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Professor Wendy Hollway

Profile summary

Professional biography

Now as Emeritus Professor, I collaborate with colleagues in emerging psycho-social networks in UK, Europe and US. In the first half of 2011, I was a visiting Fellow at the Oslo Centre for Advanced Study, in a programme entitled 'Personal Development and Socio-cultural Change', directed by Profs Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen and Hanne Haavind, from which collaborations continue. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I am External Examiner to several professional trainings in Child Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Observation and Professional Doctorates.

Research interests

I have researched and published on questions to do with identity, gender relations, parenting, the capacity to care, qualitative methodology and epistemology, history of psychology. A uniting theme is the development of a ‘psycho-social’ approach, that is one that does not reduce to exclusively sociological or psychological accounts of identity, experience and relationships. I make use of psychoanalytic ontology and epistemology to inform my psycho-social research, substantively and methodologically.

My ESRC Fellowship “Maternal Identities, Care and Intersubjectivity” develops an earlier ESRC-funded study (with Ann Phoenix) under the Identities and Social Action programme about the identity transition involved when women become mothers for the first time. It is based on the unique data set derived from psychoanalytically-informed interview and observation methods. It takes further my work on theorising identity processes and new methodological approaches for researching identities. These constitute the themes for my recent book "Knowing Mothers".


Hollway, W. Knowing Mothers: Researching Maternal Identity Change. London: Palgrave. (2015)

Hollway,W. Subjectivity and Method in Psychology: Gender, Meaning and Science. pp150. London: Sage. (1989)

Hollway,W. Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour: Managing the Individual at Work. pp208. London: Sage. (1991)

Hollway,W. and B.Featherstone (eds) Mothering and Ambivalence. pp200 London:Routledge. (1997)

Henriques,J. W.Hollway, C.Urwin, C.Venn and V.Walkerdine Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity. 2nd edition with new 4,000 word foreword. pp352. London: Routledge. (1998)

Hollway, W. and Jefferson, T. Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. (2000). 2nd edition forthcoming November 2012, with new material on a decade of developments in psychoanalytically-informed and psycho-social methods.

Hollway, W. (ed) Special Issue on Psycho-social Research. International Journal of Critical Psychology 10. London: Lawrence and Wishart. (2004)

Hollway, W. (2006) The Capacity to Care: Gender and Ethical Subjectivity. London: Routledge.

Hollway, W., Lucey, H. and Phoenix, A. (eds) (2007) Social Psychology Matters. Open University Press in conjunction with the Open University. Course text for DD307 Social Psychology module ‘Self and Others’.

Recent articles and book chapters

Hollway, W. (2010) ‘Conflict in the transition to becoming a mother: a psychosocial approach’ Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 15,2 pp136-155.

Hollway, W. (2010) ‘Relationality: the intersubjective foundations of identity’, In Wetherell, M and Mohanty, C. (eds) Sage Handbook of Identities. London: Sage, pp216-232.

Froggett, L. and Hollway, W. (2010) ‘Psychosocial research analysis and scenic understanding’, Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 15,3 pp281-301.

Hollway, W. (2010/11) ‘Psycho-social writing from data’, Journal of Psycho-social Studies, 4,2 (December/Jan)

Hollway. W. (2011) ‘Through discursive psychology to a psycho-social approach’ in Bozatzis, N. & Dragonas, Th. (Eds.) (2011) Social Psychology: The turn to discourse. Athens: Metaixmio (Μποζατζ?ς, Ν. & Δραγ?να, Θ. (Επιμ.) (2011) Κοινωνικ? Ψυχολογ?α: Η στροφ? στο   λ?γο. Αθ?να: Μετα?χμιο)

Hollway, W. (2011) ‘In Between External and Internal Worlds: Imagination in Transitional Space’, Methodological Innovations Online 6 (3) 50-60.


Teaching interests

Prior to retirement,,I co-edited with Helen Lucey and Ann Phoenix, one of the course texts, Social Psychology Matters (2007), for the current Level 3 course in Social Psychology (DD307). In various chapters, I traced the history of social psychology in between psychology and sociology; introduced four social psychological methods and their histories and differences; laid out social psychology’s contributions to understanding of the self; and in a final overview situated social psychology and raised some insistent questions for the discipline.

I contributed a chapter to the theme on identities in Introduction to Social Sciences (DD101), discussing identity change in becoming a mother for the first time and the challenges involved in researching identity change (Identity and change through time’, chapter 6 in Bromley, S., Clarke, J., Hinchcliffe, S. and Taylor, S. (eds) Exploring Social Lives. Milton Keynes: The Open University, Vol 2, pp7-45.

Impact and engagement

I support professional psychotherapy training and research, in particular including training in infant observation. I examine professional doctorates in this area and am external examiner on such courses in the north of England and Scotland.

The kind of impact i am interested in is beautifully captured in the following extract from an email concerning the book "Doing Qualitative Research Differently":

"I am writing to you in gratitude for your book Doing Qualitative Research Differently and the concepts within it. 
I battled to find a methodology that married my world views; my theoretical perspective (...) and my clinical experience  that repeatedly shows me that what people say initially in an interview is often a defended response, with the truth (usually painful) hidden well below. Almost always, with patience and clinical insight that comes from years of training and my own psychoanalytic personal process, the clients feel safe enough to tell (some for the very first time) the 'truth' about their childhoods. The typical "good childhood, normal, fine, just like everybody else's childhood" narrative  is then usurped by the experience of painful raw memories, unprocessed and undigested. The unthought known is often palpable. 
I was finding it impossible to situate my experience of defended human beings, in the qualitative research methodologies I was reading about. Suffice to say, yours and Tony Jefferson's work has been my methodological nirvana. I finally feel like I have a theoretical perspective that is congruent with my clinical experience, my theoretical training and my personal world views. 
With immense gratitude, "

Research groups

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


Climate activism among members (2021-10)
Turp, Maggie and Hollway, Wendy
The Psychologist, 34

Carbon-lite collaboration: a virtual visual matrix (2020-07)
Hollway, Wendy; Kofoed, Jette; Ruch, Gillian; Sims, Louise; Thomson, Rachel and Tonkin, Lois
Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 13(2) (pp. 135-149)

Feminism, psychology and becoming a mother (2016-05-01)
Hollway, Wendy
Feminism & Psychology, 26(2) (pp. 137-152)

Emotional experience plus reflection: countertransference and reflexivity in research (2016-03)
Hollway, Wendy
The Psychotherapist, 62

Interview with Juliet Mitchell – Psychoanalysis and Feminism: Then and Now (2015-06-01)
Walsh, Julie; Hollway, Wendy and Mitchell, Juliet
Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 20(2) (pp. 112-130)

Locating unconscious "societal-collective" processes in psycho-social research (2013-03-01)
Hollway, Wendy
Organisational and Social Dynamics, 13(1) (pp. 22-40)

Researching in-between subjective experience and reality (2012-09)
Hollway, Wendy and Froggett, Lynn
Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13, Article 13(3)

Infant observation: opportunities, challenges, threats (2012-04)
Hollway, Wendy
Infant Observation: International Journal of Infant Observation and its Applications, 15(1) (pp. 21-32)

Rereading Winnicott’s “Primary Maternal Preoccupation” (2012-02-01)
Hollway, Wendy
Feminism & Psychology, 22(1) (pp. 20-40)

Research encounters, reflexivity and supervision (2012)
Elliott, Heather; Ryan, Joanna and Hollway, Wendy
International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 15(5) (pp. 433-333)

Becoming a mother through culture (2012)
Urwin, Cathy; Hauge, Mona Iren; Hollway, Wendy and Haavind, Hanne
Qualitative Inquiry, 19(6) (pp. 470-479)

In between external and internal worlds: imagination in transitional space (2011)
Hollway, Wendy
Methodological Innovations Online, 6(3) (pp. 50-60)

Psychosocial research analysis and scenic understanding (2010-09-23)
Froggett, Lynn and Hollway, Wendy
Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 15(3) (pp. 281-301)

Conflict in the transitions to becoming a mother: a psycho-social approach (2010)
Hollway, Wendy
Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 15(2) (pp. 136-155)

Applying the 'experience-near' principle to research: Psychoanalytically informed methods (2009-12)
Hollway, Wendy
Journal of Social Work Practice, 23(4) (pp. 461-474)

Editorial: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (2009)
Baraitser, Lisa; Spigel, Sigal; Betterton, Rosemary; Curk, Polona; Hollway, Wendy; Jensen, Tracey; Miller, Gavin; Miller, Tina; Parker, Rozsika; Pullinger, Kate; Raphael-Leff, Joan; Reynolds, Tracey and Simic, Lena
Studies in the maternal, 1(1)

Doing intellectual disagreement differently? (2008)
Hollway, Wendy
Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 13(4) (pp. 385-396)

Afterword (2007-12)
Hollway, Wendy
Infant Observation, 10(3) (pp. 231-236)

Family figures in 20th-century British 'psy' discourses (2006-08)
Hollway, Wendy
Theory and Psychology, 16(4) (pp. 443-464)

Paradox in the pursuit of a critical theorization of the development of self in family relationships (2006-08)
Hollway, Wendy
Theory and Psychology, 16(4) (pp. 465-482)

Psychoanalysis in social psychological research (2006)
Hollway, Wendy
Psychologist, 19(9) (pp. 544-545)

Panic and perjury: a psychosocial exploration of agency (2005-06)
Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony
British Journal of Social Psychology, 44(2) (pp. 147-163)

But why did Vince get sick?: A reply to Spears and Wetherell (2005-06)
Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony
British Journal of Social Psychology, 44(2) (pp. 175-180)

Commentaries on Potter and Hepburn, ‘Qualitative interviews in psychology: problems and possibilities’ - Commentary 2 (2005)
Hollway, Wendy
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2(4) (pp. 312-314)

Feminism and heterosexual marriage: The return of the repressed? (2004)
Hollway, Wendy
Feminism & Psychology, 14(2) (pp. 319-322)

The psycho-social subject in 'evidence-based practice' (2001-05-01)
Hollway, Wendy
Journal of Social Work Practice, 15(1) (pp. 9-22)

From motherhood to maternal subjectivity (2001)
Hollway, Wendy
International Journal of Critical Psychology, 2 (pp. 13-38)

Knowing Mothers: Researching Maternal Identity Change (2015-01-01)
Hollway, Wendy
Studies in the Psychosocial
ISBN : 978-1-137-48123-8 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan UK | Published : London

The capacity to care: gender and ethical subjectivity (2006)
Hollway, Wendy
Women and Psychology
ISBN : 415399688 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Towards an eco-psycho-social analysis of climate change (2022-05-29)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Frosh, Stephen; Vyrgioti, Marita and Walsh, Julie eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies
ISBN : 978-3-030-61510-9 | Publisher : Palsgrave Macmillan, Cham

Objectivity (2013-10-22)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Theo, Thomas ed. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology
ISBN : 978-1-4614-5582-0 | Publisher : SpringerReference | Published : Heidelberg

Through discursive psychology to a psycho-social approach (2011-10)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Bozatzis, Nikos and Dragonas,, Thaleia eds. Social psychology: the turn to discourse. (pp. 209-240)
ISBN : 978-960-501-162-8 | Publisher : Metaixmio | Published : Athens

Relationality: the intersubjective foundations of identity (2010)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Wetherell, Margaret and Mohanty, Chandra eds. Sage Handbook of Identities (pp. 216-232)
ISBN : 9781412934114 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, U.K.

Panic and perjury: A psychosocial exploration of agency (2009-08-28)
Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony
In: Sclater, Shelley Day; Jones, David W.; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (pp. 123-138)
ISBN : 978-0-230-21685-3 | Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK

Researching defended subjects with the free association narrative interviewing method (2009)
Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony
In: Cook, Harold J.; Bhattacharya, Sanjoy and Hardy, Anne eds. History of the social determinants of health: Global histories, contemporary debates (pp. 296-315)
ISBN : 978-81-250-3508-4 | Publisher : Orient Black Swan | Published : Hyderabad

The importance of relational thinking in the practice of psycho-social research: ontology, epistemology, methodology and ethics (2008)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Clarke, Simon; Hoggett, Paul and Hahn, Herbert eds. Object relations and social relations: The implications of the relational turn in psychoanalysis. Exploring Psyco-Social Studies (pp. 137-162)
ISBN : 9781855755635 | Publisher : Karnac | Published : London, UK

Psychoanalytically informed observation (2008)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Given, Lisa M. ed. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods
ISBN : 9781412941631 | Publisher : Sage | Published : Sevenoaks, California

The free association narrative interview method (2008)
Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony
In: Given, Lisa M. ed. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods (pp. 296-315)
ISBN : 9781412941631 | Publisher : Sage | Published : Sevenoaks, California

Introducing the capacity to care (2006)
Hollway, Wendy
In: Hollway, Wendy ed. The capacity to care: gender and ethical subjectivity. Women and Psychology
ISBN : 0-415-39967-X | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, UK

International Journal of Critical Psychology 10: Psycho-Social Research, Editorial (2004)
Hollway, Wendy ed.
International Journal of Critical Psychology
ISBN : 0 85315 995 5 | Publisher : Lawrence and Wishart | Published : London

Interpretation group method in the Dubrovnik tradition (2010)
Hollway, Wendy and Volmerg, Birgit
International Research Group for Psycho-Societal Analysis