Mary Jane Paris Spink, Ph.D.

Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, PUC-SP
Rua Monte Alegre, 984, Perdizes
São Paulo, CEP 05014-901

Phone: 55-11-3670-8520

Mary Jane Spink has been a lecturer at the Pontifical Catholic University, PUC-SP, since 1987 and promoted to Professor of Social Psychology in 2000. She graduated in Psychology at the University of São Paulo and obtained her PhD in Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE, University of London) in 1982 under the supervision of Dr. Bram Oppenheim.

Her PhD research had as a focus the use of antenatal services by women who were expecting their first child in the very new organization of prenatal services in São Paulo Brazil in the 1970’s. This immersion has led her to be involved in the organization of health services in Brazil, a story that has been told both from a more general point of view, as in the special number on Health Psychology in Brazil published in the Journal of Health Psychology in 2016  (SPINK, M.J.P, BRIGAGÃO, J.M, MENEGON, V.M  and VICENTIN, M.C.G. Health Psychology in Brazil: The challenges for working in public health settings), as well as a more personal statement published in this same journal in 2017 (SPINK, M.J.P. Interlaced strands: health psychology in Brazil from an autobiographic perspective).

Although Health Psychology has been at the core of the theoretical and research agenda, Mary Jane Spink has had a major role in the development of social constructionist approaches in Brazil, with special reference to discourse analysis as in the still widely circulated book Práticas discursivas e produção de sentidos no cotidiano (now available in open access at and in the recent compilation on  methodological approaches in research on discursive practices in everyday life (A produção de informação na pesquisa social, also  available at Throughout her academic career, she has supervised 95 dissertations and 43 theses (until 2017) on various aspects of social psychological research in the crossroads between a constructionist epistemology; a Foucaltian focus on governamentality and a dialogical approach to everyday exchanges.

One of the core concepts in this trajectory has been risk or, more specifically, the effects of using the risk language for governamentality purposes. This has led to various studies on public policies, local and global. Although health policies have been central to this research program, other uses have also been explored, among them the rise of risk-adventure (as in modalities of sports involving risk) and the experiences of risk in urban settings. This latter and more recent focus has rekindled the interest in quotidian life, specially in the poorest areas of large urban settings as in the city of São Paulo. Her most recent book, concerning living in risk areas was launched in March 2018 (Viver rem áreas de risco).

She has held a Productivity Grant by the National Research Council, CNPq, since 1998, currently classified at the top level (1A).

Further information concerning her trajectory and publications can be found at;