Prof Erica Burman

Professor of Education

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Research interests

Current Research

Post-human developmental psychology

Intersectionality and inequality: conceptual and methodological debates

Educational intimacies: emotions in education

Impacts of 'austerity' measures on children and families

Child as method: postcolonial approaches

Supplementary schooling: interrogating educational processes

Conceptualising pedagogical practices for sustainability

Emotions, learning and personal/political transformation: Frantz Fanon and education



Recent Research Themes

Childhood studies, Child Rights and Developmental Psychology - addressing contested but fruitul relationship between recent developments in childhood-related research, policies and practices at international and national levels, and their relationships with and consequences for conceptual and methodological approaches and policy applications.

Beyond Women-And-Children: childhood, development and representation - focused on exploring intersections between gendered and childhood representations in relation to national identities and neoliberal subjectivities, as reflected in pedagogical practices inscribed within popular culture addressing mothers as well as children.

State, Culture and Gender: connecting structural and interpersonal violence - includes several major funded feminist antiracist projects on domestic abuse and minoritisation. These faciltiated alliances across different minoritised commuities as well as evaluating and prefiguring innovative forms of policy and service delivery response to domestic abuse. The projects connected mental health with public order and public health issues, and highlighted intersecting forms of marginalisation. The 30 month Women Asylum Seekers from Pakistan (WASP) research project (2005-8) was a transnational research project between Pakistan and the UK conducted under my supervision, hosted by South Manchester Law Centre, which continues to influence asylum decision-making. The final project Safe to Return? is available online.

Engendering and Educating Group Analysis - connected developments in social theory, especially involving perspectives on gender and sexuality. Group Analysis as a therapeutic, organisational and educational practice ahs longstanding connections with critical theory. This project juxtaposed contemporary social theory with group analysis to promote deeper engagement and mutual evaluation of each, and connected group analysis with other analytical modalities including exploring links with feminist pedagogies.

Professionalisation and 'Ethics' within Psychology and Psychotherapies -  addressed tensions arising through recent and rapid moves towards greater regulation and standardisation of psychotherapeutic trainings and practices, in a context of centralisation and competition marked by increasing (value accorded) academic accreditation. It explored transitions in understandings of policy and practice generated by professionalisation and associated technologies and bureaucracies.

Group Analysis and Feminist Practice in Japan. This explored cultural configurations of 'self', 'community' and 'group membership' as reflected in psychoanalytic and gropu analytic theory, juxtaposed with feminist therapies. An exploration of perspectives from individual and group analysts in Japan, including feminist counsellors and therapists, based around a 4 week research visit to Japan (part-funded by the Daiwa Foundation), with further visits in 2007, 2010 and 2012 (the latter funded by the Japanese Society for Social Psychology).


Erica Burman is Professor of Education, at the Institute of Education, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK. She has published extensively in the areas of critical developmental psychology, feminist theory, childhood and educational studies, and state and interpersonal violence in relation to minoritised women and children. She is an activist researcher and methodologist, drawing on qualitative and discursive approaches to challenge normalizing and pathologising practices across developmental, educational and mental health arenas. She is a past Chair (2009-11) of the Psychology of Women of the British Psychological Society. She is also a Group Analyst (Full Member of the Institute of Group Analysis, London) and a registered member of the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP).

As a feminist critical psychologist and psychotherapist, Erica has many interests, including critically evaluating the relations between different notions of development (child, human, social, national and international); exploring how representations of childhood function culturally in policies and across a range of media and memorial practices; critical approaches to models of mental health and therapeutic provision; intersectionalities of 'culture, gender, racialisation, class, age and (dis)ability as they function across sites of theory and practice; educational discourses within and beyond formal educational arenas; and emotional dynamics of educational processes and organisations. .She has been involved in various action research projects, working in partnership with community and activist organisations around child welfare and educational issues, asylum and refugee issues, mental health and violence. She works to support and generate politically engaged and analytical forms of qualitative inquiry, theoretically and methodologically. Most recently she has been engaged with extending the engagement between critical developmental psychological, educational and childhood studies debates via postcolonial theory, specifically with reference to the work of Frantz Fanon.

Other research

Journal Editorial Responsibilities

Annual Review of Critical Psychology, Changes: International Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, Childhood: a global journal of child research, Das Argument, Emotion, Space & Society, Gender, Place & Culture (1992-2002), Feminism & Psychology (Editorial Board, then International Advisory Board), European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, Journal of Health Management, International Journal of Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood, International Journal of Children's Rights, Psicologias, Qualitative Research in Psychology, Teknokultura: Revista de Cultural Digital y Movimientos Sociales, Teoria y Critica de la Psicologia, Theory and Psychology, Yearbook of Research of the Faculty of Psychology, University of Buenos Aires

Recent Research Projects

2008-9 'Children and hearing voices: documenting accounts and developing educational resources' (£10,000, in partnership with the Hearing Voices Network)

2005-8 'Women Asylum Seekers from Pakistan Escaping Domestic Violence', Big Lottery Fund (£208,000) (Academic supervisor to the project, funded direct by BLF to South Manchester Law Cenntre)

2001-2 'From Violence to Independence: domestic violence and minoritisation' - European Social Fund Research Project (Policy Field 5, # 911164NW3) - £115,609

2000-1 'Attempted Suicide and Self Harm - South Asian Women' - Health Action Zone funded (£27,609)


Research and projects