I joined the Open University in March 2017. I had previously been Head of Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London.
I have a broad interest in the development of psychosocial thinking for the insight it gives to understanding the relationship of the individual to the wider social group, My particular interests have been in understanding when that relationship appears to be problematic - notably, for example in the contexts of mental health issues and in terms of criminality.
The interest in the diagnosis of personality disorder, used in forensic settings led to the publication of Disordered Personalities and Crime: An Historical Analysis of Moral Insanity. (Routledge 2016).
I have carried out research in the field psychiatry publishing a study of the impact of serious mental illness on families as Myths Madness and the Family (Palgrave 2002). The interest in understanding contemporary family relationships was carried through to work on an ESRC project based at the Open University on 'step-families' and older people.
My main interest in the past 15 years or so has been using psychosocial perspectives to understand criminal behaviour. The interest in developing a psychosocial criminology led to the publication of Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality (Willan/Routledge 2008). More recently I have been focusing attention and carrying out research on the borderline between issues of mental heath and offending - most particularly the issue of 'personality disorder'.
I have published 'Disordered Personalities and Crime: An analysis of the history of moral insanity' (Routledge 2016), that examines the 200 year old history of the various diagnoses of moral insanity, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.
I have been awarded an ESRC grant to carry forward cross disciplinary research on this issue and a British Academy Grant to examine the historical emergence of linkages between 'psychiatric' thought and theories of delinquency.