Starting out initially with an interest in German existentialism, I have maintained an interest in the application of ideas from philosophy and critical social theory to issues that impact on the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. In the cross-disciplinary space of health studies, ideas from philosophy, psychology and social sciences can make a substantial contribution. While studying for my PhD, I became strongly interested in the field of rhetoric and I have sought to apply rhetorical analysis to a range of subjects including, gender-based violence, spirituality and addiction.
HOW TO TALK ABOUT SPIRITUAL ENCOUNTERS (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)
This book examines how language is used when speaking about spiritual and mystical encounters. It contends that the vague way of speaking that is typical of such communications is an intentional vagueness and a vagueness that aims to engage the imaginative participation of receptive listeners. The book details how this is achieved by focusing on what it refers to as the presence of “provocative gaps.” These gaps are understood here as open receptacles within linguistic space; they signal an absence or lack of specific content within a speech act. Gaps can be created by direct strategies such as missing out content, failing to refer to content or gradually shifting from concrete to abstract references, but gaps can also be generated by a rich variety of more subtle and indirect devices. Read more
NAVIGATING EVERYDAY LIFE: EXPLORING THE TENSION BETWEEN FINITUDE AND TRANSCENDENCE (Lanham MD: Lexington Press, 2018)
This book explores the special moments, big and small, that rupture the surface of everyday life and that can help readers adjust to the disrupting effects of major life crises. Peter Adams delves into the two forces, finitude (the aspects that constrain a person to a situation) and transcendence (those aspects that enable movement beyond such constraints). Building on this framework, Adams looks at the processes and circumstances that both facilitate and block the tensions between finitude and transcendence in life challenges such as separation, depression, chronic illness, injury, violence, addiction, aging, death, and forgiveness. Read more
REFLECTING ON THE INEVITABLE: MORTALITY AT THE CROSSROADS OF PSYCHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, AND HEALTH (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020)
This book combines evidence from several disciplinary fields to explore the varying ways each of us engages with the prospect of personal mortality. Chapters are organized around the question of how an ongoing relationship might be possible when the threat of consciousness coming to an end points to an unspeakable nothingness. The book then argues that, despite this threat, an ongoing relationship with one’s own death is still possible by means of conceptual devices, or ‘enabling frames’. Read more
- I am currently writing a book, provisionally titled Monster Metaphors: When Rhetoric run Amok. It looks at how metaphor, metynomy and synecdoche contribute to a metaphorical frame coming to dominate how we think about things.
- [CHAPTER] Towns, A., Adams, P. Discursive psychology and domestic violence. Chapter 3 in Stephen Gibson (ed.) Discourse, Peace, and Conflict: Discursive Psychology Perspectives. New York: Springer pp. 49-66. Read more
- [ARTICLE) Towns, A., P. Adams (2015) “I didn’t know if I was right or wrong or just bewildered.” Ambiguity, responsibility, and silencing women’s talk of men’s domestic violence. Violence Against Women. 22(4) 496-520. Read more
- [ARTICLE] Towns, A. & Adams, P. (2009) Staying quiet or getting out: some ideological dilemmas faced by women who experience violence from male partners. British Journal of Social Psychology. 48, (4) 735-754 Read more
- [CHAPTER] Adams, P., Towns, A., & Gavey, N. (2003). 3). Dominance and entitlement: the rhetoric men use to discuss their violence towards women. In K. Atkinson & D. Atkinson (Eds). Language and Power in the Modern World(pp. 184-198). Edinburgh University Press. Also published as an article in Discourse and Society. Read more
- [CHAPTER] Towns, A., Adams, P. & Gavey, N. (2003). Silencing talk of men’s violence towards women. In L. Thiesmeyer (ed.) Discourse and Silencing: Representation and the Language of Displacement. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Read more
- [PhD THESIS] Adams, P. J. (1991). A Rhetoric of Mysticism. Unpublished PhD dissertation, School of Psychology, University of Auckland. Read more
- [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2008). Language, mysticism and hypnotizability. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 56(1), 73-82. [Examines rhetorical devices in hypnotic language – 3,500 words]. Read more
- [REPORT] Adams, P. J. (1994) “It takes two to tango”: a language-based approach to interventions with men who abuse women. Unpublished paper, circulated widely and used extensively by facilitators of mens and womens stopping violence programmes. Read more
THEORY IN HEALTH
- [ARTICLE] Buetow, S. and P. J. Adams (2006). Is there any ideal of ‘high quality care’ opposing ‘low quality care’? A deconstructionist reading Health Care Analysis, 14(2), 123-132 [Examines ‘binary’ versus ‘continuum of risk’ constructions in discussion of health – 5,000 words]. Read more
- Buetow, S., Getz, L. & Adams, P. (2008) Individualized population care: linking personal care to population care in general practice. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 14, 761-766. Read more
- [ARTICLE] ADAMS, P.J. (2017) Oscillating imbalances: Responding to the existential in major life transitions. Journal of Social Work Practice, 31(3): 323-36. Read more
- [ARTICLE] ADAMS, P.J. (2016) Responding to the existentials of non-life-threatening chronic conditions. Medical Hypotheses, 93, 48–52. Read more
- To be developed
- Interested in the rhetoric of gender-based violence and constructions of masculinity.
- Applications of post-modern social theory to health and social issues; issues that include: addictions, chronic illness, mental health, masculinities and gambling.
- Applications of philosophy to societal issues, particularly analyses involving existential philosophy, post-structuralist theory and critical psychology.
- Teaching a postgraduate honours course (2009 on) on the theory of knowledge and methodology. Find out more on the Bachelor of Health Science (Honours).