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Professor Steve Brown

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • steven.brown

Professional biography

Steve is Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at The Open University. Prior to joining in 2018, he was a Professor at the University of Leicester for eleven years. Before this, he lectured at Loughborough University and Keele University, and held a Visiting Professorship at the Universiteit voor Humanistiek in the Netherlands. Steve is Associate Editor (Monographs) for The Sociological Review and co-editor of Memory Studies. He is the author of three books and over one hundred peer reviewed articles. Steve has received research funding from European Commission, ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, British Council, Leverhulme Trust and other charity bodies. He has acted as a reviewer and rapporteur on a number of EC funding schemes, and for numerous UK and other European research councils. 

Research interests

Steve's research has two major threads. He has developed a practice-based approach to the study of remembering in organizational and institutional contexts that focuses on how memories of specific events and persons are recruited by organizational processes and the ways in which this shapes relationships between stakeholders (e.g. patients and doctors; social work professionals and children; carers and elderly clients). He is particularly interested in ‘vulnerable’ populations whose memories are often treated as problematic, and a subset of ‘difficult’ memories that he and Paula Reavey have conceptualised as ‘vital memories’. He also studies mental health service users experiences of care provision across inpatient and community services. He has conducted a number of studies of secure mental health settings, with a concern for how the space of detention shapes subjectivity, relationships, sexuality and overall recovery. He is also known for his contribution to contemporary theorising in management and organization studies, especially in relation to the application of process philosophy. He is the author of Vital Memory and Affect: Living With A Difficult Past (2015; Routledge; with Paula Reavey), Psychology Without Foundations: History, Philosophy and Psychosocial Theory (2009; Sage; with Paul Stenner) and The Social Psychology of Experience: Studies in Remembering and Forgetting (2005; Sage; with David Middleton). 

Teaching interests

Steve has over twenty five years of experience of teaching in Higher Education across a number of social science areas (Management Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work) and at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate provision. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Steve has taught courses and workshops in a wide range of European, African, Asian and South American countries. 


Vital spaces and mental health. (2019-07-09)
Brown, Steven D and Reavey, Paula
Medical humanities, 45(2) (pp. 131-140)
Comparison and evaluation in memory studies (2019-04-01)
Brown, Steven D.
Memory Studies, 12(2) (pp. 113-116)
Affect theory and the concept of atmosphere (2019-04)
Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; McGrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 20(1) (pp. 5-24)
The atmosphere of the ward: Attunements and attachments of everyday life for patients on a medium-secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-03-01)
Kanyeredzi, Ava; Brown, Steven D.; McGrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
The Sociological Review, 67(2) (pp. 444-466)
Agents and spectres: Life-space on a medium secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-01-31)
Reavey, P.; Brown, S. D.; Kanyeredzi, A.; McGrath, L. and Tucker, I.
Social Science & Medicine, 220 (pp. 273-282)
Living ‘in between’ outside and inside: The forensic psychiatric unit as an impermanent assemblage (2019-01-15)
Tucker, Ian M.; Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; McGrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 55 (pp. 29-36)
Embodiment and Place in Autobiographical Remembering: A Relational-Material Approach (2018-08-15)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 25(7/8) (pp. 200-224)
Deleuze, Spinoza and Psychology: Notes towards an ‘experience ecology’ (2018)
Brown, Steven D.
Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 14 (pp. 51-66)
Dark Organizational Theory (2017-06-01)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(3) (pp. 280-295)
False memories of epistemic consensus (2017-06-01)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Culture & Psychology, 23(2) (pp. 171-185)
Legal professionals and witness statements from people with a suspected mental health diagnosis (2017-05)
Reavey, Paula; Wilcock, Rachel; Brown, Steven D.; Batty, Richard and Fuller, Serina
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 46(3) (pp. 94-102)
Violence and creation: The recovery of the body in the work of Elaine Scarry (2016-12-01)
Brown, Steven D.
Subjectivity, 9(4) (pp. 439-458)
Undecided life: Standards, subjects and sovereignty in compensating victims of the war on terror (2016-04)
Allen, Matthew and Brown, Steven D.
Theory and Psychology, 26(2) (pp. 263-283)
Memorial meshwork: The making of the commemorative space of the Hyde Park 7/7/ Memorial (2016-01-01)
Allen, Matthew and Brown, Steven D.
Organization, 23(1) (pp. 10-28)
Vital Memory and Affect: Living With A Difficult Past (2015)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
ISBN : 9780415683999 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Psychology Without Foundations: History, Philosophy & Psychosocial Theory (2009)
Brown, Steven D. and Stenner, Paul
ISBN : 9780761972266 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
The Social Psychology of Experience: Studies in Remembering and Forgetting (2005)
Middleton, David and Brown, Steven D.
ISBN : 9780803977563 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Bursting Bubbles of Interiority: Exploring space in experiences of distress and rough sleeping for newly homeless people (2018-08-29)
McGrath, Laura; Weaver, Tassie; Reavey, Paula and Brown, Steven D.
In: McGrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula eds. The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications (pp. 135-148)
ISBN : 9781138643932 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Rethinking function, self and culture in ‘difficult’ Autobiographical Memories (2018-01-15)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Wagoner, Brady ed. Handbook of Culture and Memory (pp. 159-181)
ISBN : 9780190230821 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Contextualising Autobiographical Remembering: An expanded view of memory (2017-12-07)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Mead, Michelle L.; Harris, Celia B.; Van Bergen, Penny; Sutton, John and Barnier, Amanda J. eds. Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research, and Applications (pp. 197-215)
ISBN : 9780198737865 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Social Psychology (2017-06-27)
Brown, Steven D. and Locke, Abigail
In: Willig, Carla and Stainton Rogers, Wendy eds. Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 417-430)
ISBN : 9781473925212 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
They have escaped the weight of darkness: The problem space of Michel Serres (2016-06-13)
Brown, Steven D.
In: Steyaert, Chris; Beyes, Timon and Parker, Martin eds. The Routledge Companion to Reinventing Management Education. Routledge Companions (pp. 144-160)
ISBN : 9780415727372 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Institutional Forgetting/Forgetting Institutions: Space and Memory in Secure Forensic Psychiatric Care (2016-03-09)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Weik, Elke and Walgenbach, Peter eds. Institutions Inc. (pp. 7-29)
ISBN : 978-1-137-48147-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London
Remembering 7/7: The collective shaping of survivors’ personal memories of the 2005 London bombing (2015-09-16)
Brown, Steven D.; Allen, Matthew and Reavey, Paula
In: Tota, Anna Lisa and Hagen, Trever eds. Routledge International Handbook of Memory Studies. Routledge International Handbooks (pp. 428-442)
ISBN : 9780415870894 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Dilemmas of memory: The mind is not a tape recorder (2015-08-27)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Tileagă, Christian and Stokoe, Elizabeth eds. Discursive Psychology: Classic and contemporary issues. Explorations in Social Psychology (pp. 210-223)
ISBN : 9780415721608 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London