Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr Madeleine Castro
About Dr Madeleine Castro
Madeleine's background is in both Sociology and Psychology. Broadly speaking, she is interested in exceptional human experiences (EHEs), what they tell us about who we are and how we can research these experiences ethically and non-judgementally.
Madeleine completed an MA in Social Research at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2004. Her Masters dissertation considered qualitative accounts of women's reported EHEs. Securing scholarship funding for a PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of York, she continued this line of research, completing her PhD in 2009, exploring how people talked about and made sense of their transcendent EHEs.
After a postdoctoral project at the University of York surveying the British population about their reported spontaneous paranormal experiences, she started teaching at Leeds Beckett in 2010.
Since 2007, she has co-directed a interdisciplinary and international network for academics, researchers and postgraduates interested in subjects often labelled 'paranormal' (often found on the periphery of social science) called Exploring the Extraordinary (EtE). The network represents a supportive forum and an eclectic set of perspectives and disciplines. There is an annual conference every year, which attracts a diverse body of researchers, academics and practitioners.
She is currently Honorary Treasurer for the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society.
Madeleine has taught on various modules for the BA (Hons) Psychology & Society, including Interdisciplinary Psychology, Critical Social Psychology, and Doing Psychology. She currently teaches at the undergraduate level on Framing Madness, Parapsychology, Psychosocial Development and Researching Psychology. She also supervises level 6 dissertations.
At postgraduate level she is teaching on several modules for the MA in Interdisciplinary Psychology, including Central Problems, Foundations of Psychoanalysis, Transpersonal Psychology and Critical Methodologies. She also supervises MA Independent Projects.
Madeleine's research has centred upon meaning and sense-making in reported EHEs. She also has an interest in methodology for the social sciences, which is particularly influenced by Critical Social Psychology, Feminism and Transpersonal Psychology.
More recently, she has been exploring forms of contemporary spirituality (particularly that which is often viewed as 'alternative'). This includes the extent to which there might be relationships between reported EHEs and spirituality, the relationship between EHEs, the paranormal and popular culture, and the potentially positive effects precipitated by some of these experiences.
Madeline's most recent work has been exploring the phenomenon of women's Red Tent groups and the subjective experiences of women participating in these spaces.