Political psychology needs you!
I’m writing to share an exciting new development which I hope can help us to profile the important role played by psychology in promoting change for the better. Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to support the proposed Political Psychology Section. In the global context, there has never been a more critical time to further our understanding of the full range of human behaviours in relation to political beliefs and actions. We are seeking to exchange ideas, foster research, host conferences and also to share events with the UK’s Political Studies Association, who are keen to work with us. If 2016 has shown us anything, it’s that the impact of politics on our daily lives is certainly on the increase: impending Brexit and a new UK prime minister, fallout from the US elections, talk of more referenda and the escalation of international tensions in Europe and the Middle East. Perhaps it is no coincidence that when the International Society for Political Psychology formed 38 years ago these were familiar themes then.
Because politics is about power – individual, organisational and societal – our roles as training and qualified psychologists in these contexts is always likely to be interesting. Political psychology seeks to explore the underlying psychological mechanisms, including values and identity, as well as the real-world consequences, whether expressed as public opinion and media output, or experienced as intergroup relations, conflict and peace processes. In other words, political psychology is not just about those we recognise as ‘politicians’, but also about the politicians we don’t always recognise – all of us!
The International Society for Political Psychology returns to the UK for only the third time since its foundation in 1978 for its annual conference in Edinburgh in 2017. I hope you’ll agree that political psychology deserves a base within the BPS. For this to happen we need to enlist the help of 1 per cent of the Society’s membership, so please lend a minute of your time by logging on (with your membership number) to the expression of interest form. There’s no compulsion to join anything, simply to indicate support for this the proposal. If you have any queries, I would be delighted to hear from you at [email protected]
Dr Ashley Weinberg CPsychol, AFBPsS
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