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Professor Steve Brown

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of People and Organisations
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • steven.brown

Professional biography

Steve is Professor of People and Organizations at The Open University. Prior to joining in 2018, he was a Professor at the University of Leicester for eleven years. Before this, he lectured at Loughborough University and Keele University, and held a Visiting Professorship at the Universiteit voor Humanistiek in the Netherlands. Steve is Associate Editor (Monographs) for The Sociological Review and co-editor of Memory Studies. He is the author of three books and over one hundred peer reviewed articles. Steve has received research funding from European Commission, ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, British Council, Leverhulme Trust and other charity bodies. He has acted as a reviewer and rapporteur on a number of EC funding schemes, and for numerous UK and other European research councils. 

Research interests

Steve's research has two major threads. He has developed a practice-based approach to the study of remembering in organizational and institutional contexts that focuses on how memories of specific events and persons are recruited by organizational processes and the ways in which this shapes relationships between stakeholders (e.g. patients and doctors; social work professionals and children; carers and elderly clients). He is particularly interested in ‘vulnerable’ populations whose memories are often treated as problematic, and a subset of ‘difficult’ memories that he and Paula Reavey have conceptualised as ‘vital memories’. He also studies mental health service users experiences of care provision across inpatient and community services. He has conducted a number of studies of secure mental health settings, with a concern for how the space of detention shapes subjectivity, relationships, sexuality and overall recovery. He is also known for his contribution to contemporary theorising in management and organization studies, especially in relation to the application of process philosophy. He is the author of Vital Memory and Affect: Living With A Difficult Past (2015; Routledge; with Paula Reavey), Psychology Without Foundations: History, Philosophy and Psychosocial Theory (2009; Sage; with Paul Stenner) and The Social Psychology of Experience: Studies in Remembering and Forgetting (2005; Sage; with David Middleton). 

Teaching interests

Steve has over twenty five years of experience of teaching in Higher Education across a number of social science areas (Management Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work) and at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate provision. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Steve has taught courses and workshops in a wide range of European, African, Asian and South American countries. 


Agents and spectres: Life-space on a medium secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-01)
Reavey, P.; Brown, S. D.; Kanyeredzi, A.; McGrath, L. and Tucker, I.
Social Science & Medicine, 220 (pp. 273-282)
Embodiment and Place in Autobiographical Remembering: A Relational-Material Approach (2018-08-15)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Journal of Consciousness Studies ((In Press))
Deleuze, Spinoza and Psychology: Notes towards an ‘experience ecology’ (2018)
Brown, Steven D.
Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 14 (pp. 51-66)
Living ‘in between’ outside and inside: The forensic psychiatric unit as an impermanent assemblage (2018)
Tucker, Ian M.; Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; McGrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place ((Early Access))
Dark Organizational Theory (2017-06-01)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(3) (pp. 280-295)
False memories of epistemic consensus (2017-06-01)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
Culture & Psychology, 23(2) (pp. 171-185)
Legal professionals and witness statements from people with a suspected mental health diagnosis (2017-05)
Reavey, Paula; Wilcock, Rachel; Brown, Steven D.; Batty, Richard and Fuller, Serina
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 46(3) (pp. 94-102)
Violence and creation: The recovery of the body in the work of Elaine Scarry (2016-12-01)
Brown, Steven D.
Subjectivity, 9(4) (pp. 439-458)
Bursting Bubbles of Interiority: Exploring space in experiences of distress and rough sleeping for newly homeless people (2018-08-29)
McGrath, Laura; Weaver, Tassie; Reavey, Paula and Brown, Steven D.
In: McGrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula eds. The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications (pp. 135-148)
ISBN : 9781138643932 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Rethinking function, self and culture in ‘difficult’ Autobiographical Memories (2018-01-15)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Wagoner, Brady ed. Handbook of Culture and Memory (pp. 159-181)
ISBN : 9780190230821 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Contextualising Autobiographical Remembering: An expanded view of memory (2017-12-07)
Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula
In: Mead, Michelle L.; Harris, Celia B.; Van Bergen, Penny; Sutton, John and Barnier, Amanda J. eds. Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research, and Applications (pp. 197-215)
ISBN : 9780198737865 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford