Sociology of Mental Health Seminar Series

Organisers: Baptiste Brossard, Department of Sociology, University of York, and Ewen Speed, School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex.

Online: Zoom link on demand.

This monthly seminar series aims at connecting researchers interested in social and critical perspectives to mental health and providing a platform to exchange ideas in this area. Potential topics of discussion include: lived experiences of mental health; inequalities and injustice in mental health, which involves issues surrounding exclusion, stigma and limited opportunities; labour market participation; theories of mental health and madness; methodological issues in the study of mental illness; social welfare; disability, decolonial and mad studies; caregiving; and the politics of mental health. These topics reflect the overall idea that, at a time when the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses and the use of mental health services dramatically increase in most countries in the world, social approaches can bring significant contributions to the understanding of the ‘construction’ of mental health issues and their contexts of production. 

The series will welcome anyone involved in knowledge production in this area to present either works in progress or already published ones, including book launches. Researchers in sociology but also cognate disciplines such as anthropology, history, philosophy, critical psychology and public health, are encouraged to send presentation proposals. 

Please contact Baptiste Brossard ( for any questions


2023/2024 Programme

November 3, 4pm: Alex Barnard (NYU) – ‘Conservatorship: Inside California’s system of coercion and care for mental illness’

November 20, 4pm: Sik Domonkos (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) – ‘Networks of depression’

December 11, 4pm: James Fletcher (University of Manchester) – ‘The biopolitics of dementia’.

January 15, 4pm: ‘Teaching the sociology of mental health’ – discussion with an introduction from Ruth Graham (Newcastle University)

February 5, 4pm: Alison Fixsen (University of Westminster) – ‘The biopolitics of eating disorders’

February 26, 4pm: Simon Armour (Sheffield Hallam University) – ‘Understanding how experiences of volunteering affect psychological wellbeing in the contexts of health inequalities’

March 18, 4pm: Grzegorz Sokol (University of Warsaw) – ‘Working through what is. Depression and the predicament of reality in Poland’

April 8, 4pm: ‘The sociology of trauma’ – roundtable with Baptiste Brossard (University of York), Vivienne Matthies-Boon (Radboud University), and Hilary Stewart (University of Lancaster).

April 29, 4pm: Gareth Thomas (University of Cardiff) – ‘Can you tell me what "ethics" means?': reflections on doing research with people with learning disabilities’

May 20, 12.30-13.30: Heather Sutherland (York St Johns University) – Thinking Differently about "Student Mental Health and Wellbeing" in the UK: Learning from Undergraduates’ Storied ‘University Life’ Self-Reflections’.

June 3, 4pm: Anne Irvine and Cassandra Lovelock (King's College London) – ‘Understanding mental health in the UK welfare system: representations of distress among working-age benefit claimants’

June 20, 4pm: Evan Sedgwick Jell (Birkbeck, University of London) – ‘Mental Health, Labour Discipline and Relative Surplus Value’