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James McNally (PhD Student)

James McNally

Research Interests: Historical epistemology, sociology of science and technology, problems and problem-solving, pragmatist and post-structuralist philosophy.

Supervisors: Professor Noortje MarresLink opens in a new window and Dr Matt SpencerLink opens in a new window.

Thesis (working title)

On the Concept of the Problem

Research Topic

My research examines the concept of the 'problem' as it was transformed around the turn of the 20th century from an everyday term into a technical concept, owing to interventions from the human sciences and philosophy. My research focuses on the ways in which which 'problems' became empirical entities which could be observed (or inferred from observation) and studied, often as a means to furnish wider conceptions concerning the nature of humans as individuals and as collectives. Of particular interest for my research are the early psychologies of problem-solving and sociologies of social problems. I employ methods largely drawn from the field of historical epistemology and thinkers such as Ian Hacking, Arnold Davidson, and Hans-Jorg Rheinberger.


  • In December 2018 I provided research and organisational assistance for the Put to the Test international workshop. More Information on the workshop can be found here. Following the workshop, from Winter 2018 to Spring 2020 I worked as a research assistant for the production of a special issue of the British Journal of Sociology focused around the themes and contributions from the workshop. More information on this special issue can be found here.
  • From 2019 to 2021 worked as a postgraduate research assistant on Horizon 2020 BLINDSPOT: Diversity and Performance in Networks and Teams, a European Research Council (ERC) project headed by principal investigator Professor David Stark. More information can be found here:

  • In Autumn 2019 I worked as a sessional tutor on the CIM module 'Approaches to the Digital.'
  • In Winter 2019 and 2021 I led the CIM Study Skills module.
  • In Spring 2020 I worked as a research assistant on the ResiCAV (Resilience in Connected Autonomous Vehicles) project led by principal investigator Professor Carsten Maple at Warwick Manufacturing group at the University of Warwick.
  • In Summer 2020 I worked as a copy editor for Professor Elena Esposito at the University of Bielefeld.
  • I currently work as an Editorial Assistant for Sociologica: International Journal for Sociological Debate, published by the University of Bologna. More information can be found here:
  • I currently work as a Research Assistant at the University of Columbia in the City of New York.


  • 2017: Bursary Award for outstanding CIMasters applications – Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, £2000
  • 2018: Outstanding Performance and Best Dissertation for MA in Digital Media and Culture – Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
  • 2018-present Gibraltar Discretionary Scholarship Award (PhD)
  • 2020: Research Development Programme bursary for student-led conferences – Warwick Doctoral College, £600


Call for abstracts can be found here; conference programme and list of speakers can be found here)



Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies

University of Warwick CV4 7AL

Email:j dot mcnally at warwick dot ac dot uk