Dr Susanne LangerSenior Lecturer

Specialist Areas

  • Health and illness, including mental health and particularly chronic illness
  • Death and dying, including suicide
  • Personhood and identity
  • Welfare (well-faring) and well-being
  • Qualitative research methods and methodologies

Research Interests

Research Funding and Awards

BSS (leading UK outsourcer of public and customer contact services), for research on public information service provision, co-bidder D. Howcroft (Manchester Business School)
Value: £8,000

C-SAP Postgraduate Project Ref: PG 04-05 for Fields of Play - A Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology, co-applicant H. Knox (CRESC)
Value: £1,000

British Foundation of Women Graduates Grant No 192/2001-2002
Value: £1,500

ESRC Doctoral Research Grant R 00429934262

Editorships and Consultancies

Peer reviewer for:

  • British Journal of Social Work
  • Qualitative Research
  • Patient Education and Counselling
  • Journal of Psychosomatic Research
  • Social Science Computer Review
  • Anthropology Matters Journal

Research Outputs

Authored Books

Fincham, B., Langer, S., Scourfield J. and Shiner, M. (2011) Understanding Suicide: A Sociological Autopsy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Book Chapters

Langer, S. (2010) "Distributed Personhood and the Transformation of Agency: An Anthropological Perspective on Inquests" in Hockey, J., Komaromy, C., Woodthorpe, K. (eds.) Materialising Absence: Death, Dying and Bereavement, Basingstoke: Palgrave

Journal Articles

Chew-Graham, C., Hunter, C., Langer, S., Stenhoff A., Drinkwater, J., Guthrie, E., Salmon, P. (2013) "How QOF is shaping primary care review consultations: a longitudinal qualitative study", BMC Family Practice, 14:103
doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-14-103

Hunter C., Chew-Graham C., Langer S., Stenhoff A., Drinkwater J., Guthrie E., Salmon P. (in press) "Candidacy and Recursivity in Patient Choices around Using Emergency Health Care in the Context of Long-Term Conditions: the Limits of Educational Intervention", Patient Education and Counselling

Drinkwater S., Salmon P., Langer S., Hunter C., Stenhoff A., Guthrie E., Chew-Graham C. (2013) "Operationalising Unscheduled Care Policy: a Qualitative Study of Health Care Professionals' Perspectives", British Journal of General Practice, Vol. 63, No 608

Langer, S., Chew-Graham C., Hunter, C., Guthrie, E., Salmon, P., (2013) "Why Do Patients with Long-Term Conditions Use Unscheduled Care: A Qualitative Literature Review", Health & Social Care in the Community, 21 (4)

Collins, M., Langer, S., Welch, V., Wells, E., Hatton, C., Robertson, J. & Emerson, E. (2013) "A Break from Caring: Parent Perceptions of the Uses and Benefits of Short Break Provision in England", British Journal of Social Work, published online 21 January 2013
doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs209

Welch, V., Collins, M., Hatton, C., Emerson, E., Robertson, J., Wells, E. & Langer, S. (in press) "Short Breaks for Disabled Children: Comparing Children's and Parents' Perspectives of their Impact on Children", Children and Society

Scourfield, J., Fincham, B., Langer, S., and Shiner, M. (2012) "Sociological Autopsy: An Integrated Approach to the Study of Suicide in Men", Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 74, No 4: 466-473

Welch, V., Hatton, C., Emerson, E., Robertson, J., Collins, M., Langer, S. & Wells, E. (2012) "Do Short Breaks and Respite Services for Families with a Disabled Child in England Make a Difference to Siblings? A Qualitative Analysis of Sibling and Parent Responses", Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 34, No 2: 451-459

Welch, V., Hatton, C., Emerson E., Collins, M., Robertson J., Langer S., Wells E., (2011) "Using Direct Payments to Fund Short Breaks for Families with a Disabled Child", Child: Care, Health and Development, first published online 25 November 2011

Robertson, J., Hatton, C., Wells, E., Collins, M., Langer, S., Welch, V., and Emerson, E. (2011) "The Impacts of Short Break Provision on Families with a Disabled Child: An International Literature Review", Health & Social Care in the Community, Vol. 19, No 4: 337-371

Langer, S., and Højlund S. (2011) "An Anthropology of Welfare: Journeying towards the Good Life", Anthropology in Action, Vol 18. No 3

Shiner, M., Scourfield, J., Fincham, B., and Langer, S. (2009) "When Things Fall Apart: Gender and Suicide Across the Life Course", Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 69, 738-746

Evans, R., Kotchetkova, I., and Langer S. (2009) "'Just around the corner': Rhetoric of Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research", Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 18, No 1: 45-59

Langer, S., Scourfield, J., and Fincham, B. (2008) "Documenting the Quick and the Dead: a Study of Suicide Case Files in a Coroner's Office", Sociological Review, 56 (2): 293-308

Fincham, B., Scourfield, J., and Langer, S. (2008) "The Impact of Working with Disturbing Secondary Data: Reading Suicide Files in a Coroner's Office", Qualitative Health Research, Vol 18, No 6: 853-862

Kotchetkova, I., Evans, R., and Langer. S. (2008) "Articulating Contextualised Knowledge: Focus Groups and/as Participation", Science as Culture, Special Issue, 17 (1)

Fincham, B., Scourfield J., and Langer, S. (2007) "Documentary Data: Single Medium, Multiple Modes", Qualitative Researcher, Issue 5, June

Langer, S., Walmsley, E., Fumanti, M., Knox H. (2006) "From Play to Knowledge: a Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology", Anthropology Matters, Vol. 8, No 2

Fumanti, M., Knox, H., Langer S. (2005) "New Methods in the Anthropology of Science and Technology (ASA Postgraduate Panel 2003)", Anthropology Matters, Vol. 7, No 1

Langer, S. (2005) "Protecting Patients - Managing Persons", Special Issue: New Methods in Anthropology - Postgraduate Perspectives, Anthropology Matters Journal, Vol. 7 (1)

Conference Presentations

Langer, S. (2013) "Everything is Culture: A Brief Introduction to Social Anthropology and What to Do with It?", Sixth Form, Tauheedal Islam Girls High School, Blackburn, 4 October

Langer, S., Hunter, C., Stenhoff, A., Drinkwater, J., Guthrie, E., Salmon, P., Chew-Graham, C. (2013) "Death Permits Deviation from QOF: a Qualitative Study", Royal College of General Practitioners Annual Conference, Harrogate, 3-5 October (poster received red rosette to indicate posters of particular merit)

Langer, S., Hunter, C., Stenhoff, A., Drinkwater, J., Guthrie, E., Salmon, P., Chew-Graham, C. (2013) "Exceeding the Constraints of the Tickboxes? Death and Bereavement as Opportunities for Holistic Care in Review Consultations", Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC), University of Nottingham, Nottingham, 4 July

Langer, S., Chew-Graham, C., Hunter C., Stenhoff A., Drinkwater J. , Guthrie E. , Salmon P. (2013) "Dis-incentivising holistic care? How QOF shapes interactions between health care practitioners and patients with long-term conditions in routine consultations", Primary Care Mental Health Conference, Manchester, 20 March

Langer, S. (2011) "Understanding Suicide: A Sociological Autopsy Approach to the Study of Suicide", (How to Study Suicide), engage@Liverpool, The 'How To' Talk Series, University of Liverpool, 17 November

Langer, S. (2011) "Lives and Files: Inquest Documents as Ethnographic Artefacts", Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, 4 March

Langer, S. (2011) "Making the 'Right' Decision: Health-care Seeking by People with Long-term Conditions and Health Policy in the UK", ESRC seminar series Rhetorics of Moderation: Politics and Pragmatics, Seminar Two: Expertise and the Media, Institute of Science and Society, University of Nottingham, 6-7 January

Langer, S., Chew-Graham, C., Hunter, C., Salmon, P. (2010) "Why do Patients with Long-Term Conditions Use Unscheduled Care", Society of Academic Primary Care Northern Regional Meeting, Kendal, 25-26 November

Langer, S. (2010) "Short Breaks, Transport and Social Exclusion: Examining Some Assumptions about the Mobility of Disabled Children", Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, Lancaster, 7-9 September

Langer, S., (2010) "A Quick Introduction to the Afternoon's Qualitative Sessions" and "Developing the Next Phase of the CHOICE Qualitative Research Programme", CHOICE Stakeholder Meeting, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Manchester, 5 July

Langer, S., Collins M., (2010) "Some Preliminary Findings of the Qualitative Research on the Evaluation of the Aiming High for Disabled Children Short Breaks Pathfinder Programme", Steering Committee of Making Changes Together in County Durham, Brandon, 18 March

Langer, S. (2009) "Finding the Right Balance: Well-Being and Self-Management in Chronic Illness", Sociological Review 100th Anniversary Conference, Billesley Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon,1-3 June

Langer, S. (2009) "Voice in Call Centres and Shared Services: Implications for Sociology", British Sociological Assoication Annual Conference, Cardiff, 16-18 March

Langer, S. (2008) "From Back-Office Support to Shared Services: Findings from the Women in Shared Services (WiSS) Project", CRESC Workshop: Gender, Service Work and the Cultural Economy, Manchester, 21-22 February

Langer, S., Howcroft, D., Westrup, C. (2008) "Preliminary Findings from the Women in Shared Services (WiSS) Project", North-West Shared Service Forum, Manchester, 20 February

Howcroft, D., Knox, H., Langer, S., Richardson, H., Westrup, C. (2007) "Global Shared Service Centres: Exploring Assumptions and Contradictions", APROS 12 (Asia Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies), Gurgaon, India, 9-12 December

Langer, S. (2007) "Personhood and Agency in Inquest Files Returning a Verdict of Suicide", Research Institute for the Study of the Life Course, Joint Seminar Series, Keele University, Keele, 29 November

Langer, S. (2007) "Documenting the Quick and the Dead: a Study of Suicide Case Files in a Coroner’s Office", Department of Anthropology and Ethnography, University of Aarhus, Århus, Denmark, 27 September

Langer, S., Howcroft, D., and Westrup, C., (2007) "Getting the Right Mix in Shared Service Centres: Combining People, Skills and Locations in the Transformation of Back-Office Functions", Work, Employment and Society Conference, Aberdeen, 12-14 September

Langer, S., Scourfield, J., and Fincham, B., (2007) "Approaching Documents Ethnographically: the Case of Inquest Files", CRESC Conference, Manchester, 5-7 September

Langer, S., (2007) "Making Sense of Messy Deaths: Reflections on the Use of Qualitative Research in the Study of Suicide", ASA Anthropology of Britain Workshop, Newcastle University, Newcastle, 12 January

Langer, S., (2006) "'They're Just Making it Harder and Harder': Agency, Productivity and Personhood in Welfare Applications", European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Bi-annual Conference, Bristol University, Bristol, 18-21 September

Langer, S. and Højlund, S. (2006) Panel: "Understanding Welfare and Well-Being in a Globalised World", European Association of Social Anthropologists Biennial Conference, Bristol University, Bristol, 18-21 September

Langer, S. (2006) "Making Nothing Ever Happen: Sociality in an MS Therapy Centre", Medicine and Society Research Group, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 5 July

Langer, S., (2005) "'Claiming New Things': How Bureaucratic Technologies Create Persons and Objects", American Anthropological Association (AAA), Washington (US), 30 November - 4 December

Langer, S. (2005) "'Claiming New Things': How Bureaucratic Technologies Make Objects and Persons", Investigating Welfare from an Anthropological Perspective, University of Aarhus, Århus, Denmark, 17-18 November

Langer, S., (2005) "'It Helps, But it's Illegal': Therapeutic Cannabis Use Among Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers", British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Annual Conference, York, 15-17 September

Langer, S., Fumanti, M., Knox, H. and Walmsley, E. (2005) Panel: "From Play to Knowledge: A Workshop on Ethnographic Methodology", Manchester University, Department of Social Anthropology, Manchester University, Manchester, 21 March

Langer, S., Fumanti, M. and Knox, H. (2003) Panel: "New Methods in Anthropology - Postgraduate Perspectives", Association of Social Anthropologists Decennial Conference, University of Manchester, Manchester, 14-18 July

Research Reports

CHOICE (2013) "The CHOICE (Choosing Healthcare Options in Chronic Care Emergencies Stakeholder Engagement Report 2013"

Welch, V., Hatton, C., Wells, E., Collins, M., Langer, S., Robertson, J., Emerson E. (2010) "The Impact of Short Breaks on Families with a Disabled Child: Report one of the Quantitative Phase", DFE-RR063

Langer, S., Collins M., Welch, V., Wells E., Hatton C., Robertson, J., Emerson, E. (2010) "A Report on Themes Emerging from Qualitative Research into the Impact of Short Break Provision on Families with Disabled Children", DCSF-RR221

Robertson, J., Hatton, C., Wells, E., Collins, M., Langer, S., Welch, V., and Emerson, E. (2010) "The Impacts of Short Break Provision on Disabled Children and Families: an International Literature Review", DCSF-RR222

Howcroft, D., Langer, S., Westrup, C., (2008) "Final Project Report: Women in North-West Shared Services (WiSS)"

Supervised Research Student Titles

PhD supervision

Supervisor: Anne-Marie Martindale "Experiencing Facial Change: a Life Lived", Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Liverpool

External Advisor: Chris Krogh "Documents as Actors in NSW Child Protection's 'Regimes of Living'", School of Social Science and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Current Teaching Input

  • Childhood, Community and Society
  • Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology
Susanne Langer

Research Centre

Social Change & Wellbeing


Psychology Department
Birley Building
Birley Fields Campus
53 Bonsall Street
M15 6GX

Tel: 0161 247 2592

Email: s.langer@mmu.ac.uk