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Professor Ian Burkitt

PositionEmeritus Professor
LocationAshfield T.01.1
DepartmentSociology and Criminology

Research Interests (key words only)

Self and identity in social theory and social psychology; Emotions; The body in social theory; Theories of agency

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Students supervised:

  • Alison Torn, ‘Narratives of Madness Pre- and Post-Psychiatry’.
  • Eugene Flanagan, ‘Capital Punishment Discourse and the UK Public Sphere’.
  • Mat Partner, ‘Choice and Control: Governmentality and UK Learning Disability Legislation’.

Current Projects

I have a new book ‘Emotions and Social Relations’ published by Sage in April 2014 and am beginning a project looking at theories of agency from a relational perspective.


  • 'Relational Agency: Relational Sociology, Agency and Interaction,' European Journal of Social Theory, 19 (3), 2016, pp.322-339.
  • Emotions and Social Relations. London: Sage, 2014.
  • Self and Others in the Field of Perception, Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: A Journal of the American Psychological Association, 33 (4) 2013, pp.267-279
  • Emotional Reflexivity: Feeling, Emotion and Imagination in Reflexive Dialogues’, Sociology, 46 (3), June 2012, pp.458-472.
  • Dialogues with Self and Others: Communication, Miscommunication and the Dialogical Unconscious, Theory and Psychology, 20(3) 2010, pp.305-321
  • Fragments of Unconscious Experience: Towards a Dialogical, Relational and Sociological Analysis, Theory and Psychology, 20(3) 2010, pp.322-341
  • Embodied Ideas and Divided Selves: Revisiting Laing via Bakhtin, British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 2009, pp. 563-577. (With Paul Sullivan)
  • Social Selves: Theories of Self and Society. Second Edition. London: Sage, 2008
  • Subjectivity, Self and Everyday Life in Contemporary Capitalism, Subjectivity, 23, 2008, pp.236-245
  • Powerful Emotions: Power, Government and Opposition in the 'War on Terror', Sociology, 39 (4) 2005, pp.679-695
  • Situating Auto/biography: Biography and Narrative in the Times and Places of Everyday Life, Auto/biography, 13 (2) 2005, pp.93-110
  • The Time and Space of Everyday Life, Cultural Studies, 18 (2/3) 2004, pp.211-227
  • Psychology in the Field of Being: Merleau-Ponty, Ontology and Social Constructionism', Theory and Psychology, 13 (3) 2003, pp.339-358
  • Technologies of the Self: Habitus and Capacities, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 32 (2) 2002, pp. 219-237
  • Complex Emotions: Relations, Feelings, and Images in Emotional Experience, in J. Barbalet (ed.), Emotions and Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002, pp. 151-167

Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

Conference Presentations (selected):

  • Body, Image and Imagination: Place and Time in the Psyche, invited plenary address given to the Current Issues in European Cultural Studies Conference, Norrkoping, Sweden, June 15-17th 2011.
  • Complexity and the embodiment of power and identity in organisations, keynote address to the Complexity and Management conference, Roffey Park Management Institute, Surrey, June 3rd – 5th 2011.
  • The Place of the Individual in Psychology, invited series of talks given to staff and postgraduate students in the Unit of Social Psychology, Universitat Autonoma, Barcelona, June 2009.
  • Body, action and communication of emotion', invited talk at the ESRC seminar series Researching Affect and Affective Communication, Cardiff University, 2009.
  • 'Soul as Breath: Meditation as a Body Pedagogic' symposium of the Body Pedagogic project, University of Portsmouth, 2006.
  • 'Elias and rational humanism: dealing with the ambivalence of civilization' keynote address at the Norbert Elias in the Twentieth Century international conference, University of Leicester, 2006.
  • 'Metaphor, Emotion and the Lived Body', invited address given to the Embodying Sociology Session, 37th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2005.
  • 'Flexible Biographies: Fragmentation, Crisis and Biographical Narratives in Modernity', Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, University of York, 2005.
  • 'The Healthy Citizen: Fitness and Consumerism in Contemporary Capitalism', keynote address given to the International Advisory Board of the Youth Cultures as Health Literacy research project, Finnish Youth Research Network, Tuusula Conference Centre, Helsinki, 2004.
  • 'Narratives in the Times and Places of Everyday Life', keynote address given to the Narrative, Memory and Everyday Life conference, University of Huddersfield, 2004.
  • 'Embodied Perception and Technologies of Being', Visiting Professorial address at Universitat Autonoma, Barcelona, 2001

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