Dr Jesse Potter

Brief Biography

After studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at San Francisco State University, I came to the LSE in 2004 for my MSc (Culture and Society), during which time I was awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Award for my dissertation. My doctoral work (awarded in 2011) explored themes of self and biography as they take place in a transitional context; how individuals come to understand themselves within and through significant work-life changes.

Similarly, the substantive core of my research interests surround issues of biography and biographical process – how individuals construct worthwhile and meaningful lives – as they relate to work and career, gender, families, identity and self-actualisation, narrative, and ‘turn to self’ paradigms such as individualisation, the ‘New Age’, and the mainstreaming of ‘self-help’ discourse. More generally, I am interested in the way that social structural and discursive factors are understood, articulated, and negotiated within everyday activities and practices, and how contemporary economic and organisational arrangements have impacted the possibility for identity, self-understanding, and working-lives considered to be fulfilling and meaningful. My current research is a development of my doctoral work, exploring issues of self and biography within the context of transitional narratives taking place during the recent economic recession.

I lecture on a number of courses including SO100, SO110 (co-convenor) and SO401 (co-convenor). I am deeply passionate about teaching, finding ways to foster dynamic student/academic relations, and facilitating student learning that is engaged, inspired, and analytically rich.

Selected Publications

Forthcoming 2013. ‘Narrating Transitions: the edge as process’ – in Taking Culture Seriously series. Edited by Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett. New York, NY: NYU Press.

Forthcoming 2014. Identity and the End of Career: crisis at work. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

In development: ‘Careers and Coupling: a narrative case approach’ (targeted for Gender, Work and Organization)


  Jesse Potter