In this free course, Social psychology and politics, you have looked at some of the ways in which social psychologists have engaged with the political. Theories of individual differences highlight the ways in which political behaviours, attitudes and beliefs relate to differences in individual psychologies, such as activism orientation. Social identity approaches, on the other hand, look at the ways in which behaviour relates to the groups that people belong to, and highlight the importance of these shared social identities for understanding collective action. Finally, social constructionist approaches focus on the sociocultural context and critically interrogate the ways in which political concepts, like ‘good’ citizenship, are constructed. This work as a whole highlights the ways in which social psychological concepts are vital in helping to understand how and why people engage in political processes and structures. In addition, it highlights the ways in which social psychology can itself be political: by taking an explicitly political stance on what the social world should look like.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.