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I am interested in understanding how policy acts as a mechanism for bringing about changes in social inequalities. Policies are ‘living’ documents that map a set of ideas about how to address the big social issues of our time, including health inequities, gender inequalities, global poverty, and social prejudice. For me, societal psychology and its interest in understanding how social change occurs is central to thinking about how policies lead to both positive and negative change in people’s lives.
Before joining academia, I worked with a small health policy consultancy in Canada for several years and then started my own independent consulting practice to assist policy-makers and practitioners in researching and designing programmes to address health inequalities (i.e. through understanding gender relations, health behaviours, health-enabling environments, participation, health communication, and organisational development). I’ve had the privilege of working on extremely interesting projects with organisations in Canada, the UK, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Switzerland, and Zambia. Some of my favourite projects have included: working with civil society organisations in southern Africa to call for women’s rights in AIDS policy; delivering a participatory action research project to address ‘harmful’ drinking among women in the UK; and participating in the design of a gender assessment tool for UNAIDS’s country programme teams.
I joined the Department of Social Psychology as a Teaching Fellow in 2012 in order to fulfil my passion for teaching and a personal commitment to understanding mechanisms to address social inequalities.
My current research interest is in developing better understandings of the social psychological mechanisms underlying health policy processes. As part of this overall project, I have been working on research in three specific areas:
1. Gender and health policies in real world settings (South Africa and Rwanda)
This research attempts to move beyond linear notions of policy where well-meaning policy is thought to lead to social change. Starting with the assumption that policy is a social product, I am interested in exploring how policies are drawn on by individuals in the context of their everyday lives and the implications this has for health inequalities. I have recently completed a study of gender policy in South Africa as a specific case example, which points to how policy is often manipulated and transformed by practitioners rather than directly adopted into practice. In a national and international environment increasingly focused on research-led policy-making, this raises important questions for social psychologists around how policies are implemented in complex social settings and the unexpected outcomes of policy processes on people’s lives, which I am now exploring in the Rwandan context.
2. Community mobilisation for HIV and AIDS (Global health)
Together with Dr. Flora Cornish, this research study explores community efforts to effectively address HIV and AIDS in 14 different countries. The research has been carried out in collaboration with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, a global network of organisations committed to mobilising community action for HIV and AIDS. Our research team has been interested in exploring the challenges this organisation has faced in maintaining a local community focus in an international environment where community mobilisation is increasingly monitored and managed by global policy-makers. The project looks at the global-local dynamics of community mobilisation, and the social psychological mechanisms that foster social movements and help to support local action.
3. National Strategic Plans for HIV and AIDS (Southern and Eastern Africa)
This research is a collaboration between the Gender Equality and HIV Prevention Programme at HEARD and the ATHENA Network to assess the quality of National Strategic Plans (NSPs) for HIV and AIDS. NSPs are national policy documents that pave the way for government strategies to address the HIV and AIDS epidemics. Our research team has been exploring the extent to which these national plans consider the gender inequalities that are both a cause and consequence of the epidemic in countries across southern and eastern Africa. Drawing on a regional framework developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, we have analysed NSPs in 20 countries across the region using nine different indicators for meaningful action on women, girls and gender equality.
I am the Coordinator for the MSc in Health, Community and Development, and support Professor Catherine Campbell as the Director of the programme.
I also lecture and lead seminars on a number of optional courses in the Department, including: PS418 Social Psychology of Health Communication, PS438 Corporate Communications, and PS411 Current Communication Research.
I love teaching and draw on many of my work-based experiences in the classroom. As the basis of my teaching practice, I am interested in fostering open discussions with students about how we can link theory and practice in real world settings. The focus of the LSE on research-led teaching provides an ideal forum for doing this, and I often learn from the ingenuity and sharp intelligence of the students in the Department of Social Psychology.
To view the publications below, please visit my Google Scholar page.
Reader, T., Gillespie, A, & Mannell, J. (forthcoming). Patient neglect in 21st century healthcare institutions: The need for a community health psychology perspective. Journal of Health Psychology.
Gibbs, A., Orza, L., Mannell, J., Willan, S., & Crone, E.T. (2013). National Strategic Plans for HIV and AIDS in Southern and Eastern Africa: A women’s rights perspective on integrating treatment, care and support, in Pallotti, A. & Zamponi,M. (eds) HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa: Challenges, Policies, Actors. Villa Verucchio: La Pieve Poligrafica Editore.
Mannell, J. (2012) “‘It’s just been such a horrible experience:’ Gender mainstreaming in South African organisations”, Gender and Development, 20(3):523-434.
Gibbs, A., Mushinga, M, Crone, T., Willan, S. & Mannell, J. (2012) How do national strategic plans for HIV and AIDS in Southern and Eastern Africa address gender-based violence? A women’s rights perspective, Health and Human Rights, 14(2): 1-11
Gibbs, A., Crone, T., Willan, S. & Mannell, J. (2012) Women in National Strategic Plans in Southern and Eastern Africa, Global Public Health, 7 (10): 1120-1144.
Mannell, J. (2010) Gender mainstreaming for HIV/AIDS organizations: Moving beyond policy to practice, AIDSCare, 22(S2): 1613.
Mannell, J. (2010) Are the sectors compatible? How business management consultants perceive international development work and lessons for a business/non-profit partnership framework, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(5), p.1106-1122.
Kirton, J. & Mannell, J. (2007) Explaining G8 Global Health Governance, in Cooper, A., Kirton, J., and Schrecker, T. (eds) Governing global health: Challenge, response and innovation; Ashgate: Aldershot.
Mannell, J. (2011) [Review of the book AIDS, Sex, and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africa, by Ida Susser]. Global Public Health, 6(6): 681-683.
Mannell, J. (2011) Gender and AIDS: Exploring an intimate relationship [Review of the book Love in the Time of AIDS by Mark Hunter] PINS 49: 59-61.
Mannell, J. (2013) Manipulating gender policy: Subversive acts of ‘local’ practice. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV, Paris, July 7-10, 2013
Mannell, J. (2012) Towards a gender studies approach to understanding the implementation of development policy. Paper presented at: NGender Seminar Series, University of Sussex, January 25, 2012.
Mannell, J. (2011) “‘It’s just been such a horrible experience:’ Gender mainstreaming in South African HIV/AIDS organisations” Paper presented at: International HIV Social Sciences and Humanities Conference: Locating the Social, Durban South Africa, June 11th-13th, 2011.
Mannell, J. (2011) “Addressing gender inequalities through community HIV/AIDS organisations: Towards a uniquely South Africa approach” Poster presentation: 5th South African AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa, June 7th-10th, 2011.
Mannell, J. (2009) Gender mainstreaming for HIV/AIDS organizations: Moving beyond policy to practice. Paper presented at: Creating contexts for successful community-led health interventions: Learning from participatory HIV/AIDS programs, London School of Economics, September 21-22nd, 2009.
Mannell, J. (2009) Approaches and Assumptions for Planning and Evaluation. Guest lecture: Ryerson University, Toronto, March 2, 2009.
Mannell, J. (2006) Working to reduce poverty among the ultra-poor of Bangladesh through social communication. Paper accepted by the World Conference on Communications for Development, World Bank, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy, October 2006.