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Dr David W Jones

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University in March 2017. I had previously been Head of Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London.

I have a broad interest in the development of psychosocial thinking for the insight it gives to understanding the relationship of the individual to the wider social group, My particular interests have been in understanding when that relationship appears to be problematic - notably, for example in the contexts of mental health issues and in terms of criminality.

The interest in the diagnosis of personality disorder, used in forensic settings led to the publication of Disordered Personalities and Crime: An Historical Analysis of Moral Insanity. (Routledge 2016).

I am Joint Editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies, and I am a founding member and Treasurer of the Association for Psychosocial Studies.

Research interests

I have carried out research in the field psychiatry publishing a study of the impact of serious mental illness on families as Myths Madness and the Family (Palgrave 2002).  The interest in understanding contemporary family relationships was carried through to work on an ESRC project based at the Open University on 'step-families' and older people. 

My main interest in the past 15 years or so has been using psychosocial perspectives to understand criminal behaviour.  The interest in developing a psychosocial criminology  led to the publication of Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality (Willan/Routledge 2008)The second editon of this book, with new chapters on 'Public Violence and Terror' and ''Race' and Crime' was published in 2020..

In the last few years I have been focusing attention and carrying out research on the borderline between issues of mental heath and offending - most particularly the issue of 'personality disorder'.  

I have published 'Disordered Personalities and Crime: An analysis of the history of moral insanity' (Routledge 2016), that examines the 200 year old history of the various diagnoses of moral insanity, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.

I have been awarded an ESRC grant to carry forward cross disciplinary research on this issue and a British Academy Grant to examine the historical emergence of linkages between 'psychiatric' thought and theories of delinquency.

Teaching interests

I am Module Chair for D241: Exploring Mental Health and Counselling.


[Editorial] The loneliness pandemic? (2024)
Sagan, Olivia and Jones, David W.
Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 17(1) (pp. 2-14)

Necessary Conjunctions: Hawkspur Camp and the transdisciplinary roots of therapeutic community (2023-10-13)
Jones, David W. and Fees, Craig
Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities ((Early access))

A history of borderline: disorder at the heart of psychiatry (2023-07-12)
Jones, David W.
Journal of Psychosocial Studies ([Early Access])

“A Bit Like You’re Going to therapy”: Reflective Practice Provision at the Mulberry Bush School (2023)
Price, Heather; Brown, Jo; Herd, Jane and Jones, David W.
Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 40(4) (pp. 517-536)

Whose borderline is it anyway? Editorial and overview (2023)
Jones, David W. and Lomani, Jo
Journal of Psychosocial Studies ((Early access))

[Editorial] Pandemics, governance and psychosocial thinking (2020-07)
Jones, David W. and Frost, Elizabeth
Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 13(2) (pp. 131-134)

Editorial (2019-07)
Frost, Elizabeth and Jones, David W.
Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 12(1-2) (pp. 3-7)

[Book Review] Permission to Narrate: Explorations in Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis, culture (2019)
Jones, David W.
Psychodynamic Practice, 25(1) (pp. 92-96)

Between love and behaviour management: the psychodynamic reflective milieu at the Mulberry Bush School (2018)
Price, Heather; Jones, David; Herd, Jane and Sampson, Alice
Journal of Social Work Practice, 32(4) (pp. 391-407)

Moral insanity and psychological disorder: the hybrid roots of psychiatry (2017-09-30)
Jones, David W.
History of Psychiatry, 28(3) (pp. 263-279)

Putting the Psyche into ‘Cultural Criminology’: A psychosocial understanding of looting, masculinity, shame and violence (2013-11)
Jones, David W.
The Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 7(1) (pp. 6-30)

Bubbles and Bees: Historical Exploration of Psychosocial Thinking (2011-01)
Jones, David
The Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, 5(1) (pp. 102-125)

Families and Serious Mental Illness: Working with Loss and Ambivalence (2004-10-01)
Jones, David W.
British Journal of Social Work, 34(7) (pp. 961-979)

Shame and Loss: narrative and identity in families with a member suffering from mental illness (2003)
Jones, David W.
International Journal of Critical Psychology, 10 (pp. 69-93)

Madness, the family and psychiatry (2002-05-01)
Jones, David W.
Critical Social Policy, 22(2) (pp. 247-272)

Stepfamilies and older people: evaluating the implications of family change for an ageing population (1999-03)
Bornat, Joanna; Dimmock, Brian; Jones, David and Peace, Sheila
Ageing and Society, 19(2) (pp. 239-410)

Distressing Histories and Unhappy Interviewing (1998)
Jones, David W.
Oral History Journal, 26(2) (pp. 49-56)

The TAPS Project. 6: New Long-Stay Psychiatric Patients and Social Deprivation (1992-11-01)
Thornicroft, Graham; Margolius, Olga and Jones, David
British Journal of Psychiatry, 161(5) (pp. 621-624)

Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches on Criminality to Violence (2020)
Jones, David Wyn
ISBN : 978-1-138-22288=5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Disordered Personalities and Crime: An analysis of the history of moral insanity (2016)
Jones, David
ISBN : 978-0-415-50217-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality (2008)
Jones, David W
ISBN : 978-1843923039 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Myths, Madness and the Family: The Impact of Mental Illness on Families (2002)
Jones, David W.
ISBN : 9780333776186 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke

Psychosocial Studies and Psychiatry: An Awkward History (2022-07)
Jones, D. W.
In: Frosh, S.; Vyrgioti, M. and Walsh, J. eds. Handbook of Psychosocial Studies (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 978-3-030-61510-9 | Publisher : Palgrave

Psychosocial Methodologies (2022)
Jones, David Wyn
In: Frick, Uwe ed. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods Design (pp. 586-603)
Publisher : SAGE | Published : London

Terror Violence and the Public Sphere (2018-05-03)
Jones, David W.
In: Adlam, John; Kluttig, Tilman and Lee, Bandy X. eds. Violent States and Creative States (pp. 147-159)
ISBN : 9781785925641 | Publisher : Jessica Kingsley | Published : London

Psychosocial Perspectives: Men, Madness and Violence (2012-06-12)
Jones, David W.
In: Hall, Steve and Winlow, Simon eds. New Directions in Criminological Theory (pp. 183-198)
ISBN : 9781843929130 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Conclusions: Psychosocial Studies – A Therapeutic Project? (2009-10-01)
Richards, Barry; Jones, David W.; Yates, Candida; Price, Heather and Day Sclater, Shelley
In: Day Sclater, Shelley; Jones, David W.; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (pp. 242-254)
ISBN : 9780230216853 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Houndmills

A Psychosocial Understanding of Personality Disorder: the historical problem of Moral Insanity (2009-09)
Jones, David W.
In: Day-Sclater, S.; Jones, D. W; Price, H. and Yates, C. eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (pp. 212-226)
ISBN : 9780230245136 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke

Introducing Psychosocial Studies of Emotion (2009)
Day Sclater, Shelley; Yates, Candida; Price, Heather and Jones, David W.
In: Day Sclater, Shelley; Jones, David W.; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (pp. 1-16)
ISBN : 9780230216853 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Houndmills

Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (2009)
Day Sclater, Shelley; Jones, David W; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds.
ISBN : 978-0-230-21685-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan UK | Published : Basingstoke

Psychopathy and the Media (2017-04-26)
Jones, David W.
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology, Oxford University Press, New York.