Dr Jessica Pykett

Dr Jessica Pykett

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

Contact details

Address
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Jessica Pykett is a social and political geographer with research interests in governance, knowledge practices, policy innovation and political subjectivities.  Her research has focused on affective and emotional techniques of governance, and the influence of neuroscience and behavioural science on public policy and economic theory. Current work is on the intersections of neuroscience and geography, concepts of urban stress and urban wellbeing, and political technologies of emotional regulation. She has organised and chaired several international seminars on the these themes, on vitalist methodologies and embodied technologies. Her research traces the sociodigital futures imagined and deployed in research, applications and governance within these fields.

Her books include A Modern Guide to Wellbeing Research (forthcoming with B.Searle and M.Alfaro-Simmonds, Edward Elgar), Neuroliberalism. Behavioural Government in the 21st Century (with M.Whitehead R.Jones, R.Lilley and R.Howell, Routledge, 2017), Brain Culture (Policy Press, 2015), Emotional States (with E.Jupp and F.Smith, Routledge, London), Changing Behaviours, On the Rise of the Psychological State (with R.Jones and M.Whitehead, Edward Elgar 2013), and Re-educating Citizens. Governing Through Pedagogy (Routledge, London). She is working currently on a new book, Governing Global Emotions (under contract, Palgrave).

Qualifications

PhD, University of Bristol

MSc Society and Space, University of Bristol

BSc Geography, University of Bristol

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Biography

Before joining the University of Birmingham in September 2012, Jessica was a lecturer in Human Geography at Aberystwyth University. Here she worked on a Leverhulme funded grant on the ‘Time-Spaces of Soft-Paternalism’. Previously she was an ESRC research fellow at The Open University and has held research positions at the University of Bristol and Futurelab Education.

Teaching

  • Year 1 Fieldcourse; Research Methods; Contemporary Human Geography; Tutorials and Study Skills for Geographers
  • Year 2 Social and Political Geography; Research Methods for Human Geographers; Research Labs and Fieldwork
  • Year 3 Welfare, Work and Wealth; Welfare, Migration and Alternative Economies; Geography or Planning Research
  • Year 4 MSc Human Geography; Theoretical Themes; Doing Human Geography

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Pykett welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in her areas of interest, including:

Emotional politics and emotional regulation
Behavioural public policy and neuroscience informed public policy
Digital affective governance
Embodied geographies and critical social theories of the body, mind and emotions
Critical neuroscience approaches to urban design, architecture, built environment
Geographies of welfare, wellbeing and mental health
Psychological governance and citizenship
Urban wellbeing and urban stress
Government advertising, communications, social marketing

Research

Jessica Pykett is a social and political geographer with research interests in citizenship, governance, and political subjectivities.  Her research to date has focused on affective and emotional techniques of governance, and the influence of neuroscience and behavioural science on public policy and economic theory. Current work is on the intersections of neuroscience and geography, concepts of urban stress and urban wellbeing, political geographies of emotional regulation, and tracing the sociodigital futures imagined and deployed in research, applications and governance within these fields.

Other activities

  • Jessica co-directs the Centre for Urban Wellbeing with Professor Jennifer Cumming, engaging with policy makers to generate new interdisciplinary research focused on the community dimensions of wellbeing in cities.   
  • Deputy Research Lead for Human Geography, and Chair of Embodied Geographies research group.
  • Member of the Institute for Mental Health.
  • Editorial Board member: Political Geography, Resilience, Citizenship Studies.
  • Grant peer reviewer: Carnegie UK; Dahlem Research School, Freie Universität Berlin; ESRC; Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; Portuguese Research Council, Research Executive Agency of the European Commission, Wellcome Trust.
  • Advisory Board member: Centre for Thriving Places, Bristol.
  • Contributor to Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POSTbriefs POST-PB-0033 (2019), Preparing for a changing world, and Horizon Scan (2020).
  • Member of the UKRI Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network, UCL.
  • Member of British Sociological Association, Sociology of Emotions Study Group.
  • Qualified Citizens Advice Bureau adviser.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Fabian, M & Pykett, J 2021, 'Be happy: navigating normative issues in behavioral and well-being public policy', Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691620984395

Pykett, J, Chrisinger, B, Kalliopi, K, Osborne, T, Resch, B, Stathi, A, Toth, E & Whittaker, A 2020, 'Developing a Citizen Social Science approach to understand urban stress and promote wellbeing in urban communities', Palgrave Communications, vol. 6, no. 1, 85. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-0460-1

Pykett, J, Osborne, T & Resch, B 2020, 'From Urban Stress to Neurourbanism: How Should We Research City Well-Being?', Annals of the American Association of Geographers. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2020.1736982

Pykett, J, Chrisinger, BW, Kyriakou, K, Osborne, T, Resch, B, Stathi, A & Whittaker, AC 2020, 'Urban emotion sensing beyond ‘affective capture’: Advancing critical interdisciplinary methods', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 23, 9003, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239003

Resch, B, Kyriakou , K, Sagl, G, Petutschnig , A, Werner , C, Niederseer, D, Liedlgruber , M, Wilhelm, F, osborne, T & Pykett, J 2019, 'Detecting moments of stress from measurements of wearable physiological sensors', Sensors, vol. 19, no. 17, 3805. https://doi.org/10.3390/s19173805

Whitehead, M, Jones, R & Pykett, J 2019, 'Questioning post-political perspectives on the psychological state: behavioural public policy in the Netherlands', Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1177/2399654419867711

Pykett, J 2018, 'Geography and neuroscience: critical engagements with geography’s ‘neural turn’', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 154-169. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12213

Whitehead, M, Jones, R, Lilley, R, Howell, R & Pykett, J 2018, 'Neuroliberalism: Cognition, Context, and the Geographical Bounding of Rationality', Progress in Human Geography. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132518777624

Williamson, B, Pykett, J & Nemorin, S 2017, 'Biosocial spaces and neurocomputational governance: brain-based and brain-targeted technologies in education', Discourse, pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2018.1394421

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Pykett, J, Jupp, E & Smith, F 2017, Introduction: Governing With Feeling. in Emotional States: Sites and Spaces of Affective Governance. Routledge, London.

Chapter

Pykett, J 2019, A critical neuro-geography of behaviourally - and neuroscientifically - informed public policy. in A Whitworth (ed.), Towards a Spatial Social Policy: Bridging the Gap Between Geography and Social Policy. Bristol, Policy Press.

Pykett, J 2019, Healthy nations: behavioural approaches in public health policy. in B Ewert & K Loer (eds), Behavioural Policies for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Palgrave Studies in Public Health Policy Research, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 53-72.

Whitehead, M, Jones, R & Pykett, J 2019, Nudging around the world: a critical geography of the behaviour change agenda . in H Strassheim & S Beck (eds), Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy. Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series , Edward Elgar.

Pykett, J 2018, Forensic neuropsychology: Social, cultural, and political implications. in A R. Beech, A J. Carter , R E. Mann & P Rotshtein (eds), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Forensic Neuroscience. vol. 2, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 917-935. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118650868.ch34

Paper

Pykett, J 2017, 'Behavioural Government as a Global Phenomenon', Paper presented at Behavioural sciences and the politics of simplification, Menaggio, Italy, 27/03/17 - 4/04/17.

View all publications in research portal