Skip to content The Open University

Faculty of Social Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Stephanie Taylor

Dr Stephanie Taylor
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Senior Lecturer in Psychology


Course development and teaching

I am currently co-chairing the production of a new Level 3 module Advancing Social Psychology(DD317). My other work on the new psychology programme includes contributions to Living Psychology(DD210), Investigating Psychology 2 (DE200) and Investigating Psychology3 (DE300). I also wrote the chapter on Identities for the Level 1 module Understanding Social Lives(DD102). My previous OU teaching includes contributions to psychology, social sciences and research methods module presentation and production including: Qualitative Research (Module B1) on the full-time inter-faculty Research Masters programme; Introducing the Social Sciences(DD101/DD131/DD132); Social psychology(DD307) and the postgraduate modules Ethnography(D844), for which I authored the materials, and Discourse Analysis(D843), for which I co-edited the textbooks.

Research interests

My research employs a narrative-discursive approach to explore identification and a complex gendered subject, following theoretical and methodological work in narrative and discursive psychology. I have conducted research projects on identities of relationship to place, including national identities, and contemporary creative work and creative identities. I am currently developing a new project on the changing meanings of work and I recently led the stream 'Reconceptualising Work' at the WORK2015 in Turku, Finland

My 2012 co-authored monograph Contemporary Identities of Creativity and Creative Work(with Karen Littleton) was developed from three research projects on which I was PI, including a project for the National Arts Learning Network. The book explores the meanings, aspirations and practical difficulties associated with a creative identification. It investigates the attractions and conflicts of creative work as a personalized, affect-laden project of self-making, perpetually open and oriented to possibility, uncertain in its trajectory or rewards.I also discuss my research on creativity in my August 2014 article in The Psychologist.

My book Narratives of Identity and Place(Routledge, 2010) explores the importance of place-related identities in affluent contemporary societies, like the UK, in which it is usual for people to change residence and break the connections of birth, family and childhood which conventionally provided a link between place and identity. In particular, I look at the difficulties of constructing a plausible narrative of personal history and continuity which can provide a connection to place. I suggest that this ‘identity work’ is problematic for women because conventional narratives of origins and nativeness are strongly gendered, including through traditional and idealized notions of family.

I was lead editor of the 2015 special issue Researching the Psychosocialin Qualitative Research in Psychologyand co-editor (with Bridget Conor and Rosalind Gill) of the special issue and new Sociological Review Monographs collection Gender and Creative Labour. Other recent books are What is Discourse Analysis? (Bloomsbury, 2013) and Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, Continuity and Change in the Creative Industries, with Mark Banks and Rosalind Gill (Routledge, 2013).

I have presented my innovative work on research methods and conducted methodology workshops in Turkey, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland (2012, 2014) and the UK, including at the ESRC Research Methods festival in Oxford (2011, 2012)

I am co-director of the Psychosocial programme in the CCIG Research Centre and a member of the Social Psychology Research Group. I am an Associate Fellow and Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society.

Selected recent presentations

November 2015 Plenary 'Advancing discursive research', Methods on the Move: Advanced Postgraduate Research Methods School,The Open University, co-organised by Social Sciences Research Degrees and the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance.

October 2015 Keynote 'A matter of talent, collaboration, or context? How psychologists understand creativity' CreativeConf, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 24/10/15, organised by Cambridge Creatives.

June 2015 ‘Marginally creative subjects: accommodations and exclusions in the present-day UK economy’ as part of a symposium ‘Psychosocial research in a transdisciplinary key’ at the International Society for Theoretical Psychology conference Resistance & Renewal, 26th - 30th June 2015, Coventry University.

June 2015 Co-organiser and presenter, Contemporary Life Practices:  Risks, Moralities and Psychosocial Research workshop, OU Camden, funded by School of Social Sciences and the Understanding Risk Group, Cardiff University, and the Psychosocial Programme, CCIG, The Open University.

June 2015 ‘Analysing an encounter: The limits of interpretation’ atAll Eyes on Method Research Workshop, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures, Academy of Art and Design FHNW,Basel, Switzerland 4th-5th June, 2015.

May 2015 ‘Avoiding Trouble? A Narrative-Discursive Approach to Sexism and Women’s Identity Work’, Deconstructing Sexism, Language, Gender and Sexuality Special Interest Group Annual Event, British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL), City University, London.

June 2014 ‘Solitary, selfish and probably male: Lived constraints on a creative identification’ in the symposium ‘Professional, networked, authentic and yet still excluded? The persistence of gender inequalities in creative occupations’, Gender, Work and Organisationconference, Keele University.

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Selected research publications  

S. Taylor (2016) 'Psychosocial research' in Gough, B. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social PsychologyPalgrave Macmillan (in press).

S.Taylor (2015) Conceptualising creativity

S.Taylor (2015) ‘Discursive and psychosocial? Theorising a complex contemporary subject’, Qualitative Research in Psychology12(1).

S.Taylor (2015) ‘A new mystique? Working for yourself in the neoliberal economy’ The Sociological Review63: SI (174-187).

B.Conor, R.Gill and S.Taylor (2015) ‘Gender and Creative Labour’ The Sociological Review63: SI (1-22).

S.Taylor (2015) ‘Identity construction’ in K.Tracy (ed) International Encyclopedia of Language and Social InteractionWiley-Blackwell The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction  ISBN 978-1-118-61110-4.

S.Taylor (2014) A response to Martyn Hammersley ‘On the ethics of interviewing for discourse research’ Qualitative Research.

S. Taylor (2013) ‘The lived experience of a contemporary creative identification’ in J.Chan and K.Thomas (eds)  Handbook of Research on Creativity Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

S. Taylor (2011), ‘Negotiating oppositions and uncertainties: gendered conflicts in creative identity work’, Feminism & Psychology 21(3): 354-371.

S.Taylor and K.Littleton (2006) ‘Biographies in talk: A narrative-discursive research approach’ Qualitative Sociology ReviewVol II Issue

Selected teaching publications

S. Taylor (2014) 'Identities' in J.Clarke and K.Woodward Understanding Social Lives 2Milton Keynes The Open University ISBN 978 178 00 7853 3.

S.Taylor (2013) What is discourse analysis? London: Bloomsbury Academic  ISBN: 978-1780938493/ 978-1849669030.

S.Taylor (2006) ‘Critical Readings in Social Psychology: An introduction’ and ‘Attitudes’ in D.Langdridgeand S.Taylor (eds) Critical Readings in Social PsychologyOpen University Press.

S.Taylor (ed) Ethnographic Research: A Reader,London, Sage and The Open University.

S. Taylor (2001) 'Conducting Discourse Analytic Research' and 'Evaluating and Applying Discourse Analytic Research' in M.Wetherell, S.Taylor and S.YatesDiscourse as Data: A Guide for Analysis,London, Sage and The Open University.

M.Wetherell, S.Taylor and S.Yates (2001)Discourse Theory and Practice,London, Sage and The Open University.

Last updated: 26 January 2016