New publication in Critical Social Policy

The MapUKHE team published its first peer-reviewed, open-access article in the journal Critical Social Policy in August 2021. Our article is entitled, ‘Mapping mental health and the UK university sector: Networks, markets, data’; you can read it here or download the PDF. Dr Dimitra Kotouza is the lead author, and the abstract is below.


The mental health and well-being of university staff and students in the UK are reported to have seriously deteriorated. Rather than taking this ‘mental health crisis’ at face value, we carry out network and discourse analyses to investigate the policy assemblages (comprising social actors, institutions, technologies, knowledges and discourses) through which the ‘crisis’ is addressed. Our analysis shows how knowledges from positive psychology and behavioural economics, disciplinary techniques driven by metrics and data analytics, and growing markets in digital therapeutic technologies work as an ensemble. Together, they instrumentalise mental health, creating motivational ecologies that allow economic agendas to seep through to subjects who are encouraged to monitor and rehabilitate themselves. ‘Mental health’ as a problem for UK universities has come to be largely defined through the outcomes of ‘resilience’ and ’employability’ and is addressed through markets that enable training, monitoring, measuring and ‘nudging’ students and staff towards these outcomes.

The article is accompanied by four network maps, which are SVG files created with Neo4j Graph Visualisation and can be downloaded from the ‘supplementary materials’ page on SAGE journals. We will also display PNG files on the Maps page of the MapUKHE site. Although the MapUKHE project ‘officially’ ended in August 2021, there are further publications in the pipeline!