Matt York – Love & Alter-Globalisation

Please welcome our newest member

Matt York is a PhD student in the Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland.

He is a development practitioner/researcher with an MRes in Development Practice from the School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK.  His current PhD focus is a scholar-activist research project ‘Love and Alter-Globalisation: Towards a New Development Ethic’ which explores a political concept of love as an ethical resource for the alter-globalisation movement and international development, in pursuit of principled and non-violent revolutionary social change.  His work places a particular emphasis on love as a key concept in political theory/philosophy and its potential application in the revolutionary transformation (alter-globalisation) of contemporary global capitalism, and in developing a new theory of social order.

You can follow his PhD research at


JPRS Special issue on Critical Love Studies

Newest member Martin Purcell (Huddersfield)

Martin Purcell is a Senior Lecturer / Course Leader (Youth & Community Work) in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield, and a member of HudCRES (the Centre for Research in Education & Society).


Martin worked for over twenty years in community development and youth work, employed in both the voluntary and statutory sectors to support various initiatives in diverse communities in Wales, Scotland and England.  For the past twelve years, Martin has worked in higher education, initially as a contract researcher (conducting evaluations of government-funded programmes, including the New Deal for Communities, the Children’s Fund and the Youth Contract), and more recently as a lecturer in Youth & Community Work studies.  His involvement in community work continues: as a Trustee of a local charity promoting the mental and emotional wellbeing of children and young people; and volunteering with a number of local groups, including the Scouts and an organisation welcoming refugees and asylum seekers into the community.


Martin’s research into the translation of professional (community development) values into practice raised more questions than in answered, particularly in relation to ‘how’ practitioners enact some of the more ethereal aspirations of the profession.  The work of Paulo Freire underpins much of the teaching of community work practice (including youth work), and Martin is keen to explore with practitioners working in a range of contexts how they view Freire’s assertion that ‘education’ in all its forms is an ‘act of love’.  He is currently engaged in conversations with people supporting children and young people – in schools, youth work settings and offering mental health services – exploring their perception of the importance of ‘love’ as an element of their professional relationships with the young people with whom they work.  This work draws on Jools Page’s concept of ‘professional love’ in the early years, exploring the extent to which it can be applied in work with older children and young people.

Peter Oakes, What’s love got to do with it? Long-term support and love by paid staff in psychological health and wellbeing services.

At the Annual General Meeting of the Psychotherapy Section of the British Psychological Society back in 1995, David Smail drew on his earlier publications and suggested that:
“One of the principal things, and sometimes the only thing, psychotherapy – even good psychotherapy – offers its clients is a commodity which is not widely or plentifully available elsewhere: that is, love.” (Smail, 1995, p 1)
In this presentation, we seek to consider whether an acknowledgement of the primacy of relationship and specifically, love, might enhance our understanding and delivery of services for people – especially people who, as a result of old age, long term mental health need or disability, require the long term support and love of paid staff.


Jo Britton (Sheffield) on The Lives of Muslim Men in Rotherham

Jo Britton, Exploring the lives of Muslim Men: Family, Community and Generation.

Despite a sustained research focus on Muslims, relatively little is known about the emotional lives of Muslim men. Evidence shows that the recent child sexual exploitation crisis in Rotherham has had a detrimental effect on community relations and a distinct impact on local Muslim men. My current research is exploring how Muslim men have been affected by the crisis in gender- and generationally- specific ways and how it has impacted on gender and generational relations within both their family and local community.  In-depth qualitative interviews with Muslim men and women provide a unique opportunity to explore Muslim men’s emotional lives and intimate, affective relationships.  This involves paying close attention to discursive, performative and relational aspects of love that preliminary fieldwork indicates are likely to feature in my research participants’ accounts of their everyday lived experiences in the wake of the crisis. My paper raises the question of how a critical research focus on love can help to challenge the persistent problem-centred focus on Muslim men and related dominant representations of Muslim men as key repositories of violence.

The presentation can be downloaded here:



Charlotte Cowell (Hull) on love and dementia care

You can download her presentation here.


Charlotte Cowell, The role of care home staff in facilitating continuity of love for couples living with dementia following a transition into residential care.

Objectives: Dementia care is most commonly provided by spouses, suggesting that caregiving may be an act of love. The experience of love has so far not been explored in dementia research, and very little is known about spouses’ experiences of love when their spouse diagnosed with dementia moves into residential care, and how care home staff may be involved in facilitating this.  A qualitative study was therefore conducted to explore the experiences and meaning of love in relationships for spouses married to a person living with dementia following a transition into residential care.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine older adults who were married to a partner diagnosed with dementia who lived in residential care. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to understand the subjective lived experiences of love in the participants’ relationships.

Results: Overall, the analysis identified three super-ordinate themes which highlighted the tensions faced within love and relationships for participants’ and their spouses, with progression of dementia and the transition into care. Love could be identified through the performative action of care, which became a natural addition to the relationship as the dementia progressed. Following a transition into care, participants identified that care homes often play a key role in either facilitating or hindering continuity of their caring role, and as such, contribute to the continuity of love.