Dr Jack Newman

Research Fellow

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.



Research interests

Research projects

My teaching

My publications


Newman, J. (2019). Morphogenetic theory and the constructivist institutionalist challenge. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 49(1), 106-126.
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This article engages with two meta‐theoretical approaches to social analysis, ‘morphogenetic theory’ and ‘constructivist institutionalism’, and specifically explores how the former fares under the critical scrutiny of the latter. The key proponent of constructivist institutionalism, Colin Hay, has offered two detailed critiques of morphogenesis that criticise its position on the foundational sociological issues of structure‐agency and material‐ideational. Although Hay's critiques are largely rejected in an overall defence of the morphogenetic approach, the process of engagement is seen to be particularly useful for morphogenetic theory because it allows a number of important clarifications to be made and it also opens up space for theoretical development. In the course of this debate, accessible introductions are given to both theories, and the similarities and differences between them are outlined, providing clarity to both. Therefore, although this article ultimately operates as a defence of morphogenetic theory, especially in the form proposed by Margaret Archer and Douglas Porpora, it finds a great deal of fruitful discussion in the constructivist institutionalist challenge.
Newman, J. (2020). Critical realism, critical discourse analysis, and the morphogenetic approach. Journal of Critical Realism.
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This paper contributes to the development of a critical realist approach to discourse analysis by combining aspects of ‘critical discourse analysis’ (CDA) and ‘the morphogenetic/morphostatic approach’ (M/M). Unlike poststructuralist discourse theory, CDA insists on the maintenance of two distinctions: (i) between discourse and other aspects of social reality; (ii) between structure and agency. However, CDA lacks clarity on these distinctions. M/M, on the other hand, offers a coherent modelling of these distinctions that can underpin the application of CDA. The paper begins by introducing CDA, M/M and the existing literature on critical realist discourse analysis. It then establishes the M/M model of social change within CDA’s existing social theory by focusing on ‘analytical dualism’ and ‘social practice’. Finally, the paper locates the concept of discourse within M/M’s model of social change by theorizing discourse as one of four objective structures of meaning.