I no longer have any illusions of myself as a creative writer. I was disabused of this notion very early in my academic life after receiving feedback on a chapter I wrote for an interdisciplinary book. The editor was an English professor and published poet. After providing kind feedback on two drafts in which he politely encouraged me to be more expressive, he announced flatly that my writing style was ‘very soc sci’. He was not wrong. Our training as social scientists, and especially psychologists I think, rewards clarity, conciseness, and coherence (the social scientist’s holy trinity) but doesn’t foster creative expression. Yet, there are those rare (infuriating) scholars whose prose is pleasurable, provocative, and effective. It is possible, apparently!
Sarah Rileyis a Professor in Critical Health Psychology at Massey University, New Zealand and the ISCHP Vice-Chair. Her work looks at how taken for granted ideas in our society open up possibilities for what people can say, think, feel and do, while shutting down others. She is particularly interested in the dynamics between neoliberalism and subjectivity, and questions of gender, embodiment, health and citizenship. She has co-authored several books including Critical Bodies (Palgrave, 2008), Technologies of Sexiness (Oxford University Press, USA, 2014) and Postfeminism and Health (Routledge, 2018), she is currently writing Postfeminism and Body Image (Routledge), and Digital Gender, Affect and Subjectivity (Routledge).