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About us

Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck was founded in 2000 and aims to investigate a wide range of contemporary social, political and personal concerns.

What field of study is Psychosocial Studies?

  • The innovative, interdisciplinary field of Psychosocial studies is concerned with the interconnections between individual and group identities and historical and contemporary social and political formations.
  • It seeks to link discussions of our precarious and increasingly interconnected collective histories with our ordinary, everyday, intimate and psychic life.
  • Psychosocial Studies holds that conventional distinctions found in many areas of Sociology and Psychology between the 'psychological' and the 'social' are untenable and that our 'inner' and 'outer' worlds are empirically and theoretically inseparable.
  • Psychosocial Studies has been emerging in the UK since the 1990s as a distinct multidisciplinary field of study.
  • The Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck is at the forefront of this new discipline which stretches across and draws from the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.
  • The Department is unique in its interdisciplinary focus and draws together academics and clinicians from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds to think together about the relation between social and psychic life.

What questions does Psychosocial Studies address?

  • Academics and clinicians in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck have particular interests in several interdisciplinary areas such as violence and war; human rights, citizenship and social movements; communities, collective life and urban multiculture; ‘race’ and racism; empire and postcoloniality; religion and diaspora; gender and sexuality; youth and ageing; intimacy; parenting; care, friendship and love and learning and higher education.

What is unique about the Birkbeck Department of Psychosocial Studies?

  • Staff members have a keen interest in developing new theoretical paths across a number of critical fields of inquiry as well as forging new, innovative psychosocial research methods.
  • The Department is genuinely interdisciplinary with academics coming from backgrounds in anthropology, cultural and postcolonial studies, education studies, gender and sexuality studies, literary studies, critical psychology, psychoanalytic studies, sociology and urban studies.
  • Academic programmes in psychosocial studies, psychoanalytic studies, education studies, sociology and cultural and postcolonial studies sit alongside Counselling & Psychotherapy at Birkbeck which is a cluster of programmes within the Department designed for those who wish to train as a counsellor or psychotherapist putting theory and practice into dynamic relation.

What careers do our programmes lead to?

  • Our programmes are designed for those who want to develop new careers or strengthen existing ones in areas such as social research; health and social care; counselling, psychotherapy and mental health; education; arts, media, journalism and the creative industries and for those who wish to follow professional pathways in the public and charitable sectors such as social policy, law, youth and community work, urban planning and housing and numerous other areas.
  • Our programmes will also be of interest to those who wish to pursue an academic career in Psychosocial Studies, Sociology, Cultural and Postcolonial Studies and Education Studies or in the social sciences or arts and humanities more broadly.