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Dr Jess Phoenix

Dr Jess Phoenix

ESRC Post Doctoral Fellow



Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


Jess investigates what disease is and how it is made through disease management practices. Her research weaves together theoretical insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) with ethnographic research on the cattle disease bovine Tuberculosis. By undertaking a multi-sited ethnography of bTB, Jess’ research shows how versions of disease are created in practice and argues that zoonoses are ‘diseases-in-the-making’. She is keen to develop the impact of her research for academia, policymakers and stakeholders, with the long-term aim of developing multi-pronged approaches to effectively manage zoonotic diseases.

Broad Research Specialisms

Disease; Science and Technology Studies; Ethnography; Controversy; Geography


PhD Science Studies (Lancaster University)
MA Sociological Research (Lancaster University)
BSc Environmental Sciences with a Year in Industry (University of East Anglia)


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Research interests

Using ethnography to investigate ‘what are zoonotic diseases?’ and ‘how can they be (better) managed?’.

Research projects

Jess currently holds an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, entitled “How can we better manage zoonotic disease? Using an ethnography of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to confront what disease is and how it is made through practice”. The aim of the fellowship is to advance the role of social science in managing zoonotic disease outbreaks.  Jess will achieve this by amplifying the academic and policy impacts of her PhD research, which explored bTB management practices in England. Her research will also extend to investigate enablers and barriers to badger vaccination in badger cull zones. 

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Journal articles

Phoenix J (2024). How can we do ethnographic research in a controversy? Lessons and reflections from a multi-sided ethnography of badger culling and bovine Tuberculosis. Qualitative Research Abstract.
Benton CH, Phoenix J, Robertson A, Delahay RJ (2023). Vaccinating badgers in a post-cull landscape; insights from the field. Ecological Solutions and Evidence, 4(1). Abstract.
Marr N, Lantto M, Larsen M, Judith K, Brice S, Phoenix J, Oliver C, Mason O, Thomas S (2022). Sharing the Field: Reflections of More-Than-Human Field/work Encounters. GeoHumanities, 8(2), 555-585.
Swift BMC, Barron ES, Christley R, Corbetta D, Grau-Roma L, Jewell C, O’Cathail C, Mitchell A, Phoenix J, Prosser A, et al (2021). Tuberculosis in badgers where the bovine tuberculosis epidemic is expanding in cattle in England. Scientific Reports, 11(1). Abstract.
Benton CH, Phoenix J, Smith FAP, Robertson A, McDonald RA, Wilson G, Delahay RJ (2020). Badger vaccination in England: Progress, operational effectiveness and participant motivations. People and Nature, 2(3), 761-775. Abstract.
Phoenix JH (2020). Trading with risk: associating bovine Tuberculosis to cattle commodities in risk-based trading. Journal of Cultural Economy, 14(3), 293-305.
Phoenix JH, Atkinson LG, Baker H (2019). Creating and communicating social research for policymakers in government. Palgrave Communications, 5(1). Abstract.
Mullineaux E, Phoenix J, Brown E (2019). Rehabilitating and releasing badgers in England. In Practice, 41(5), 198-204. Abstract.

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