What is Psychosocial Studies?
Psychosocial Studies is a vibrant field of academic inquiry that has been emerging in the UK since the 1990s, and that is increasingly attracting international interest. It studies the ways in which psychic experience and social life are fundamentally entangled with each other. Psychological issues and subjective experiences cannot be abstracted from societal, cultural and historical contexts, nor can they be deterministically reduced to the social. Similarly, social and cultural worlds have psychological dimensions and are shaped by psychic processes and intersubjective relations.
Psychosocial Studies is characterised by a) its explicit inter or trans-disciplinarity, b) its development of non-positivistic theory, method and praxis and c) its orientation towards progressive social and personal change. Psychosocial research draws inspiration from a range of sources including sociology, psychoanalysis, critical psychology, critical theory, post-structuralism, process philosophy, feminism, post-colonial theory, queer theory and affect theory. Various “dialects” are in the process of emergence.
Theoretical and empirical research in Psychosocial Studies encompasses a wide range of subject matter including:
subjectivity, intimacy and personal life; mental health and well-being; politics, citizenship and social movements; art, culture, media and technology; social policy, social work and welfare; education and learning; violence, crime and social justice; gender and sexuality; race, racism, ethnicity and religion; nations and states; migration and diaspora; youth, ageing, development and the life-course; embodiment, biology, health and medicine; groups, communities and collective life; work, employment and organisations; the environment, ecology and climate change.
Psychosocial Studies has a strong link with several fields of practice, particularly psychotherapy and counselling, psychoanalysis and group analysis, social work and social policy, group relations and organisational consultancy.
About the APS
The Association for Psychosocial Studies was formed in 2013 in order to formalize and carry forward the work of developing Psychosocial Studies in the UK. The APS emerged out of the Psychosocial Studies Network, which had organised annual conferences at the major university bases for Psychosocial Studies since 2008. The APS is a charitable trust and is recognised as a Learned Society by the Academy of Social Sciences.
Our objectives are:
a) the advancement of education and research in the field of Psychosocial Studies, and publication of the results of such research,
b) the promotion of the field of Psychosocial Studies as an academic discipline and the dissemination of knowledge concerning Psychosocial Studies,
c) the advancement of education for the public benefit in Psychosocial Studies across different disciplines and educational sectors,
d) to contribute to the advancement of public health and well-being, particularly in relation to mental health.