Dr Neil ArmstrongBack to People

Department: Anthropology
College appointment: Lecturer II in Anthropology

Neil Armstrong has an MA in Philosophy and Theology and an MSt and DPhil in Social Anthropology, all from Oxford.

His thesis, Information, Self-Management and Common Sense: an ethnography of NHS mental healthcare was supervised by Elisabeth Hsu. It explores tensions between efforts to make care accountable (through such notions as ‘quality,’ ‘efficiency,’ and ‘transparency’) and attempts to empower patients (known variously as ‘patient-centred care,’ ‘recovery,’ ‘self-management,’ and ‘the co-production of meaning).’ The thesis argues that many clinically attractive understandings of patient empowerment are incompatible with bureaucratic accountability. Neil is currently preparing a book and other publications based on his doctoral work, as well as planning a new research project.

Neil’s research interests include the anthropology of mental healthcare; the anthropology of bureaucracy, institutional ethics, and personal change; new religious movements, eco-spirituality and intentional communities; and life-writing by people affected by mental ill-health.

He gives tutorials in core anthropology papers, in medical anthropology, and in the anthropology of religion. He also gives a regular course of university lectures in the anthropology of religion.

Neil is a postdoctoral associate of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, a member of the board of editors of the Psychiatric Bulletin and sits on an NHS clinical ethics advisory group.

Selected Publications:

Armstrong N, 2017 ‘Knowing more by knowing less? A reading of ‘Give Me Everything You Have. On being stalked’ by James Lasdun.’ Journal of Medical Humanities 38 (3): 287-302.

Armstrong N, Price J and Geddes J, 2015: ‘Serious but not solemn: rebalancing the assessment of risks and benefits of patient recruitment materials.’ Research Ethics 11: 98-107

Armstrong N, 2012: ‘What can we learn from service user memoirs? Information and service user experience.’ The Psychiatrist (36) 341 – 344