Success: UEL awarded ESRC seminar series grant to address personality disorders

Dr David Jones from UEL’s School of Law and Social Sciences has been awarded £27K from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to run a seminar series that aims to encourage cross disciplinary work on issues surrounding the problems posed by Anti Social Personality Disorder.

The seminar series is designed to promote thought and provide new perspectives on the difficulties posed by people who have major problems in their lives and their relationships – who are sometimes given the diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’.  It will bring together perspectives from a range of academic disciplines along with professionals representing different aspects of the health and welfare services, and with service users who have had direct experience of living with these difficulties.

Dr Jones will lead the project with the cooperation of co-investigators from The University of Manchester and East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The seminars, along with subsequent publicity and publications, will raise the profile of psychosocial studies, a newly developing field which has just achieved recognition as a learned society by the Academy of Social Sciences. UEL is host to one of the major centres of psychosocial studies in the UK.

This research builds on a collaborative relationship with the Millfields Unit, part of East London Hospital Trust. This is a forensic unit that treats serious offenders who have the diagnosis of personality disorder and it hosts a Postgraduate Certificate called ‘Working Psychosocially with Personality Disorder’ run in collaboration with Psychosocial Studies at UEL.

Dr Jones said: “The social problems created by those whose behaviour falls under the category of ‘Antisocial Personality Disorder’ are considerable. Despite the fact that these kinds of difficulties have been receiving medical diagnoses for 200 hundred years, we are still struggling to understand the nature of the problem. This project is driven by the belief that there is currently too great a reliance on medical and psychological perspectives and that these problems need also to be understood in their social and cultural contexts.

“We are bringing together experts from a range of disciplines such as history, criminology, psychoanalysis, media studies, sociology along with practitioners in the field. This seminar series aims to have an impact on academic research and practice by building up interdisciplinary research capacity in this area.”

Dr Jones is currently writing a book for Routledge titled:  Disordered Personalities and Crime: A Psychosocial History of ‘Moral Insanity’. This is due to appear in 2014.

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