I joined the Department of Psychology in January 2014, bringing with me a wealth of research expertise in applied qualitative health research and experience of working across disciplinary boundaries. I have been involved with studies that used inquest files to understand lives ending in suicide; identified treatment preferences for diabetes using deliberative methods; critically assessed the role of gender in northwest England’s shared service industry; evaluated the Short Breaks for Disabled Children Pathfinder Programme; and investigated the links between chronic illness, depression and anxiety, and healthcare use.
I have a strong track record of research on chronic illness, and a long-standing interest in the study of welfare and well-being from critical and ethnographic perspectives. I have also worked on suicide and am developing study interests in the field of self-harm and addiction recovery.
I hold a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester. The research was based on over a year of ethnographic fieldwork and investigated ideas of 'normality', productivity, and personhood amongst a group of people diagnosed with mulitple sclerosis. The resulting thesis, titled 'Striving to be ‘Normal’ with MS: Embodied Hegemony in Northwest England' was examined by Professor Marilyn Strathern (University of Cambridge).
Before joining the Department of Psychology, I worked in consecutively more senior research roles on a series of prestigious, interdisciplinary research studies funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Department for Children, Schools, and Families (DCSF), and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). My employers include Cardiff University, the University of Manchester, Lancaster University, and the University of Liverpool. I also taught medical sociology, gender and health, and research methods in the Department of Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University.
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
English and German
Because you want to explore the borderlands of psychology, sociology, social anthropology and history.
Culture, Society, Community and Self
Contemporary and Historical Issues in Psychology
Child, Community and Society (Unit Leader)
Qualitative Methods in Forensic Psychology (Unit Leader)
I regularly supervise MSc students across a range of postgraduate degrees.
PhD completions: Anne-Marie Martindale, Debbie Thackray (DoS)
Current PhD students: Rabeya Riaz (DoS), Khadijah Diskin (DoS), Allison Tingle (1st SV), Ben Leinster (1st SV), Chris Telford (1st SV)
Personhood, technologies and agency are key themes shaping my research interests:
Internationally, I have collaborated with Dr Susanne Højlund Department of Anthropology and Ethnography, University of Aarhus, Århus, Denmark.
My career trajectory has awarded me the opportunity to work with a wide range of UK colleagues across disciplines (Clinical Psychology, Disability Studies, Health Research, Primary Care, Sociology) and institutions (Cardiff University, Keele University, Lancaster University, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, and University of Sheffield).
B. Fincham, S. Langer, J. Scourfield, M. Shiner (2011). Understanding Suicide. Palgrave Macmillan UK.
S. Langer, G. Bunn, N. Fellows (2018). Towards a Psychosocial Pedagogy: The 'student journey', intersubjectivity, and the development of agency. Learning and Teaching in Action. 13(1),
M. Collins, S. Langer, V. Welch, E. Wells, C. Hatton, et al. (2014). A Break from Caring for a Disabled Child: Parent Perceptions of the Uses and Benefits of Short Break Provision in England. British Journal of Social Work. 44(5), pp.1180-1196.
V. Welch, M. Collins, C. Hatton, E. Emerson, J. Robertson, et al. (2014). Short break and respite services for disabled children in England: Comparing children's and parents' perspectives of their impact on children. Children and Society. 28(6), pp.478-494.
C. Hunter, C. Chew-Graham, S. Langer, A. Stenhoff, J. Drinkwater, et al. (2013). A qualitative study of patient choices in using emergency health care for long-term conditions: the importance of candidacy and recursivity. Patient Educ Couns. 93(2), pp.335-341.
S. Langer, C. Chew-Graham, C. Hunter, EA. Guthrie, P. Salmon (2013). Why do patients with long-term conditions use unscheduled care? A qualitative literature review. Health Soc Care Community. 21(4), pp.339-351.
J. Drinkwater, P. Salmon, S. Langer, C. Hunter, A. Stenhoff, et al. (2013). Operationalising unscheduled care policy: a qualitative study of healthcare professionals' perspectives. Br J Gen Pract. 63(608), pp.e192-e199.
V. Welch, C. Hatton, E. Emerson, M. Collins, J. Robertson, et al. (2012). Using direct payments to fund short breaks for families with a disabled child. Child Care Health Dev. 38(6), pp.900-909.
C. Hatton, V. Welch, M. Collins, E. Wells, S. Langer, et al. (2012). Evaluating the impact of short breaks on families with a disabled child/young person: Findings and questions. JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY RESEARCH. 56(7-8), pp.735-735.
J. Scourfield, B. Fincham, S. Langer, M. Shiner (2012). Sociological autopsy: an integrated approach to the study of suicide in men. Soc Sci Med. 74(4), pp.466-473.
V. Welch, C. Hatton, E. Emerson, J. Robertson, M. Collins, et al. (2012). Do short break and respite services for families with a disabled child in England make a difference to siblings? A qualitative analysis of sibling and parent responses. Children and Youth Services Review. 34(2), pp.451-459.
J. Robertson, C. Hatton, E. Wells, M. Collins, S. Langer, et al. (2011). The impacts of short break provision on families with a disabled child: an international literature review. Health Soc Care Community. 19(4), pp.337-371.
SG. Langer, S. Hojlund (2011). An Anthropology of Welfare: Journeying towards the Good Life. Anthropology in Action. 18(3),
M. Shiner, J. Scourfield, B. Fincham, S. Langer (2009). When things fall apart: Gender and suicide across the life-course. Soc Sci Med. 69(5), pp.738-746.
R. Evans, I. Kotchetkova, S. Langer (2009). Just around the corner: rhetorics of progress and promise in genetic research. Public Underst Sci. 18(1), pp.43-59.
B. Fincham, J. Scourfield, S. Langer (2008). The impact of working with disturbing secondary data: reading suicide files in a coroner's office. Qual Health Res. 18(6), pp.853-862.
S. Langer, J. Scourfield, B. Fincham (2008). Documenting the Quick and the Dead: A Study of Suicide Case Files in a Coroner's Office. The Sociological Review. 56(2), pp.293-308.
I. Kotchetkova, R. Evans, S. Langer (2008). Articulating Contextualized Knowledge: Focus Groups and/as Public Participation?. Science as Culture. 17(1), pp.71-84.
B. Fincham, S. Scourfield, SG. Langer (2007). Documentary Data: Single Medium, Multiple Modes. Qualitative Researcher. 5(June),
SG. Langer, E. Walmsley, M. Fumanti, H. Knox (2006). From Play to Knowledge: a Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology. Anthropology Matters Journal. 8(2),
M. Fumanti, H. Knox, SG. Langer (2005). New Methods in the Anthropology of Science and Technology (ASA Postgraduate Panel). Anthropology Matters Journal. 7(1),
SG. Langer (2005). Protecting Patients - Managing Persons. Anthropology Matters Journal. 7(1),
S. Langer (2010). The Matter of Death. J. Hockey, C. Komaromy, K. Woodthorpe. In: The Matter of Death: Space, Place and Materiality. Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp.85-99.
V. Welch, M. Collins, C. Hatton, E. Emerson, J. Robertson, et al. (2014). Short Break and Respite Services for Disabled Children in England: Comparing Children's and Parents' Perspectives of Their Impact on Children. Wiley
D. Howcroft, SG. Langer, C. Westrup Final Project Report: Women in North-West Shared Services (WiSS). , ESF.
J. Robertson, C. Hatton, E. Wells, M. Collins, SG. Langer, et al. The Impacts of Short Break Provision on Disabled Children and Families: an International Literature Review. , DCSF.
SG. Langer, M. Collins, V. Welch, E. Wells, C. Hatton, et al. A Report of Themes Emerging from Qualitative Research into the Impact of Short Break Provision on Families with Disabled Childrend. , DCSF.
SG. Langer CHOICE (2013). http://www.invo.org.uk/posttypenews/choice-choosing-health-options-in-chronic-care-emergencies:
I have been invited to present my work at research seminars at UK universities (Birmingham, Cardiff, Keele, Liverpool, Nottingham, St Andrews) and at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. I have also given talks and presented posters at national and international conferences (American Anthropological Association; Asia Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies; Association of Social Anthropologists; British Sociological Association; BSA Medical Sociology; Disability Studies Conference; Royal College of General Practitioners; Society of Academic Primary Care; Work, Employment and Society Conference).
“Understanding Suicide: A Sociological Autopsy Approach to the Study of Suicide” (How to Study Suicide), engage@Liverpool, The ‘How To’ Talk Series, http://www.liv.ac.uk/engage/thehowtotalkseries/, University of Liverpool, 17 November 2011
“Lives and Files: Inquest Documents as Ethnographic Artefacts”, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, 4March 2011
“Making the ‘Right’ Decision: Health-care Seeking by People with Long-term Conditions and Health Policy in the UK”, ESRC seminar series Rhetorics of Moderation: Politics and Pragmatics, Seminar Two: Expertise and the Media,Institute of Science and Society, University of Nottingham, 6-7 January, 2011
“Documenting the Quick and the Dead: a Study of Suicide Case Files in a Coroner’s Office”, Department of Anthropology and Ethnography, University of Aarhus, Århus, Denmark, 27 September 2007
“Personhood and Agency in Inquest Files Returning a Verdict of Suicide”, Research Institute for the Study of the Life Course, Joint Seminar Series, Keele University, Keele, 29 November
“‘Claiming New Things’: How Bureaucratic Technologies Make Objects and Persons” Investigating Welfare from an Anthropological Perspective, University of Aarhus, Århus, Denmark, 17-18 November 2005
“Making Nothing Ever Happen: Sociality in an MS Therapy Centre”, Medicine and Society Research Group, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 5 July 2006
“Understanding Welfare and Well-Being in a Globalised World”, European Association of Social Anthropologists Biennial Conference, Bristol University, Bristol, 18-21 September 2006, with S. Højlund (University of Aarhus)
“From Play to Knowledge: A Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology”, Manchester University, Department of Social Anthropology, Manchester University, Manchester, 21 March 2005, with M. Fumanti, H. Knox, and E. Walmsley (all University of Manchester)
“New Methods in Anthropology – Postgraduate Perspectives”, Association of Social Anthropologists Decennial Conference, University of Manchester, Manchester, 14-18 July 2003, with M. Fumanti, H. Knox (all University of Manchester)
• Anthropology Matters Journal
• BMC Family Practice
• British Journal of Social Work
• Health Expectations
• Journal of Psychosomatic Research
• Feminism and Psychology
• Patient Education and Counselling
• Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMiP) Bulletin
• Qualitative Research
• PLOS ONE
• Social Science Computer Review
• Sociology of Health and Illness
Department of Psychology Doctoral Scholarship. The Psychosocial Undergraduate: Opportunities and Threats Affording the Development of Autonomy and Agency. Geoff Bunn (co-applicant), (unsuccessful)
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Competition 36 Stage 1, Mixed-methods investigation of trajectories of Contact with Self-Harm, P. Taylor (University of Manchester) (PI), Susanne Langer (Co-I), Value £148,000.00 (unsuccessful)
Department of Psychology Graduate Teaching Assistant, In search of inspirational teaching: a psychosocial pedagogy of learning and teaching, Geoff Bunn (co-applicant), (successful)
ESRC Open Call, Getting On After Lived experience of early PSychosis (GOALS): Impact of early psychotic experiences upon life goals, P. Taylor (University of Manchester) (PI), Susanne Langer (Co-I), Value £925,446.98 (FEC), (unsuccessful)
CELT Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research Grant Towards a Psychosocial Pedagogy: The Student Journey, Intersubjectivity and the Development of Agency, G. Bunn & S.Langer (Co-PIs) (Manchester Metropolitan University), Value £3941.40 (successful)
Wellcome Foundation Collaborative Grant, Interpersonal Resources in Self-Harm (IRIS), P. Taylor (University of Manchester) (PI), S. Langer (Manchester Metropolitan University), C. Hunter (University of Leeds), N. Husain (University of Manchester), Value £370,000 (unsuccessful)
ERASMUS Mobility (Teaching), awarded by EU, to visit Danish University of Education (DPU), Copenhagen, to learn about postgraduate provision and internationalisation (successful)
ESRC, Interpersonal Resources in Self-Harm (IRIS), P. Taylor (University of Liverpool) (PI), S. Langer (Manchester Metropolitan University), C. Hunter (University of Leeds), Nusrat Husain (University of Manchester) Iris Benson (Mersey Care), to be submitted 8th May 2015, Value £500,000 (unsuccessful)
MMU Research Accelerator Grant, The Making of Clinical Psychologists, Value £4948 (unsuccessful)
BSS, leading UK outsourcer of public and customer contact services, for research on public information service provision, with D. Howcroft (Manchester Business School) , Value £8,000 (successful)
C-SAP Postgraduate Project Ref: PG 04-05 for Fields of Play – A Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology, with H. Knox (CRESC), Value: £1,000 (successful)
British Foundation of Women Graduates Grant No 192/2001-2002. Value: £1,500 (successful)
ESRC Doctoral Research Grant R 00429934262 (successful)
“Post-Show Talk: Lippy – A Play about Four Women’s Suicide Pact” (2015), Dead Centre & SICK! Festival, The Lowry, Manchester, 25 March
“Personal Approaches to the Help and Support by People who Self-Injure: Developing a Research Agenda” Langer, S. and Benson, I. (2015), Mind (Lancashire) Conference: Self-Harm, Blackburn, 2nd March
Applied Psychology and Well-Being Group (MMU)
Drug and Alcohol Research Group (MMU)
North-West Community Psychology Group
Greater Manchester Third Sector Research Network.
Policy guidance by the Department of Children, Schools and Families following recommendations of Langer, S., Collins M., Welch, V., Wells E., Hatton C., Robertson, J., Emerson, E. (2010) A Report on Themes Emerging from Qualitative Research into the Impact of Short Break Provision on Families with Disabled Children DCSF-RR221