Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Professor Natasha Mauthner

Director of Research

Background

Natasha Mauthner is a Professor of Social Science Philosophy and Method and Director of Research at the Newcastle University Business School, where she led the REF2021 Business and Management submission. She leads the Newcastle Methods Hub and was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Science in 2017 in recognition of her methodological innovation and contribution to the development of a critical social science. She sits on the Chartered Association of Business Schools Research (CABS) Committee and is currently leading the Development Programme for Directors of Research jointly run by CABS and the British Academy of Management (BAM). Natasha has acted as an external reviewer of Research Excellence Framework preparations for several universities in the UK. Prior to her appointment at Newcastle, Natasha worked at the University of Aberdeen’s Business School (2003-2018) where she holds an Honorary Chair. She was Director of Research (2012-2018), co-led the REF2014 Business and Management submission, and was the Research Lead on the Business School’s Athena SWAN Bronze Award (2016-17). Natasha has also held appointments at the University of Aberdeen’s Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research (1998-2003) and Health Services Research Unit (1995-1996), and the University of Edinburgh’s Research Unit in Health and Behavioural Change (1996-1998) and Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (2013-2018). She has had visiting positions at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Carlton University in Canada, University of Melbourne in Australia, and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Natasha has a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge (awarded 1989), in which she studied biology, history and philosophy of science, and experimental psychology. She has a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge (awarded 1994). Her doctoral research  was funded by a Medical Research Council studentship and explored women's experiences of motherhood and was published as The Darkest Days of my Life: Stories of Postpartum Depression (Harvard University Press, 2002). In 1994 she took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education to work with Professor Carol Gilligan funded by scholarships from the Fulbright Commission, the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. 

Natasha's transdisciplinary research explores how feminist science studies and philosophies of science open up new possibilities for the philosophical foundations, methodological approaches and ethical practices used in the social sciences. This work underpins her substantive contributions to a range of fields including gender, work and family; the intersection between technology and society; data sharing and big data; perinatal mental health; qualitative research; and research ethics. Natasha has published over 60 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and a book by Harvard University Press. She has contributed to leading journals such as SociologyGender, Work and Organisation; Work, Employment and Society; and the American Behavioral Scientist and to benchmark edited collections including the Handbook of Research Methods on Gender and Management, SAGE Research Methods Foundations, the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research Ethics, theHandbook of Social Research Methods, the Handbook of 21st Century Sociology and the Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Sociology. Natasha is an Editorial Board Member of Qualitative Research.

Natasha's research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the European Union, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Society for Research Into Higher Education, the Carnegie Trust, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. Throughout her career she has engaged in knowledge exchange activities through contributions to the media, public events, blogs, practitioner conferences, collaborative projects with artists, and the development of academic-policy-practitioner networks. Natasha has undertaken extensive undergraduate and postgraduate teaching over the past 30 years, and she has a passion for teaching courses on research philosophies and methods; and gender, work and organisation.

Research

My current research focuses on four areas:

 

1. Feminist philosophy of science and methodology

This research programme seeks to articulate a feminist posthumanist philosophy, methodology, ethics and politics of knowledge-making in the social sciences drawing on feminist philosophy of science, feminist science studies, science and technology studies, new materialist philosophies, and poststructuralism. It explores the implications of newly emerging feminist philosophies of science for a feminist posthumanist philosophy of social science with a particular focus on the work of physicist and feminist philosopher, Karen Barad. One aspect of this work is to reconfigure research methods (including feminist and qualitative research methods) as philosophically situated practices. My research investigates ways of conceptualizing and enacting methods in philosophically, ethically and politically accountable and responsible ways, for which I am pioneering a new methodology of 'diffractive genealogies'. My work is also contributing to rethinking research ethics and the politics of knowledge production in feminist posthumanist terms.

2. The philosophy and ethics of data sharing and big data

This second research area explores the philosophy and ethics of data sharing and big data, and develops critical philosophical and methodological approaches to the creation and use of digital qualitative research archives in the social sciences. My research advocates recognising diversity and pluralism in philosophical approaches to research and therefore in data archiving and sharing practices. It also suggests that the ethical complexities of data sharing demand more flexible, inclusive, and collaborative approaches in which researchers, research participants, research funders, universities, and publishers work together to devise context-specific data-sharing practices on a case-by-case basis. My research in this field has made a formative and lasting contribution, impacting on cross-disciplinary academic debates and research, and reshaping data archiving policy and practice. It has been taken up internationally across social science disciplines, with invitations to collaborate, advise, lead expert working groups, and give plenaries in Australia, the United States, Canada, Sweden, Hungary and Poland as well as the UK. This work has influenced the development of connected research fields, informing research and debates on data sharing in the natural sciences.

3. Gender and work in higher education

 

I am currently developing research on gender, leadership and the gender pay gap. This builds on my earlier research interests in gender, work and family life, and gender, power and research management within the university sector. I am currently supervising a doctoral student, funded by a Goldman PhD Scholarship, researching gender and the pay gap in the neoliberal university. 


4. Emerging technologies and the future of work 


Building on earlier EPSRC-funded research on work-life balance in a digital economy, I am developing interdisciplinary work with new colleagues at Newcastle the Law School on the future of work and social justice in a digital economy, including research on implantable microchips and the future of work.


Recent research highlights:

Invited and funded by the US National Science Foundation to contribute to an international expert workshop on Big Data ethics, December 2016, Washington D.C. with results published in American Behavioral Scientist (https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764218792701).

Prof. Mauthner's research on emerging technologies features on the World Economic Forum (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/04/why-we-need-to-rethink-our-relationship-with-technologyand https://www.weforum.org/agenda/authors/natasha-mauthner).

Invitation to contribute an expert commentary for the journal of Women's Reproductive Health (2018) on the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation in 2016 to introduce universal screening for depression for everyone over age 13. (https://doi.org/10.1080/23293691.2018.1429393)

Expert contributor to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' reportThe Culture of Scientific Research in the UK (2014) (http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/research-culture/the-findings/;http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/research-culture/).


Article in The Conversation (2015) ‘We don’t need digital detox, but there is a need to rethink our relationship with technology’. (http://theconversation.com/we-dont-need-digital-detox-but-there-is-a-need-to-rethink-our-relationship-with-technology-40346).

 

Teaching

Prof. Mauthner currently teaches research methods to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Publications