Faculty of Social Sciences
I have a BA Hons in Sociology (First Class) from the University of Reading, an MSc in Advanced Social and Educational Research Methods from The Open University, and a PhD in Sociology from South Bank Polytechnic/CNAA, entitled, Accounting for Our Children: Differing Perspectives on 'Family' Life in Middle Income Households. I also have a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, London University, double distinctions.
British Sociological Association, member of the Families and Relationships Study Group and the Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement; International Sociological Association.
I am currently a member of the editorial board of Bereavement Care.
Before joining The Open University in 2001, my teaching responsibilities included family sociology and family research (undergraduate and postgraduate), and contemporary sociological theory.
My teaching time at The Open University is divided between courses in the Department of Social Policy and the development and presentation of inter-disciplinary courses. I currently chair the post-graduate module Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods (D849).
My central research focus concerns people's family lives and relationships, particularly where children and young people are involved. My theoretical interests are concerned with the connections and disconnections between people in their close relationships; notably, experiences and forms of relationality as these are shaped across global and local contexts, and by gender and generation, including aspects of emotions and embodiment. I am particularly interested in feminist, anthropological and cross-cultural work around these themes, with long-standing interests in the meanings of family and individuality, relatedness and autonomy. Methodologically, I favour open-ended qualitative research, with a focus on the ways in which people understand their own everyday lives, and the implications for policy and professional practices. In earlier work, I have undertaken sociological research on contemporary family lives, including mothers with an eldest child aged 7, the family lives of young people aged 16-18, parents and children in step-families, and bereavement and loss in young people's lives. My current research is particularly framed by the following:
I am a member of the Families, Relationships and Citizenship Programme which is part of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance.
A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane, Hooper, Carol-Ann and Gillies, Val (eds) (2013) Family Troubles? Exploring Changes and Challenges in the Family Lives of Children and Young People. Bristol: Policy Press (in press)
Edwards, Rosalind, Gillies, Val and Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2012) 'The politics of concepts: family and its (putative?) replacements', British Journal of Sociology, vol. 63, issue 4 (December), pp. 730-745 (in press)
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2012) 'The powerful relational language of 'family': togetherness, belonging and personhood', in Sociological Review, Vol 60, Issue 1 (February) pp68-90.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2012) 'Caring after death: issues of embodiment and relationality', in Chrissie Rogers and Susie Weller (eds) Critical Approaches to Care. London: Routledge.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane, Doolittle, Megan and Day Sclater, Shelley (2012) Understanding Family Meanings: A Reflective Text. Bristol: Policy Press
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane and Edwards, Rosalind (2011) Key Concepts in Family Studies, London, Sage.The Introduction is available free of charge at Open Research Online.
Ribbens, Jane, and Edwards, Rosalind (eds) (1998/2010) Feminist Dilemmas in Qualitative Research: Public Knowledge and Private Lives. London: Sage, 212pp, ISBN 0 7619 5664 6. Republished by Sage as an e-book in an online series on research methods.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2006) Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Towards an Inter-disciplinary Approach. Buckingham, Open University Press.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane, with Jessop, Julie (2005) Young People, Bereavement and Loss: Disruptive Transitions? London: Joseph Rowntree Foundation/National Children's Bureau.
Ribbens McCarthy, J. (2010) 'Bereavement, young people and social context', in Barbara Monroe and Frances Klaus (eds) Brief Interventions with Bereaved Children (2nd ed) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ribbens McCarthy, J. (2009) 'Young People Making Meaning in Response to Death and Bereavement', in David Balk and Charles Corr (eds) Adolescent Encounters with Death, Bereavement and Coping. New York: Springer Publishing
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2008) 'Security, insecurity and family lives', in Alan Cochrane and Deborah Talbot (eds) Security: Welfare, Crime and Society. Open University/Open University Press
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2007) 'Representing academic knowledge: the micro-politics of a literature review', in Val Gillies and Helen Lucey (eds) Power, Knowledge and the Academy: The Institutional is Political. Basingstoke, Hants: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2007) '"They all look as if they're coping, but I'm not": the relational power/lessness of 'youth' in responding to experiences of bereavement', Journal of Youth Studies. 10(3) 285-303
Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2007) Young People and Bereavement. Highlight. London: National Children's Bureau
Ribbens McCarthy, J. (2006). 'Resilience and bereaved children: developing complex approaches.' Grief Matters 9: 58-61.
A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.
Last updated: 8 November 2012