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Dr Jean McAvoy

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Director of Teaching (Psychology)
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • Psychology
  • jean.mcavoy

Professional biography

I am currently Director of Teaching and Chair of the Board of Studies in the School of Psychology.

My research interests are in the social construction of subjectivities, identities and moral orders.  I supervise PhD students studying the construction of identities, subjectivity, gender and transgression.  My teaching specialism is research methods and methodology.

In addition to a BSc (Hons), MSc and PhD in psychology I hold a BA (Hons) in Classical Civilisations. I am a chartered psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and sit on the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychosocial Studies.

Research interests

My current research interests focus on the construction, constitution and experience of subjectification and subjectivity. I work within a framework of critical social psychology. I am interested in what resources people have for making sense of their lives, how this is shaped within particular social and cultural practices. My particular interests lie in what kinds of moralities are produced, and how concepts of rights and wrongs are established, consolidated, or challenged. I am interested in what gets accomplished at personal, interpersonal and institutional levels when concepts such as good or bad, successful or failing, legitimacy, deficiency and deviancy are applied to people and behaviour.

Methodologically I work with a broad understanding of discourse analysis. This broad approach allows epistemological investigations of how knowledge and understanding is worked up at a local and more macro levels, and explorations of the ontology of subjectivity and relationality and the nature of interiority and experience.

PhD supervision

Marie Paludan (co-supervision with Dr Stephanie Taylor, Psychology):"Constructing Feminine Subjectivities.”

Lisa Scott (co-supervision with Dr Rose Capdevila): "How do different generations of Irish women talk about young single motherhood?"

I am interested in supervising research in critical social psychology, particularly around areas of subjectivity and subjectification, discourse theory and methods, explorations of moralities and inequalities, understandings of justice and injustice, constructions and constitutions of emotion, and studies in affective practices more broadly.

Teaching interests

I have worked in production and presentation roles on a wide range of modules across the psychology programme.  I co-chaired production with Jovan Byford of the 60-credit Level 1 psychology module DE100 Investigating psychology 1, and contributed methods teaching on DE200 and DE300.  Previously I was a member of the module team for production and presentation chair for DSE141 Discovering psychology.  I have also contributed to presentation teams for DSE212 Exploring Psychology; the residential school psychology project module DXR222, and the online project module DZX222.

In addition I present workshops and seminars for post-graduate students on advanced qualitative research methods and methodological theory.

Teaching publications

Byford, J., McAvoy, J. and Banyard, P. (2014). Investigating Intelligence. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

McAvoy, J. and Brace, N. (eds) (2014). Investigating Methods. Milton Keynes: The Open University. (DE100).

McAvoy, J. (2012) ‘Exposing the authoritarian personality’ in Brace, N & Byford, J (eds) Investigating Psychology: Key Concepts, Key Studies, Key Approaches, Oxford: Oxford University Press and Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Social Psychology Research GroupGroupFaculty of Social Sciences


Doing Reflexivity in Psychological Research – What’s the Point? What’s the practice? (2018)
Lazard, Lisa and McAvoy, Jean
Qualitative Research in Psychology ((Early Access))
From ideology to feeling: discourse, emotion, and an analytic synthesis (2015)
McAvoy, Jean
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(1) (pp. 22-33)
Researching the Psychosocial: An Introduction (2015)
Taylor, Stephanie and McAvoy, Jean
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(1) (pp. 1-7)
Psychological Theory, Research, Methodology, and Feminist Critiques (2016-04-21)
Capdevila, Rose and McAvoy, Jean M.
In: Naples, Nancy ed. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies
ISBN : 9781405196949 | Publisher : John Wiley & Sons | Published : Oxford
Postmodern feminist psychology (2016-04-21)
Lazard, Lisa; McAvoy, Jean and Capdevila, Rose
In: Naples, Nancy; Hoogland, Renee C.; Wickramasinghe, Maithree and Wong, Wai Ching Angela eds. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies
ISBN : 978-1-4051-9694-9 | Publisher : Wiley Blackwell
Discursive psychology and the production of identity in language practices (2016-02-18)
McAvoy, Jean
In: Preece, Siân ed. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Identity. Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics (pp. 98-112)
ISBN : 978-1-138-77472-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Psy disciplines (2014)
McAvoy, Jean
In: Teo, Thomas ed. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology (pp. 1527-1529)
ISBN : 978-1-4614-5582-0 | Publisher : Springer | Published : New York
Constructing Subjects, Producing Subjectivities: Developing Analytic Needs in Discursive Psychology (2007)
McAvoy, Jean
In : 6th Annual Conference of the Narrative and Memory Research Group (8 Apr 2006, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield) (pp. 53-62)

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