School of Population Health

Peter J. Adams - rhetorics, language and philosophy


Starting out initially with an interest in German existentialism, I have maintained an interest in the application of ideas from philosophy and critical social theory to issues that impact on the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

Activities and involvements

  • The rhetoric of spirituality and mysticism [completed a draft manuscript on this topic, 120,000 words].
  • The application of the concepts of finitude and transcendence to everyday life [currently writing a book on this topic]
  • The rhetoric of interpersonal violence and other colonizing behaviours.
  • Applications of post-modern social theory to health and social issues; issues that include: addictions, chronic illness, mental health, masculinities and gambling.
  • Applications of philosophy to societal issues, particularly analyses involving existential philosophy, post-structuralist theory and critical psychology.
  • Teaching a postgraduate honours course (2009 on) on the theory of knowledge and methodology. Find out more on the Bachelor of Health Science (Honours).



  • [CHAPTER] Towns, A., Adams, P. & Gavey, N. (2003). Silencing talk of men’s violence towards women. In L. Thiesmeyer (ed.) Discourse and Silencing: Representation and the Language of Displacement. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Read more
  • [DISSERTATION] Adams, P. J. (1991). A Rhetoric of Mysticism. Unpublished PhD dissertation, School of Psychology, University of Auckland. Read more


  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (in press). Interventions with men who are violent to their partners: Strategies for early engagement. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy [Looks at language and rhetoric for use in engaging men in change - 8,000 words]
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2008). Language, mysticism and hypnotizability. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 56(1), 73-82. [Examines rhetorical devices in hypnotic language - 3,500 words].   Read more
  • [REPORT] Adams, P. J. (1994) “It takes two to tango”: a language-based approach to interventions with men who abuse women. Unpublished paper, circulated widely and used extensively by facilitators of mens and womens stopping violence programmes.   Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Towns, A. & Adams, P. (1999) “If I really loved him enough he would be okay,” women’s accounts of male partner violence. Violence Against Women 6(6), 558-585.  Read more


  • [BOOK] Adams, P. J. Gambling, Freedom and Democracy. New York: Routledge [This book examines the many ways in which distorted practices with money associated with commercialised gambling are subtly degrading the democratic structures and processes].  Read more 
  • [ARTICLE] Buetow, S. and P. J. Adams (2006). Is there any ideal of ‘high quality care’ opposing ‘low quality care’? A deconstructionist reading Health Care Analysis, 14(2), 123-132 [Examines ‘binary’ versus ‘continuum of risk’ constructions in discussion of health - 5,000 words].  Read more
  • Buetow, S., Getz, L. & Adams, P. (2008) Individualized population care: linking personal care to population care in general practice. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 14, 761-766. Read more