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Professor Stephanie Taylor

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Social Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology & Counselling
  • Psychology
  • stephanie.taylor

Research interests

I am interested in the new identities attached to contemporary contexts, and the associated subjectivity or sense of self which is shaped by identifications and contemporary life practices. My current research concerns work and particularly creative work. I have also written on identities of relationship to place, including national identities. My research employs a narrative-discursive approach to explore identification and a complex gendered subject, following theoretical and methodological work in narrative and critical discursive psychology. I set out this approach in detail in my 2015 article in Qualitative Research in Psychology.

Two recent journal articles investigate the meanings which creativity carries for people who identify as creative practitioners. An article in a special issue of Social Psychology Quarterly compares a practitioner concept of creativity with academic conceptualisations, including those developed by psychologists. A co-authored article in Feminism & Psychology analyses the gendering of creativity and creative practice.

I am co-editor of the Palgrave Series Creative Working Lives and I have co-edited a number of international collections that present new research on the experience of workers in the cultural and creative industries. My new collection Pathways into Creative Working Lives, (co-edited with Susan Luckman), focuses on entry into creative work in a range of occupations and national contexts. It was developed from the Jean Monnet-funded project 'Creative Industries and the Digital Economy as Drivers of EU Integration and Economy as Drivers of EU Integration and Innovation' on which I was co-I.

My 2018 Palgrave collection The New Normal of Working Lives: Critical Studies in Contemporary Work and Employment (co-edited with Susan Luckman) presented research on the changing meanings and values attached to work and a contemporary worker subject. You can watch a video about it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFYf3Lfr0dg The collection was developed partly from the stream 'Reconceptualising Work' that I led at the WORK2015 in Turku, Finland. I led a stream with the same theme at WORK2017.

Two earlier collections were the 2015 special issue and Sociological Review Monographs collection Gender and Creative Labour, co-edited with Bridget Conor and Rosalind Gill, and Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, Continuity and Change in the Creative Industries, with Mark Banks and Rosalind Gill (Routledge, 2013). That collection was re-published in paperback in 2017.

Recent research publications with a methodological focus are my flagship chapter on 'Discourse Research' for SAGE Research methods Foundations (SRMF) https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/sage-research-methods-foundations and the new Sage Encyclopedia of Research Methods, and  the 2017 chapter 'Psychosocial research' in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social Psychology. I am also author of the textbook What is Discourse Analysis? (Bloomsbury, 2013).

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 have presented my innovative work on research methods and conducted methodology workshops in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland (2012, 2014) and the UK, including at the OU and at the ESRC Research Methods festival in Oxford (2011, 2012) http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/TandE/video/stats.php http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/TandE/video/stats.php.

I am a co-director of the CuSP research collaboration and the Social Psychology Research Group (SPRG) in the School of Psychology, FASS. I am an Associate Fellow and Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society.

I lead the blog for the School of Psychology and Counselling https://oupsychology.wordpress.com/ and the School’s Social Psychology blog https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/view.php?u=sjt38

Selected recent presentations

September 2019 Paper ‘Creativity: a failing promise?’ as part of the panel Re-Futuring Creative Work, 3rd CAMEo Conference, Re-Futuring Creative Economies, Leicester.

October 2018 Research seminar presentation A participant concept of contemporary creativity at School of Creative Industries, UniSA, Adelaide.

June 2018 Invited presenter at the 'Identity and the Identifiable' debate, London Festival of Architecture https://www.adamarchitecture.com/press/identity-and-the-identifiable-debate,-6th-june-2018-in-london.htm

April 2018 Presentation and workshop on Discourse research for Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis course, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, 24 April 2018.

April 2018 The creativity dilemma Presentation at 'Creative Work and the Digital Economy' Workshop' Dublin, 12-13 April 2018 (co-funded by the University of South Australia, Maynooth University and the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

April 2018 Creativity as a socially valued practice Presentation at 'Creativity across disciplines' PhD course, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark, 5-6 April, 2018.

August 2017 The future worker: an emerging account? As part of the 'Reconceptualising work' stream, WORK2017, Turku, Finland.

June 2017 Co-organiser and 'round table' moderator for the Creative Labour in Transition seminar, King’s College London, 29/06/17. Funded by CMCI at KCL and the Centre for German European Studies SPBU-Bielefeld University.

April 2017 Invited panel member at seminar 'Spatial Reconfigurations of Work in Cities, University of Portsmouth 20th and 21st April. Funded by Urban Studies Foundation.

December 2016 Presentation in Qualitative Expertise at Southampton (QUEST) seminar "One post said ...": Curating comments as data in digital contexts. Paper 'The evidence of ordinary people' 8/12/16 http://www.quest.soton.ac.uk/training/onepostsaid.php

October 2016 Presentation in workshop Creative labour revisited: cultural production in distinct institutional environments supported by NRU Higher School of Economics and the Centre for German and European studies, St. Petersburg – Bielefeld. National Research University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg.

Selected recent research publications

S. Taylor (2019, in press) “A practitioner concept of contemporary creativitySocial Psychology Quarterly

S. Taylor and M. Paludan (2019) 'Transcending utility? The gendered conflicts of contemporary creative practice' Feminism & Psychology (Online First)

S. Taylor (2019) 'Discourse research' in Paul Atkinson, Sara  Delamont and Richard  Williams (eds) Sage Research Methods Foundations London: Sage. 

S. Taylor (2018) 'Beyond Work? New expectations and aspirations' in Taylor, S. and Luckman, S. (eds) The new normal of working lives: critical studies in contemporary work and employment Palgrave Macmillan

S. Taylor (2017) 'Psychosocial research' in Gough, B. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social Psychology Palgrave Macmillan

J. Dixon and S.Taylor (2015) ‘Fact and evaluation in racist discourse revisited’ in Tileaga, C. and Stokoe, E (Ed.), Discursive Psychology: Classic and Contemporary Issues. London: Routledge

S.Taylor (2015) Conceptualising creativity http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/conceptualising-creativity/

S.Taylor (2015) ‘Discursive and psychosocial? Theorising a complex contemporary subject’, Qualitative Research in Psychology 12(1)

S.Taylor (2015) ‘A new mystique? Working for yourself in the neoliberal economy’ The Sociological Review 63: SI (174-187)

Teaching interests

I am chair of the postgraduate module Evaluating Psychology: Research and Practice DD803 and I am part of the module team for the Level 3 module Advancing Social Psychology DD317. I co-chaired the production team for DD317, with Eleni Andreouli. My other work on the current psychology programme includes contributions to Living Psychology (DD210), Investigating Psychology 2 (DE200) and Investigating Psychology 3 (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.

Selected teaching publications

S. Taylor (2017) 'Changing people, changing times? Questions for social psychology in the 21st century' in E. Andreouli and S.Taylor (eds) Advancing social psychology Milton Keynes The Open University

S. Taylor (2017) ' New workers as contemporary subjects' in E. Andreouli and S.Taylor (eds) Advancing social psychology Milton Keynes The Open University

S. Taylor (2014) 'Identities' in J.Clarke and K.Woodward Understanding Social Lives 2 Milton 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.Langdridge and S.Taylor (eds) Critical Readings in Social Psychology Open University Press.

S.Taylor (ed) (2001) Ethnographic Research: A Reader, London, Sage and The Open University.

S. Taylor (2001) 'Locating and Conducting Discourse Analytic Research' and 'Evaluating and Applying Discourse Analytic Research' in M.Wetherell, S.Taylor and S.Yates Discourse 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.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Social Psychology Research GroupGroupFaculty of Social Sciences

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