I haven't followed a traditional academic path and after my Bachelors (Lincoln) and Masters (Nottingham) in 2010, I took 8 years out of academia and employment due to ongoing illness. During this time, the world started to make less and less sense. Experiencing what is routinely described as a "circadian rhythm disorder", the rules that govern how and when we sleep seemed increasingly arbitrary, and this train of thought lead to my PhD project on the biopolitics of sleep. During this period, I produced my work on bias in the Work Capability Assessment (Ryan, 2016) and leaked a recording of my own assessment to provide solid evidence of behaviour the Government had been denying (Pring, 2017). This somewhat antagonistic approach of 'speaking truth to power' fuels my PhD - I want to look into and question the social role that our knowledge (accurate or otherwise) of sleep plays in our lives.
Motivation for PhD study
My project is deeply personal, drawing on my experiences as a disabled person that my academic knowledge in psychology could not explain. This began my foray into sociology and Disability Studes and in turn lead me to my supervisor Tom Campbell, particularly his work on dyslexia. Developing an understanding of my own life is a key motivation for me, but I have long been interested in the art of doing research - my Undergraduate dissertation (on the effect of personality differences on wellbeing in student accomodation) was one of my highest scoring assignments. I hope that developing and applying my skills in the context of, for me, a new discipline will make me better able to apply this knowledge to the social problems of disability.
Pring, J. (2017). Maximus ‘admits’ using brutal and dangerous suicide questions. Disability News Service. Retrieved from https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/maximus-admits-using-brutal-and-dangerous-suicide-questions/
Ryan, F. (2016). ‘Biased’ fit for work tests penalise poorer people. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/09/biased-fit-for-work-tests-poorer-disabled-people
My current interests focus around Disability Studies, particularly sleep and sleep-timing disorders. I am interested in further developing the sociology of impairment and understanding how embodied difference (e.g. different dim-light melatonin onset times) becomes understood and deployed as pathological. Where the 'Social Model' posits that disability comes from an interaction of an impaired body/mind with an inaccessible society, my research asks how impairment itself is constituted by society.
- BSc (Hons) Psychology with Clinical Psychology - First Class
- MSc Psychological Research Methods - Distinction
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Disability Studies