Matthew Johnston

Matthew Johnston
Memorial University of Newfoundland · Department of Sociology

BSocSc, MA (Criminology) PhD (Sociology)

About

38
Publications
6,628
Reads
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160
Citations
Introduction
I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology and I am a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. I study the sociology of mental health and criminology through a realist and compassionate lens. I have published a number of journal articles on the topics of gender, security, and mental health, most notably in Qualitative Research, Disability & Society, Men and Masculinities, Crime Media Culture, Gender, Work & Organization, Social Movement Studies, and Punishment & Society.

Publications

Publications (38)
Article
Full-text available
Much correctional work is generally misunderstood by the mainstream media and many public circles as solely punitive and authoritative, which has fueled many politicized outcomes for correctional policy, practice and intervention. Reasonably, critical criminological discourse is steered primarily by the perspectives and voices of prisoners and vict...
Article
Researchers illuminate the mental health plight of correctional workers by demonstrating a high prevalence of mental health disorders among the group. Yet, structural barriers persist in preventing correctional staff from accessing treatment and support—barriers that may result in more prolonged and pronounced symptoms. We consider correctional sta...
Article
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Aims: We explore social and relational dynamics tied to an unexplored potentially psychologically traumatic event (PPTE) that can impact nurses' well-being and sense of their occupational responsibilities: namely, the moral, ethical, or professional dilemmas encountered in their occupational work. Design: We used a semi-constructed grounded theo...
Article
In the course of their duties, correctional employees face exposure to a variety of potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTEs). Recent research points to an array of consequences of work experiences on the psychological well-being of correctional staff, including the development of mental health disorders such as posttraumatic stress diso...
Article
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When a youth sexually offends, most of the reactions and repercussions that follow are understandably negative. However, there is limited research about mixed reactions involving remorse and responsibility on the part of the adolescent who offended and their relatives. Based on qualitative interviews with 16 caregivers among 10 families in Canada,...
Article
Research on youth sexual offending has focused primarily on its prevalence, risk factors, treatment interventions, and recidivism rates. Thus, there is a need to develop better understandings of the processes towards reconciliation (or the lack thereof) that occur in the context of the collateral consequences of such harm-generating behavior. This...
Article
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This article traces my struggles with psychosis, arrest, psychiatric institutionalization, and recovery. Mobilizing a cathartic approach to autoethnography, I reveal my resistances, resiliencies, oppressions, nightmares, and recovery processes in the mental health system as I became entangled in another, darker reality and tried desperately to esca...
Chapter
The resilient and complex ways in which parents navigate the criminal justice system (CJS) after their children have sexually offended are largely undocumented in critical criminological literature. With relatively few notable exceptions across academic disciplines (Baker et al. 2003; Gervais and Romano 2018; Hackett et al. 2014; Levenson and Tewks...
Article
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While social media platforms like Twitter can be divisive, this research explores how they contribute to progressive reforms in cases dealing with sexual assault. We found that the Twitter content following the not-guilty Jian Ghomeshi verdict fell into two porous camps - verdict protesters versus verdict supporters - and mapped out the emotional a...
Article
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The Radical Animal Liberation Movement (RALM) in North America, including the notorious Animal Liberation Front (ALF) of Canada and the United States and the Frente de Liberación Animal (FLA) in Mexico, is a direct action-focused movement which has been condemned and heavily repressed by media, legislators, and animal industry lobbyists. The questi...
Thesis
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Old and present mental health systems tend to emphasize mental health service users as passive recipients of psychiatric care, which suppresses the idea that people who experience serious mental illness are able to comprehend their own sickness and recovery and therefore engage psychiatric experts about their care. This dissertation seriously inter...
Article
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This autoethnographic piece traces how two researchers continually negotiate their privileges, successes, insecurities, challenges, and (non)disabled identities in the neoliberal academy. We interrogate the co-constitution of identity of (1) a mentally disabled researcher and graduate student who researches madness in the midst of dealing with his...
Article
This autoethnographic piece traces how two researchers continually negotiate their privileges, successes, insecurities, challenges, and (non)disabled identities in the neoliberal academy. We interrogate the co-constitution of identity of (1) a mentally disabled researcher and graduate student who researches madness in the midst of dealing with his...
Article
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In this article, we devote ourselves to the task of reconceptualizing agency in the public criminology movement. We develop an imaginative political framework to circumvent the relational tensions currently ensnaring public criminology discourse. Employing the psychoanalytic theory of Slavoj Žižek, we engage the public criminology literature and it...
Article
This article outlines a workshop orienting sociology graduate students to overcoming challenges in publishing. Although graduate students are increasingly told to publish, little guidance exists on how to best prepare them for this venture; mentorship scholarship typically assumes the professor–student relationship is the best or most appropriate s...
Article
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Drawing on 5090 English reviews of 486 psychiatrists working in Canada posted on ratemds.com, this study empirically analyzes how Canadian mental health service users critique or appraise their doctors. I explore how the online realm serves as a conduit for resistance and discourses about mental health that otherwise become suppressed by psychiatri...
Article
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Insider-outsider relations in qualitative research have been heavily studied. Yet there is a dearth in the literature exploring how people who have experienced madness produce knowledge and overcome trying circumstances when they do qualitative mental health research with other survivors. This article fills this gap through a critical reflection on...
Article
Retail work has a prominent place in the Canadian job market in an era of global capitalism and consumption. Despite spanning an astonishing array of industries, this work is most often low-paying, low-status and un-unionized, leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination from their employers. This qualitative content analysis of 14...
Article
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This qualitative content analysis of 503 anonymous online reviews of 52 Canadian call centres posted on RateMyEmployer.ca explores how forms of resistance, alienation, and emotional labour are expressed outside of the workplace. Our study finds that digital publics are producing emotive insurgencies and networks of support within marginalized commu...
Chapter
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Navigating the contentious “outsider status” in qualitative research can be quite cumbersome and emotionally draining (Bucerius 2013), as seen in cases where researchers learned about Indigenous peoples, immigration reform, ethnic and migrant populations, and women (Armitage 2008; Blix 2015; Watts 2006; Wray and Bartholomew 2010). The literature on...
Article
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en This qualitative content analysis of 723 anonymous reviews of 60 Canadian food service employers, posted on RateMyEmployer.ca, explores how digital spaces publically circulate precarious workers’ resistances and management of occupational stigma. We introduce to literature on “dirty work” the concept of socioeconomic hygiene, which identifies a...
Research
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This volume interrogates the psychiatric apparatus with an evidentiary scorn and authority that demands accountability and an apologetic response. This scathing indictment of psy-professionals who mobilized psychiatric knowledge and practices to degrade, torture, and gravely harm others will serve to (1) educate skeptics; (2) bolster activism and s...
Article
This volume interrogates the psychiatric apparatus with an evidentiary scorn and authority that demands accountability and an apologetic response. This scathing indictment of psy-professionals who mobilized psychiatric knowledge and practices to degrade, torture, and gravely harm others will serve to (1) educate skeptics; (2) bolster activism and s...
Article
Drawing on the first author’s (Matthew) research with male psychiatric ward security guards whom he worked with for 16 months, we discuss in this case study how bringing masculine status into semi-structured interviews produces gender relations and knowledges about men that would largely be inaccessible to researchers who are gendered outsiders. Ma...
Article
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In response to the disappointments of the anarcho/critical/anti-psychiatry movements, we propose the development of a new understanding of political engagement in the context of psychiatric power, governance, resistance, and abolition. Psychiatric post-anarchism, we argue, is a praxical approach meant to shift the focus for social change in mental...
Article
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Drawing on an affective framework, this qualitative content analysis of the immediate public responses on Twitter in the hours following Jian Ghomeshi’s not guilty verdict (n = 3943 tweets) reveals two key discourses of public opinion. Twitter users depicted the criminal justice system (CJS) as having worked and/or failed, and these intensifying di...
Article
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This qualitative content analysis of online documents compiled from the North American Animal Liberation Front (ALF), Earth Liberation Kollective (ELK) and Grassroots Ontario Animal Liberation (GOAL) network websites and Facebook pages explores how activism within the Radical Animal Liberation Movement (RALM) intersects with other social movements....
Article
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Based on eight in-depth interviews conducted with security guards who work in the psychiatric units of two hospitals located in Ottawa, Canada, this research found that private security agents unknowingly draw on Sykes and Matza’s five techniques of neutralization to justify their use of violence and coercive force against patients and to overcome...
Article
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Based on interview data garnered from two transgender university students (transman and transwoman) and a reflexive narrative analysis, this research found that some transgender students experience overt forms of gender discrimination, violence, and stigma on campus spaces. Particularly troubling are the inadequate athletic facilities, social organ...
Article
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Some male interviewees encounter difficulties when they try to express their emotions and overcome anti-feminist positions that transform the research setting into places where hyper-masculinities are reproduced. This research finds that critical dialogue is a persuasive tool interviewers can employ to challenge their participants to empathize with...
Article
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Drawing on an ethnographic narrative written by one of the authors following his resignation from a hospital private security team in Ottawa, Canada and interview data gleaned from eight security men (all former colleagues), this article explores how hospital private security officers draw on discourses of masculinity to navigate the ‘dirty’ bounda...
Article
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This qualitative research explores the complex and dynamic ways in which eight hospital security men engage in hegemonic masculine practices that subordinate the gender identities of security women and marginalized men. These intensive, in-depth interviews reveal that alpha male status is accomplished through routine demonstrations of physicality a...
Article
Full-text available
This article unfolds the culture of hyper-masculinity I witnessed and ultimately rejected during my sixteen-month career working as a private security officer in an Ottawa hospital. I draw on two ethnographic narratives to “distribute”, in Rancierian terms, the embodied and emotional experiences that accompanied my struggles to achieve hegemonic ma...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Drawing on online forums, we examine digital resistance to labour relations in Canada
Project
In the first publication, we looked at almost 4,000 Twitter posts in the hours following the verdict. Twitter users quickly took sides along gender lines, expressing whether the criminal justice system had worked or failed. The public pitted stereotypes of the rational male against the emotional female and how these were reflected in the legal system. The researchers concluded that punitive systems of justice do not instil a sense of confidence in the public. The researchers recommend restorative and transformative approaches to justice as alternative measures to respond to sexual assault. These approaches shift focus to the healing and dignity of everyone involved in sexual assault cases. The Twitter response to this case demonstrates that achieving truth in justice is a messy, emotional and indefinite process, but one that will remain elusive if the justice system remains bent on declaring winners and losers.
Archived project
Back in 2010, I worked as a security agent in a hospital setting. My MA research and publications that followed years after my resignation details how hyper-masculine security guard culture, politics with nursing staff, elements of institutionalization, and psychiatric discourses shaped our often brutal and coercive interactions with psy-patients, and how we came to understand them. My interviews with the men whom I worked with, as well as years of critical and changing reflections, reveal my sorrows, frustration, and empathy over what happened, and inspiration to keep challenging how we respond to people who suffer mentally (or we see as such).