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Professor Michael Rustin


Department of Social Sciences ,

Michael acts as an academic link between UEL and the Tavistock Clinic.

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Michael acts as an academic link between UEL and the Tavistock Clinic.

He is a Member of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences, and an Associate Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society and Chair of its Applied Section.

He was recipient of the Gradiva Award (2002) of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (New York) for published work that advances psychoanalysis.


Member of the Editorial Boards of journals including:

  • Soundings (a founder editor )
  • The International Journal of Infant Observation
  • The European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling
  • The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (London editorial board)


  • Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society (contributing editor)
  • Trustee of the Amiel Melburn Trust Siya Philaphula, and the Raymond Williams Society, and previously a Trustee of Open Door.
  • Member of the Board of the London East Research Institute at UEL, and of the Organising Committee of the Tavistock Clinic Policy Seminar.

Conferences and Lectures

In recent years conference and seminar presentations given at universities and psychoanalytic institutions, in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, United States, South Africa, Italy, France, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, India and Taiwan, as well in the United Kingdom.


All publications

  • On the three volumes of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials , Journal of Child Psychotherapy, Volume 29, 1, 2, and 3. (2003) 
  • 'The Siblings of Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night' , with Margaret Rustin, in On Sibling Relationships, edited by Prophecy Coles. Karnac (2006)
  • 'Psychoanalysis and Culture in Secular Times,' in Culture and the Unconscious, ed. C.Bainbridge, S.Radstone, M.J. Rustin and C. Yates. Palgrave (2007)
  • 'The Regeneration of Doctor Who,' (with Margaret Rustin) in Children's Literature Annual 2 The Story and the Self: Some Psychoanalytic Perspectives, University of Hertfordshire (2008)
  • Clinical and Observational Research Methods in Psychoanalysis. This work has been concerned with the development of research methods relevant to psychoanalysis, and their philosophical basis. In addition to work published in the books cited above publications include Closely Observed Infants: Case-Studies in Psychoanalytic Observation, (edited with Lisa Miller, Margaret Rustin, Judy Shuttleworth), Duckworth, 1989
  • 'Looking in the Right Place: Complexity Theory, Psychoanalysis and Infant Observation', International Journal of Infant Observation, 5, 1 (Spring 2002)
  • 'Research in the Consulting Room', article for special research issue of Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 29, 3, (2002)
  • 'Infant Observation Research: What have we learned so far?' Infant Observation, Vol 9, 1, pp 35-52. April 2006
  • 'How do psychoanalysts know what they know?' in The Academic Face of Psychoanalysis, edited by Louise Braddock and Michael Lacewing. London: Routledge, 2009
  • 'Work Discussion: Implications for Research and Policy' in Margaret Rustin and Jonathan Bradley (eds), Work Discussion: Reflective Practice in Work with Children, Adolescents and Families. Karnac/Tavistock Clinic Book Series (2008)
  • Reason and Unreason: Psychoanalysis, Science, Politics Continuum (2001)
  • What do Child Psychotherapists Know? in Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Approaches, Emerging Findings, ed. Nick Midgley, Jan Anderson, Eve Grainger, Tanja Nesic-Vuckovic and Cathy Urwin. Routledge. (2009)
  • Emotions and Emotional Labour Co-ordinator, with Prof Pam Smith and Steve Smith of a Network for the study of Emotional Labour and Emotional Learning, and guest editor of two special issues of the European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy. Publications include 'Missing dimensions in the culture of welfare' , in Welfare and Culture in Europe, edited with Prue Chamberlayne, Andrew Cooper, and Richard Freeman. Jessica Kingsley (1999)
  • 'Learning about Emotions: the Tavistock Approach', European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Health', Vol. 6, No 3, (2003)
  • 'Private Solutions to Public Problems? Psychoanalysis and the Emotions', in Public Emotions, edited by Perri 6, C. Squire, S. Radstone, and A.Treacher. Basingstoke: Palgrave (2007)
  • The Missing Dimension: Emotions in the Social Sciences, in S. Day Sclater, D. Jones, H. Price and C. Yates (eds) Emotion: New Psychosocial Approaches. Palgrave (2009)
  • Socio-Biographical Methods The EU funded research project Social Strategies in Risk Societies (Sostris), co-directed with Prue Chamberlayne, led to a significant development in the application of socio-biographical methods to the study of social exclusion. The main publication from this project was Biography and Social Exclusion in Europe: experiences and life journeys, edited by Pruce Chamberlayne, Michael Rustin and Tom Wengraf. Policy Press (2002)
  • See also 'Reflections on the Biographical Turn in Social Science', in The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science, ed. P.M. Chamberlayne, Joanna Bornat and Tom Wengraf. Taylor Francis/ Routledge, (2000)
  • Social Theory and its Applications Contributions to sociological debate, both on contemporary social theorists and on applications of sociological theory to social issues. Publications include 'Absolute Voluntarism: Critique of a Post-Marxist Concept of Hegemony,' New German Critique, No. 42, (Winter l988)
  • 'Flexibility in Higher Education', in R. Burrows and B. Loader, Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare State, Routledge.( l994)
  • 'Equality in Postmodern Times,' in D. Miller & M. Walzer (eds) Pluralism, Justice and Equality, Oxford University Press, (l995)
  • 'Lacan, Klein and Politics: the positive and negative in psychoanalytic thought,' in Frosh, S. and Elliott, A., Psychoanalysis in Contexts, Routledge (1995)
  • 'Incomplete Modernity: Ulrich Beck's Risk Society,' Radical Philosophy, 67, (Summer l994)
  • 'The Future of Post-Socialism', Radical Philosophy, 74, Nov-Dec. (l995)
  • 'Attachment in Context', in S. Kraemer and Jane Roberts (ed.),The Politics of Attachment, London: Free Association Books (1996)
  • 'A New Social Evolutionism? W.G. Runciman's Rules of Sociological Method', New Left Review 234, (March-April 1999)
  • 'The Social Ecology of the Garden', in The National Botanical Garden of Wales, ed. Andrew Sclater. Harper Collins, (2000)
  • Reinterpreting Risk', in Schools of Thought: Twenty-Five Years of Interpretive Social Science. Joan W. \Scott and Debra Keates (eds). Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. (October 2001)
  • 'The Making of Political Identity: 'Edward Thompson and William Cobbett' , Soundings 24, (July 2003) 'A Practical Utopianism?' Review of Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Democracy Realised: the Progressive Alternative New Left Review 26, pp 136-147, (March/April 2004)
  • ‘The Long Revolution Revisited', Soundings 35 (Spring 2007)
  • 'Working from the Symptom: Stuart Hall's Method of Political Reasoning. in Brian Meeks (Ed.). Culture, Politics, Race and Diaspora: The Thought of Stuart Hall (Kingston: Ian Randle, (2007)
  • 'After London's Turning: Prospects and Legacies for Thames Gateway', in London's Turing: the Making of Thames Gateway, ed. P. Cohen and M. Rustin. Ashgate (2008)
  • Why are we more afraid than ever? The politics of anxiety after Nine Eleven, in Susan Levy and Alessandra Lemma (eds.) The Perversion of Loss: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Trauma. Whurr (2004)
  • 'Sport, Spectacle and Society: Understanding the Olympics', in G. Poynter and I. Macrury (ed), Olympic Cities: 2012 and the Remaking of London. Ashgate (2009)
  • 'Nouns and Verbs: old and new strategies for sociology', in Judith Burnett, Sydney Jeffers and Graham Thomas (ed) New Social Connections. Palgrave, (2010)
  • Politics Contributor to political debate from a socialist perspective , in New Left Review, Soundings, Open Democracy and other journals. Publications include 'The Politics of Post-Fordism, or The Trouble with "New Times",' New Left Review, l75 (June-July l989)
  • 'The Clintonisation of Labour', Soundings 4, (Autumn 1996)
  • The Perverse Modernisation of British Higher Education', in David Jary and Martin Parker, The New Higher Education: Issues and Directions for the Post-Dearing University, Staffordshire University Press (1998)
  • 'The Third Sociological Way', in Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer, eds. The Economics of the Third Way: Experiences from Around the World. London: Edward Elgar (2001)
  • ‘The Dynamics of Class and the Radical Right', Soundings, 20, (2002)
  • 'Empire: A Postmodern Theory of Revolution' (review of M. Hardt and A. Negri,, Empire), New Political Economy, 7, 3, (2002)
  • ''What Happened to Socialism?' Review of Geoff Eley's Forging Democracy: the History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000. History Workshop Journal 57, (2004)
  • 'Rethinking Audit and Inspection', Soundings 26, (Spring 2004)
  • 'Melanie Klein and Human Nature,' in Jon Mills (ed.) Other Banalities . Taylor and Francis. (2006)
  • 'Learning from the Victoria Climbie Inquiry', Journal of Social Work Practice, 18, 1. (March 2004)
  • 'Learning from Robert McNamara'. Soundings 32, (Spring 2006)
  • What's Wrong with Happiness?, in Soundings 36 (Summer 2007)
  • 'New Labour and the Theory of Globalisation' Critical Social Policy 28 (3) (2008)
  • 'Revisiting Charter 88', Parliamentary Affairs 62: 568-579 (2009)
  • 'Reflections on the Present Conjuncture', Soundings 43 (Winter 2009)
  • 'From the beginning to the end of neo-liberalism in Britain', Open Democracy (May 19 2010) 'Deficit mania could bring down the coalition', Open Democracy (June 2 2010)
  • 'What does psychoanalysis contribute to our understanding of failures of social connectedness?' in P. Redman (ed) Attachment: Sociology and Social World',. Manchester University Press, (2008)
  • 'States of Narcissism', with Margaret Rustin, in Mourning, Depression and Narcissism throughout the Life Cycle, edited by Eileen McGinley and Arthur Varchevker. Karnac (2010)
  • Psychoanalysis and Culture This work, most of it undertaken jointly with Margaret Rustin, has explored applications of psychoanalytic ideas to different cultural fields, particularly children's fiction, and drama. Publications include Narratives of Love and Loss: Studies in Modern Children's Fiction (2nd ed.) Karnac. (2001).
  • Mirror to Nature: Psychoanalysis and Society. Karnac (2002) 


Currently on Tavistock-UEL postgraduate courses taught at the Tavistock Clinic. These include the MA in Psychoanalytic Studies (Units on Drama, Psychoanalysis and Society, and Philosophy and Methods of Psychoanalysis) and the Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (Philosophy and Methods of Research). Previously taught Sociological Theory, Cultural Theory and Urban Sociology in the University.

Current PhD and Professional Doctorate students and their thesis topics include:

  • Diana Webster Thomas - Who do you think you are? Identity, identification and narcissistic phantasy in the psychic structures of the central characters in the prose fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro.
  • Camillus Metcalfe - For God's sake - an exploration of the life and work of women religious in Ireland in the twentieth century
  • David Forbes - Probation officers - the next generation.
  • Lydia Beckler - Who would be a residential social worker?
  • Marie Bradley - No-man's land? Making a map. The contribution of child psychotherapy to decision-making for looked-after children in transition.
  • Geraldine Crehan - A study of the effectiveness of the negative transference in child psychotherapy.
  • Danny O'Shea - Themes presenting in mothers of newborn babies in a neo-natal unit.
  • Davina Brown - Reflecting on the meaning of ADHD through child psychotherapeutic practice.