Mrs Jean M Allen

B.Ed - Auckland College of Education, PG Dip (Merit), MEd (First Class Honours) - The University of Auckland

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Jean M Allen is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. She has a background teaching in primary schools. Jean has always had a strong interest in justice and power, which lead her to carry out research on how youth negotiate and resist media power. Currently, Jean’s research is in the field of health education with a particular focus on how youth negotiate, understand, construct and deconstruct health and wellbeing. She is also interested in indigenous models of health and the process of decolonising understandings of health.

Research | Current

More than my body: youth negotiations of health across multiple contexts, spaces and identities.

Dominant understandings of health are underpinned by Western notions of the body, wellbeing, life-style and decision making that call individuals to account for their own health status.  Within this Eurocentric framework, indigenous models and knowledges of health and wellbeing are often undervalued and ignored. My study aims to open up spaces where secondary school students can discuss and share their knowledges and understandings of health and wellbeing. In order to conceptualise, explore and challenge the Eurocentric framework that surrounds health practices, I draw on post-colonial, culture, space and identity theorists such as Homi Bhabha, Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Stuart Hall and Kwame Anthony Appiah.  By employing a postcolonial approach to health I am focusing on holistic understandings of health rather than managing risk and monitoring sickness. A key tenant of this investigation is to explore the impact health knowledges have on students’ lives within the different spaces they occupy and different identities they encapsulate. Critical ethnography is used to observe students’ lived experiences of health education.


Postgraduate supervision

  • Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick (Curriculum and Pedagogy)
  • Dr Darren Powell (Curriculum and Pedagogy)


  • Awarded the Academic Career Exploration Scholarship for the Doctoral Academic Leadership Initiative
  • Awarded Ph.D. scholarship in Health Education
  • Recipient of The University of Auckland, School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Postgraduate Publishing Award.


  • Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland
  • PGSA Committee Member

Areas of expertise

  • Media representation
  • Post-colonial theory

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member: (2018) Womens Study Association 
  • Committee member: (2018) Postgraduate Students Association Faculty of Education and Social Work 
  • Organising committee: (2017 - 2018) Critical Health in Education Conference
  • Organising committee: (2016) War on Obesity research Cafe 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • O'Connor P, Allen, J. M., & Dennan, S. (2018). Where I'm bound I can't tell: Radical changes are still possible in higher education. In P. McLaren, S. SooHoo (Eds.) Radical Imagine-Nation: Public Pedagogy and Praxis (pp. 245-256). New York: Peter Lang. 10.3726/b11176
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter O'Connor
  • Fitzpatrick, K., & Allen, J. M. (2017). Tensions in ethnographic research: Combining critical ethnography and decolonising methods. The Ethnographic Edge, 1 (1), 47-59. 10.15663/tee.v1i1.4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Katie Fitzpatrick
  • Allen, J. (2017). The media are guilty of misrepresenting Tongans. Related URL.
  • Allen, J. M. (2017). #MeToo: The silence from perpetrators of abuse is palpable. Related URL.
  • Allen, J. M. (2017). Tongan language week. Related URL.
  • Allen, J. M. (2017). I'm voting and why you should too. Related URL.
  • Allen, J. M. (2017). My journey to reclaim my heritage and identity. Related URL.
  • Allen, J. M., & Bruce, T. (2017). Constructing the other: News media representations of a predominantly ‘brown’ community in New Zealand. Pacific Journalism Review, 23 (1), 225-244. 10.24135/pjr.v23i1.33
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Toni Bruce


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