Email: michaliskonto(a)googlemail.com

Dr Michalis Kontopodis
Senior Lecturermkontopodissept2016

Director of Research Internationalisation

Director MSc Psychology and Education
Centre for Critical Psychology & Education

University Web:

Overview of Citations: 

Twitter: @m_kontopodis

I welcome potential PhD students interested in the topics mentioned below to contact me and discuss their ideas and research proposals.

General information/ profile

My background comprises youth studies, educational science and cultural anthropology. I joined the University of Sheffield as a Senior Lecturer in 2016 having held the following positions:

  • Roehampton University London, Senior Lecturer (2014-1016)
  • Escuela Normal del Estado, San Luis Potosi, Mexico (visiting professor, 2014)
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (assistant professor, 2012-2014)
  • Pontíficia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil (visiting professor)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, India (visiting professor, 2010)
  • Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Russia (visiting scholar, regularly 2010-2012)
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (post-doc researcher, 2011-2012)
  • City University of New York, US (visiting scholar, 2009)
  • Humboldt University Berlin, Germany (post-doc researcher, 2007-2010)

Before that I accomplished doctoral studies in psychology, educational science and anthropology at the Free University Berlin in Germany.

My research and writing have much to do with my own biography. Without going into details: I grew up with a lovely family – yet, in a very small, rather conservative, town in South Crete, which did not even have a cinema at that time. I couldn’t afford trendy clothes or CDs and was not seen as one of the “cool” teenagers in this setting; I was rather pursuing my own path, targeting at getting as early as possible to travel as far as possible. Curiosity has been my strongest motive (and is probably my favourite word). The budget of my family was rather low and would not allow me much, therefore I studied hard as to broaden my horizons. Often suffering under highly competitive and exam-oriented school systems, I managed to receive scholarships and public funding for studies and international youth mobility programmes. Step by step, through being supported by very kind teachers/ professors, colleagues, family members and friends, I managed to live in different continents, learn five languages and be invited to work as a visiting scholar at a few of the world’s most renowned universities.

Without a second thought, I committed myself to working on social justice and education.

It has been a difficult experience for me to realise (from Greece, which was not that far) how violent the Yugoslav and Iraq Wars were in the time I was a pre-graduate student (and how violent Greek policemen were against our peaceful protests…). It has then also been a painful experience for me – coming from the countryside – to see young people collapsing, experiencing violence, being homeless or suffering from drugs and alcohol abuse during my PhD study in places like Paris or Berlin where others conduct extra-luxurious lives. Last but not least, it has been a difficult experience for me to experience in my own life unemployment and precarious working conditions far away from my country of origin (i.e. Greece) after I received my PhD – which has happened about twice so far with me feeling quite vulnerable and unbalanced.

Ethnographic fieldwork and writing has provided the way for me to cope with all these difficulties – at psychological as well as theoretical levels. Getting to know underground/ subcultural lifestyles in places like Berlin and Amsterdam has certainly been of interest and influence to me; yet, I have been deeply inspired to think and write about alternatives to capitalist exploitation and alienation through my engagement with a variety of activists, social movements and indigenous ways of life after I left Berlin and Amsterdam (especially in Brazil).


Threatened Indigenous Community Leaders, Rio Negro, Amazon 2013 (photo from ethnographic fieldwork)

This trajectory – which entailed ethnographic research and theoretical enquiry as well as experiencing (in Russian: perezhivanie) and personal development for about a decade – led to academic writing on global neoliberalism, pedagogy and human development that is less “neutral” than most developmental psychological and educational research may look like.

At the present moment I am deeply concerned with youth being globally affected by the contemporary ecological, financial, geopolitical and ethical crisis. My research does not aim at generally “improving” learning and schooling – I aspire to contribute pedagogically to the making of heterogeneous open-ended global collectivities that peacefully share knowledge and material goods (as opposed to competition and profit-making as well as to belonging to introvert, closed communities). Meta-reflection, memory, imagination, virtual development can be central notions in this undertaking.

In this context, I have until recently coordinated the international research project DIGIT-M-ED “Global Perspectives on Learning and Development with Digit@l Video-Editing Media”, http://digitmed.wordpress.com. This project was funded by the Marie Curie FW7 International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (budget: 220.000 Euro, collaborating universities: Free University Berlin; Moscow State University of Psychology & Education; Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo; Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Crete; VU Amsterdam).

I am Director of Internationalisation & a core member of the Centre for Critical Psychology and Education at the University of Sheffield, a former Secretary of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research, expert evaluator of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Union, expert evaluator of research proposals for the Danish Council for Independent Research and external advisor of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (National Council of Scientific and Technological Development) in Brazil. Furthermore, I am a consultant and scientific adviser on global education, intercultural dialogue as well as on teaching and learning with new media technologies (specialising in North & South Europe and Brazil).

Landless Children – Sem Terrinha, Landless Workers’ Movement – MST, Espirito Santo, Brazil 2010 15.14 min (Ethnographic Film by M. Kontopodis)

My current project concerns “Hyperconnecting Youth”:



Main book publications: 

Kontopodis, M. (hardcover: 2012, paperback: 2014) Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development: Exploring Time, Mediation and Collectivity in Contemporary Schools. London & New York: Routledge.

Kontopodis, M.; Magalhães, M.C. & Coracini, M.J. (Eds) (2016). Facing Poverty and Marginalization: 50 Years of Critical Research in Brazil. Bern, Oxford & New York: Peter Lang.

Kontopodis, Michalis, Wulf, Christoph & Fichtner, Bernd (eds.) (2011) Children, Development and Education: Cultural, Historical, Anthropological Perspectives. New York: Springer.

Open-access publications: https://sheffield.academia.edu/michaliskontopodis

For an overview of all my works see my CV and list of publications here: CV2018_Kontopodis.