasenbring, Monika and Stenner, Paul
Pain, 156(7) (pp. 1178-1179)
Foucault, sustainable tourism, and relationships with the environment (human and nonhuman) (2015-04)
Hanna, Paul; Johnson , Katherine; Stenner, Paul and Adams , Matt
GeoJournal, 80(2) (pp. 301-314)
Psychosocial: qu'est-ce que c'est? (2014-11)
Stenner, Paul
Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, 8(1) (pp. 205-216)
Liminality and affectivity: the case of deceased organ donation (2013-09)
Stenner, Paul and Moreno, Eduardo
Subjectivity, 6, Article SUB2012-PSYCHOSOC-0013OAR(3) (pp. 229-253)
Affectivity (2013-06)
Stenner, Paul and Greco, Monica
Informática na Educaçao: Teoria e Prática, 16, Article 1(1) (pp. 49-70)
Definitions of love in a sample of British women: An empirical study using Q methodology (2013)
Watts, Simon and Stenner, Paul
British Journal of Social Psychology ((Early View))
Happiness and the art of life: diagnosing the psychopolitics of wellbeing (2013)
Greco, M. and Stenner, P.
Health, Culture and Society, 5(1) (pp. 1-19)
Human-landscape relations and the occupation of space: experiencing and expressing domestic gardens (2012)
Stenner, Paul; Church, Andrew and Bhatti, Mark
Environment and Planning A, 44(7) (pp. 1712-1727)
Becoming a subject: a memory work study of the experience of romantic jealousy (2012)
Langdridge, Darren; Barker, Meg; Reavey, Paula and Stenner, Paul
Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13, Article 5(2)
Subjective dimensions of human rights: what do ordinary people understand by ‘human rights’ (2011-10-13)
Stenner, Paul
The International Journal of Human Rights, 15(8) (pp. 1215-1233)
An investigation of constructions of justice and injustice in chronic pain: a Q-methodological approach (2011-09)
McParland, Joanna; Hezseltine, Louisa; Serpell, Michael; Eccleston, Christopher and Stenner, Paul
Journal of Health Psychology, 16(6) (pp. 873-883)
Measuring asthma-specific quality of life in asthma: structured review (2011-04)
Apfelbacher, C. J.; Hankins, M.; Stenner, P.; Frew, A. J. and Smith, H. E.
Allergy, 66(4) (pp. 439-457)
James and Whitehead: Assemblage and Systematization of a Deeply Empiricist Mosaic Philosophy (2011)
Stenner, Paul
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 3(1) (pp. 101-130)
Older people and ‘active ageing’: subjective aspects of ageing actively (2011)
Stenner, Paul; McFarquhar, Tara and Bowling, Ann
Journal of Health Psychology, 16(3) (pp. 467-477)
Which measure of quality of life performs best in older age? A comparison of the OPQOL, CASPE-19, WHOQOL-OLD (2011)
Bowling, Ann and Stenner, Paul
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65(3) (pp. 273-280)
Going public: landscaping everyday life (2010)
Claremont, Amanda; Church, Andrew; Bhatti, Mark and Stenner, Paul
Cultural Geographies, 17(2) (pp. 277-282)
A Q-methodological study of ‘smoking identities’ amongst UK smokers (2010)
Farrimond, Hannah; Joffe, Helene and Stenner, Paul
Psychology & Health, 25(8) (pp. 979-998)
Q methodology as a constructivist methodology (2009-07)
Stenner, Paul
Operant subjectivity: the international journal of Q methodology, 32(1-3) (pp. 46-69)
On the actualities and possibilities of constructionism: towards deep empiricism (2009-06)
Stenner, Paul
Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly, 19(2) (pp. 194-210)
Irritable bowel syndrome in Hungary: how do patients view their illness? (2009)
Dancey, Christine P.; Stenner, Paul; Attree, Elizabeth A.; Coogan, Joy; Kovács, Ágota and Bàrdos, György
Clinical and Experimental Medical Journal, 3(3) (pp. 487-498)
Psychology, religion, and world loyalty (2009)
Stenner, Paul
Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 29(2) (pp. 102-107)
'I love being in the garden': enchanting encounters in everyday life (2009)
Bhatti, Mark; Church, Andrew; Claremont, Amanda and Stenner, Paul
Social & Cultural Geography, 10(1) (pp. 61-76)
Psychosocial welfare: reflections on an emerging field (2008)
Stenner, Paul and Taylor, David
Critical Social Policy, 28(4) (pp. 415-437)
A.N. Whitehead and subjectivity (2008)
Stenner, P.
Subjectivity, 22(1) (pp. 90-109)
Non-foundational criticality? On the need for a process ontology of the psychosocial (2007)
Stenner, P.
Outlines: Critical practice studies, 9(2) (pp. 44-55)
Q methodology: the inverted factor technique (2007)
Watts, Simon and Stenner, Paul
Irish Journal of Psychology, 28(1-2) (pp. 63-75)
Constructions of sexual relationships: a study of the views of young people in Catalunia, England and Slovakia and their health implications (2006-09)
Stenner, Paul H. D.; Bianchi, Gabriel; Popper, Miroslav; Supeková, Marianna; Lukšík, Ivan and Pujol, Joan
Journal of Health Psychology, 11(5) (pp. 669-684)
An outline of an autopoietic systems approach to emotion (2005)
Stenner, Paul
Cybernetics and Human Knowing, 12(4) (pp. 8-22)
Liminality and experience: a transdisciplinary approach to the psychosocial (2018-02-14)
Stenner, Paul
Studies in the Psychosocial (STIP)
ISBN : ISBN 978-1-137-27210-2 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London
Doing Q Methodological Research: Theory, Method and Interpretation (2012-03)
Watts, Simon and Stenner, Paul
ISBN : 9781849204149 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : London
Psychology without Foundations: History, Philosophy and Psychosocial Theory (2009)
Brown, Steve D. and Stenner, Paul
ISBN : 978-0-7619-7227-3 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : London
Being in the zone and vital subjectivity: On the liminal sources of sport and art (2017-01-19)
Stenner, Paul
In: Jordan, Tim; McClure, Brigid and Woodward, Kath eds. Culture, Identity and Intense Performativity: Being in the Zone. Innovations in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative Arts (4) (pp. 10-31)
ISBN : 978-1-138-18592-0 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Liminality: Un-Wohl-Gefühle und der affective turn (2016-01-01)
Stenner, Paul
In: Mixa, Elisabeth; Pritz, Sarah Miriam; Tumeltshammer, Markus and Greco, Monica eds. Un-Wohl-Gefühle Eine Kulturanalyse gegenwärtiger Befindlichkeiten (pp. 45-68)
ISBN : 978-3-8376-2630-8 | Publisher : transcript Verlag | Published : Bielefeld (Germany)
Affectivität, Liminalität and Psychologie ohne Basis. (2016-01)
Stenner, Paul
In: Straub, Jürgen; Sorensen, Estrid; Chakkarath, Pradeep and Rebane, Gala eds. Kulturpsychologie, Ästhetik und Postmoderne. Hans-Kilian-Vorlesungen zur sozialund kulturwissenschaftlichen Psychologie und integrativen Anthropologie ((In press))
ISBN : 978-3-8379-2275-2 | Publisher : Psychosozial Verlag | Published : Giessen
A Transdisciplinary Psychosocial Approach (2015-02-26)
Stenner, Paul
In: Martin, Jack; Sugarman, Jeff and Slaney, Kathleen eds. The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: Methods, Approaches and New Directions for Social Science. (pp. 308-323)
ISBN : 9781118748336 | Publisher : Wiley Blackwell | Published : Chichester
Integrating and integrated experiences: Proust’s art of life and van Gennep’s rites of passage as scenes for ‘integrating experiences’ à la Zittoun and Gillespie. (2015)
Stenner, Paul
In: Wagoner, Brady; Chaudhary , Nandita and Hviid , Pernille eds. Integrating Experiences: Body And Mind Moving Between Contexts. Niels Bohr Professorship Lecture in Cultural Psychology (2)
ISBN : 978-1-68123-008-5 | Publisher : Information Age Publishers | Published : Charlotte, NC
Emotion: Being moved beyond the mainstream (2015)
Stenner, Paul
In: Parker, Ian ed. Handbook of Critical Psychology. Routledge International Handbooks (pp. 43-51)
ISBN : 9781848722187 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Hove
Transdisciplinarity (2014)
Stenner, Paul
In: Teo , Thomas ed. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology (pp. 1987-1993)
ISBN : 978-1-4614-5582-0 | Publisher : Springer | Published : New York
Human rights between brute fact and articulated aspiration (2013-03)
Stenner, Paul
In: Madsen, Mikael Rask and Verschraegen, Gert eds. Making Human Rights Intelligible: Towards a Sociology of Human Rights. Oñati International Series in Law and Society (1) (pp. 105-125)
ISBN : 9781849463959 | Publisher : Hart Publishing | Published : Oxford
Foundation by exclusion: jealousy and envy (2013)
Stenner, Paul
In: Malkmus, Barhard and Cooper, Ian eds. Dialectic and Paradox: Configurations of the Third in Modernity (pp. 53-80)
ISBN : 978-3-0343-0714-7 | Publisher : Lang | Published : Oxford
Pattern (2012)
Stenner, Paul
In: Lury, Celia and Wakeford, Nina eds. Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social. Culture, Economy and the Social (pp. 136-146)
ISBN : 978-0-415-57481-5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Psychology in the key of life: deep empiricism and process ontology (2011)
Stenner, Paul
In: Stenner, Paul; Cromby, John; Motzkau, Johanna; Yen, Jeffrey and Haosheng, Yu eds. Theoretical psychology: Global transformations and challenges (pp. 48-58)
ISBN : 978-1-55322-240-8 | Publisher : Captus | Published : Ontario, Canada
Q Methodology (2008)
Stenner, P.; Watts, S. and Worrell, M.
In: Willig, C. and Stainton Rogers, W. eds. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology (pp. 215-239)
ISBN : 9781412907804 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : London
Theoretical psychology: global transformations and challenges (2011)
Stenner, Paul; Cromby, John; Motzkau, Johanna; Yen, Jeffrey and Haosheng, Yu eds.
ISBN : 978-1-55322-240-8 | Publisher : Captus | Published : Ontario, Canada
Varieties of Theoretical Psychology : International Philosophical and Practical Concerns (2009)
Teo, Thomas; Stenner, Paul and Rutherford, Alexandra eds.
ISBN : 978-1-55322-206-4 | Publisher : Captus: Concord | Published : Ontario, Canada
Emotions: A Social Science Reader (2008-12-01)
Greco, Monica and Stenner, Paul eds.
Routledge Student Readers
ISBN : 978-0-415-42564-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Between method and ology: introduction to special issue (2009-07)
Stenner, Paul
Operant Subjectivity, 2009, 32
Editorial introduction: psychosocial welfare: contributions to an emerging field (2008-11)
Stenner, Paul; Barnes, Marian and Taylor, David
Critical Social Policy, 2008, 28(4), pp 411-414