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Dr Rusten Menard

Lecturer

Relations

Biography

I am a sociologically oriented critical social psychologist who joined the University of Portsmouth in August 2018, shortly after completing my PhD at the University of Helsinki, Finland. My PhD, which was fully funded by Finnish grant foundations and a salaried PhD position at the University of Helsinki, was a methodological and empirical investigation dealing with representations and deployments of social values in constructions of identity and ideology. My focus was on how values that are typically assumed as enhancing societal wellbeing – such as equality and tolerance – are formulated in exclusionary ways and used ideologically to demarcate boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. I also considered how being explicitly marked as psychiatrically, medically and socially ‘abnormal’ in relation to institutionalised norms on “sociability” and/or “sex/gender” might interact with how social values are negotiated in identification and in ideological work.

At the University of Helsinki, I have taught a methodological module for master's students in the social sciences entitled 'Methodologies on Discourse and Identity'. I still teach this every spring at the University of Helsinki, as an intensive three-day workshop. I am also an expert in the Atlas.ti, a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) package.

My work is inspired by social semiotics, feminist, queer and intersectional theory, critical discourse studies, and critical realist ontologies. I have methodological expertise in critical discourse analysis inspired by systemic functional linguistics, and positioning theory.

Research Interests

My research interests include motivated language and the discursive construction of values and identification, power and resistance from subjugated standpoints, nationalist and homonationalist discourse, and discursive and qualitative methodologies.

I am currently involved in two research projects. In one of these, I am analysing Finnish parliamentary talk in communicative contexts of migration and immigrants. My focus is on how discourses on Finnish gender equality may provide readily available cultural resources for building and mobilising xenophobic and misogynist positions in the context of meaning-making around gendered violence.

My other research, which is situated in the British national context, deals with LGBTQI+ young people's experiences of sexual harrassment and violence. My focus is on how these experiences interact with meaning making and identification around gender and sexuality.

Teaching Responsibilities

My main teaching contributions are in Introduction to Social Psychology (L4), and in Critical Psychology (L5).

I also contribute to teaching in Developing Your Sociological Imagination (L4), and in 2019 contributed to teaching in Gender and Sexuality (L5, L6). I lead weekly seminars in Developing Your Sociological Imagination (L4), and in Research Design and Analysis (L4).

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