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Critical, social and cultural psychology


The School of Psychology’s work in this area has a distinguished history and the School has a world-class reputation for its contribution to the development of these psychological approaches. This research ranges from sexualities and relationships, health and illness, sexual violence, memory, suggestibility and intersections between psychology and law, to masculinities, femininities, and the discursive construction of identities, digital lives and alternative structures of intimate life in diverse contexts.

A principal interest concerns theoretical and methodological innovation to shape distinct transdisciplinary psychosocial approaches.

Other significant areas of work 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 Arts and Social Sciences which offers an institutional context for collaborative research activity and support.

Image: Miquel Àngel Pintanel, Mask, 2018, ink on paper, 21 x 30 cm. Photo: Miquel Angel Pintanel Bassets This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License

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, or some evidence of substantial experience in doing independent research at postgraduate level A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships.

Potential research projects

  • Discursive and phenomenological approaches to self
  • Narratives of relationships, normative and/or non-normative sexualities
  • Embodied, lived and/or liminal experiences and affect, particularly relating to gender, sexual, and relationship diversity
  • Femininities and  masculinities
  • Conflict, prejudice, segregation and discrimination
  • Discourses, practices and experiences of health and illness, including contested illnesses
  • Critical approaches to wellbeing, happiness, quality of life and self-management
  • 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
  • Psychology and law (including international perspectives, legal and welfare practices, issues surrounding child protection and child witnesses)
  • Critical psychology, including 'non-normative' childhoods and identity development
  • Q methodological studies of subjectivity and its discursive resources
  • Dialogical Self, dialogical analysis; dialogues of mobility and non-mobility in the public sphere, including migration and the European Union.
  • Analysis of self-help and advice giving, particularly relating to sex and relationships
  • Life course transitions and intimacy; alternative structures for intimacy
  • Social psychology, history and memory
  • European citizenship and public attitudes towards the European Union
  • Social media and identity

Current/recent research projects

We have had a number of recently and currently funded research projects, including:

  • Post-Brexit politics: A social psychological interrogation of community and citizenship
  • Child language brokering across spaces of identity and belonging
  • Belfast Mobility Project: Intergroup contact, segregation and the time-geography of sectarian relations in Belfast.
  • Picture Perfect? The filtered selfie and the curation of self by young women and girls

Further information

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

David Kaposi
+44(0)1908 652589

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.