Dr Jenelle Clarke

Health Services Management Centre
Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Social Policy
University of Birmingham
Park House
40 Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham B15 2RT
United Kingdom

Dr Jenelle Clarke is a post-doctoral research fellow based within the Health Services Management Centre.  Her research involves the exploration of everyday experiences of delivering and receiving health and mental health care, applying sociological theory to improvement sciences, and improving coproduced healthcare initiatives. 

Jenelle is leading a project on integrated mental health and social care funded by The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute (Sept 2020 – May 2024).  Using the micosociological theory of interaction ritual chains, the project looks at what happens when different agencies, such as mental health and social care, join up to coordinate care around patient needs.  Focusing on children and adolescent and older people services, it asks what it is like to deliver and receive joined up care, and explores how different groups of people come to trust each other and work collaboratively.  This ethnographic project aims to produce learning in order to improve integrated care services.


  • PhD in Sociology of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, 2015
  • MA in Methods of Research (Distinction), University of Kent, 2011
  • BA in History (magna cum laude honours), George Fox University (USA), 2002
  • BA in Writing/Literature (magna cum laude honours), George Fox University (USA), 2002


Dr Jenelle Clarke is a post-doctoral research fellow within the School of Social Policy in the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham.  Her current research project, ‘The Rituals of Integrated Working’, funded by The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute, explores improvement initiatives within integrated mental health and social teams, specifically children and adolescent and older people services. 

Prior the THIS project,  Jenelle was a co-collaborator and research fellow on a NIHR funded grant, ‘Healthcare Leadership with Political Astuteness (HeLPA): a qualitative study of how service leaders understand and mediate the ‘politics and power’ of major health system change’, looking at the organisational politics involved in major health system change.  She also has experience of working within the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research Care (CLAHRC) East Midlands to understand how health research initiatives are coproduced and implemented within clinical practice.  Jenelle has been involved in research work related to therapeutic environments and initiatives to improve social care services. 

Her doctoral work, funded by the ESRC, was completed in 2015 at the University of Nottingham. This narrative ethnography, ‘Where the Change Is: everyday interaction rituals of therapeutic communities’, was concerned with how, and whether, everyday social interactions facilitate personal change within therapeutic communities. Though the lens of interaction ritual chain theory, the study investigated participants’ understanding of the role of community during their personal change process and analysed participants’ experience of daily life in community.  In 2014, Jenelle was awarded the Andrew Hendry Prize at the University of Nottinghamfor accomplishment in doctoral research and contributions to the postgraduate community.

Postgraduate supervision

Jenelle is interested in supervising PhD student work related to: 

  • Sociology of health/mental health
  • Healthcare organisation/re-organisation
  • Healthcare improvement initiatives
  • Experiences of healthcare/delivery
  • Interaction rituals
  • Sociology of emotion
  • Projects using qualitative methodologies


Jenelle's research is broadly within health/mental health, health organisation, integrated working, public sector working, and their interface with culture, transformation and identity.  She is currently leading a project funded by The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute that explores everyday experiences of integrated working within children and adolescent and older people services. Comprising four linked ethnographic work packages, the study will provide theoretical and practical insight for delivering patient-centred integrated care.  Key goals include: identifying patterns of social interaction facilitating trust and respect, developing an integrated working framework; generating a measure of emotional energy and co-producing learning resources for integrated teams and service users/carers.

She experience using sociological theories applied to health and mental health care. Through the use of interaction ritual theory within mental health during her doctoral work , she showed how negative feelings within groups of people may still produce trust and solidarity.  In her post-doctoral work, she developed a new model of successful research co-production highlighting the importance of relational and emotional inclusivity.  More recently, she is working with colleagues to expand theories of political astuteness through an NIHR grant exploring interpersonal politics and public sector change initiatives.   

More generally, she has research interests related to theories of microsociology applied to health and mental health, healthcare improvement initiatives, interaction rituals and sociology of emotions.


Recent publications


Waring, J, Bishop, S, Black, G, Clarke, J & Roe, B 2023, 'What can clinical leaders contribute to the governance of integrated care systems?', BMJ Leader.

Clarke, J, Waring, J, Bishop, S, Hartley, J, Exworthy, M, Fulop, N, Ramsay, AIG & Roe, B 2021, 'The contribution of political skill to the implementation of health services change: a systematic narrative and narrative synthesis', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 21, no. 1, 260 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06272-z

Waring, J, Clarke, J & Vickers, R 2020, 'A comparative ethnographic study of collective knowledge brokering across the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic knowledge boundaries in applied health research', Evidence & Policy A Journal of Research Debate and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1332/174426420X15825348594538

Clarke, J, Waring, J & Timmons, S 2019, 'The challenge of inclusive coproduction: the importance of situated rituals and emotional inclusivity in the coproduction of health research projects', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 233-248. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12459

Waring, J, Bishop, S, Clarke, J, Exworthy, M, Fulop, NJ, Hartley, J & Ramsay, AIG 2018, 'Healthcare leadership with political astuteness (HeLPA): a qualitative study of how service leaders understand and mediate the informal ‘power and politics’ of major health system change', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 18, 918. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3728-z

Clarke, JM & Waring, J 2018, 'The transformative role of interaction rituals within therapeutic communities', Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 1277-1293. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12773

Clarke, J 2017, 'The Case for 'Fluid' Hierarchies in Therapeutic Communities', Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 207-216.

Clarke, S, Clarke, J, Brown, R & Middleton, H 2016, 'Hurting and healing in therapeutic environments: How can we understand the role of the relational context?', European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 384-400. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642537.2016.1260620

Clarke, J 2016, 'Understanding personal change through storytelling in a therapeutic community', Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 184-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/TC-12-2015-0027


Restivo, S, Incayawar, M & Clarke, J 2020, The Social Brain: Implications for therapeutic and preventive protocols in psychiatry. in S Restivo (ed.), Einstein's Brain: Genius, Culture and Social Network. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 123-137.

Clarke, J, Manning, N, Winship, G & Clarke, S 2018, Therapeutic Communities, Democracy and the New Recovery Movement. in KM Wright & M McKeown (eds), Essentials of Mental Health Nursing. SAGE Publications, London, pp. 449-465.

Clarke, J 2017, The Role of Everyday Interaction Rituals Within Therapeutic Communities. in H Middleton & M Jordan (eds), Mental Health Uncertainty and Inevitability: Rejuvenating the Relationship between Social Science and Psychiatry. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 47-72.

Clarke, S, Winship, G, Clarke, J & Manning, N 2017, Therapeutic Communities. in M Chambers (ed.), Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursin. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 631-640.

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