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Staff Profile

Dr Maria Fernandes-Jesus


Maria Fernandes-Jesus

I joined York St John University as a Lecturer in Psychology in August 2021. Prior to joining York St John, I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Aston University, Iscte - Lisbon University Institute, and the University of Sussex. I hold a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Porto (Portugal).

My research interests can broadly be described as analysing issues related to participation and climate justice, particularly how groups and communities resist, contest and overcome social injustice and power inequalities. My background is in psychology, but my research is shaped by an interdisciplinary perspective and the utilisation of participatory and mixed methods.

I am a member of the Ecological Justice Research Group and part of the Steering Group of the Institute for Social Justice.


I currently teach on:

  • PSY5003M Qualitative Research Methods
  • PSY5001M Social Psychology
  • PSY4008M Survey Research Methods and Statistics
  • PSY7001M Psychological Research Methods
  • PSY4005M Current psychology

Alongside my teaching, I supervise students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I am also a 1st year academic tutor for undergraduates.


My research interests focus on how groups and communities resist, contest and overcome social injustice and power inequalities. I have been involved in several national and international research projects addressing participation and community engagement to tackle shared societal challenges. Themes in my current research include climate and environmental justice, community engagement, collective action and social movements, political agency, youth participation and social inclusion. I have a longstanding interest in researching these issues using mixed-methods and following applied, participatory, and interdisciplinary approaches.

I am currently the co-principal investigator in two external research projects, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology:

  • JUSTFUTURES: Climate Futures and Just Transformations: Young People’s Narratives and Political Imaginaries. [PTDC/COM-OUT/7669/2020]. With Anabela Carvalho (PI, University of Minho), Carla Malafaia (University of Porto), Mehmet Ali Uzelgun (University of Lisbon).
  • EuroREGEN: Transnational networks for regenerative development in Europe: A comparative perspective on grassroots mobilisation and policy advocacy. [PTDC/SOC-SOC/2061/2020]. With Ana Margarida Esteves (PI, Iscte - Lisbon University Institute), Luciane Santos (University of Coimbra).

I would be happy to collaborate and/or supervise projects related to my general research interests. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss potential collaborations for projects or PhD applications.

Recent publications

Selected recent journal articles

  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Mao, G., Ntontis, E., Cocking, C., McTague, M., Schwarz, A., Semlyen, J., & Drury, J. (2021). More than a COVID-19 response: Sustaining mutual aid groups during and beyond the pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Üzelgün, M. A., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Küçükural, Ö. (2021). Reception of activist messages: Low-carbon transition professionals’ critical reactions to a climate activist’s argumentation on carbon offsetting. Argumentation & Advocacy.
  • Petrescu, C., Ellena, A. M, Fernandes-Jesus, M., & Marta, E. (2021). Using Evidence in Policies Addressing Rural NEETs: Common Patterns and Differences in Various EU Countries. Youth & Society.
  • Ellena, A. M, Marta, E., Simões, F., Fernandes-Jesus, M., & Petrescu, C. (2021). Soft Skills and Psychological Well-being: A Study on Italian Rural and Urban NEETs. Calitatea Vieții, 32(4).
  • Viebrantz, P. & Fernandes-Jesus, M. (2021). Visitors' Perceptions of Urban Green Spaces: A Study of Lisbon's Alameda and Estrela Parks. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities.
  • Mao, G., Drury, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M., & Ntontis, E. (2021). How participation in Covid-19 mutual aid groups affects subjective wellbeing and how political identity moderates these effects. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.
  • Mao, G., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Ntontis, E. Drury, J. What have we learned about COVID-19 volunteering in the UK? A rapid review of the literature. BMC Public Health 21, 1470 (2021).
  • Rosa, M. C., & Fernandes-Jesus M. (2021). "Círculos de Cidadania” para uma cidadania global: Um programa de intervenção para a promoção da participação cívica de crianças. [Citizenship Circles for a global citizenship: An intervention program for promoting children’s civic participation]. Revista Sinergias, 11.
  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Barnes, B., & Diniz, R. F. (2020). Communities reclaiming power in the face of climate change. Community Psychology in Global Perspective, 6, 2(2), 1–21.
  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Lima, M. L., Sabucedo, J.M. (2020). "Save the Climate! Stop the Oil”: Actual Protest Behavior and Core Framing Tasks in the Portuguese Climate Movement. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 8(1), 426–452.
  • Fernandes-Jesus, M. & Gomes, R. (2020). Multiple Players, Different Tactics, a Shared Goal: Building Bridges and Political Agency While Fighting Against Oil and Gas Drilling. Frontiers in Communication - Science and Environmental Communication.
  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Seixas, E. C., & Carvalho, A. (2019). Beyond the hindrances: citizens’ narrated experiences of public consultations and the possibility of ethics and relevance in participation. Comunicação e Sociedade, 36, 57-80.
  • Cooke, R., Beccaria, F., Demant, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Fleig, L., Negreiro, J., Scholz, U., & De-Visser, R. (2019). Patterns of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm among European university students. European Journal of Public Health. 29(6), 1125–1129
  • Freitas, D., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Ferreira, Coimbra, S., Teixeira, P., Moura, A., Gato, Marques, S., & Fontaine, A. M. (2018). Psychological correlates of perceived ethnic discrimination in Europe: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Violence. 8(6), 712-725.
  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Lima, M. L., & Sabucedo, J. M. (2018). Changing identities to change the world: Identity motives in lifestyle politics and its link to collective action. Political Psychology, 39 (5), 1031-1046.

Books/book chapters

  • Fernandes-Jesus, M., Malafaia, C., Ribeiro, N., & Menezes, I. (2015). Participation among youth, women and migrants: findings from Portugal. In M. Barret & B. Zani (Eds.). Political and civic engagement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 311-333). Surrey: Routledge.
  • Menezes, I., Ribeiro, N., Fernandes-Jesus, M.; Malafaia, C., Ferreira, P. D., (Eds., 2012). Agência e participação cívica e política: Jovens e imigrantes na construção da democracia. [Agency and Civic and Political Participation: Youth and immigrants building Democracy]. Porto: Livpsic. [Book].

Professional activities

  • Member of the executive committee of the European Community Psychology Association (ECPA).
  • Associate editor in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
  • Member of the editorial board in the Journal of Community Psychology in Global Perspective.
  • Ad-hoc reviewer for several journals including: Journal of Political Psychology;; Psychology: Bilingual Journal of Environmental Psychology; Journal of Environmental Management; Journal of Youth Studies; International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction; PLOS One; AWRY: Journal of Critical Psychology; etc.
  • Member of the following scientific societies: International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP); European Community Psychology Association (ECPA); Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA).
  • MC member and WG1 leader (Rural NEETs social networks and social inclusion), of the COST action “CA18213: Rural NEET Youth Network: Modeling the risks underlying rural NEETs social exclusion".
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