Bachelorproject in Political Psychology
We learn about politics through the means of others: the mass media, politicians, family, or friends. In this year’s bachelor project we examine how citizens make sense of political problems, decisions, and outcomes when they discuss politics in groups.
Most of the literature in political psychology studies citizens as individuals separated from their social networks. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in bringing the group back into our understanding of political behavior. Much of this literature examines the democratic potential of political discussion (also called citizen deliberation) as understood by advocates of deliberative democracy such as, for example, Ackerman and Fishkin (2003). Many empirical findings in social science research suggest, however, that citizen discussion of politics does not always conform to this ideal (see, for example, Sanders 1997, Mendelberg 2002, Rosenberg 2005).
In this year’s Bachelor project we are going to test some of the assumptions made by deliberative theories focusing on three questions: First, how does the composition of political views in social networks influence the fashion in which discourse takes place and/or its outcome? Second, how does the environmental context in which group discussion is embedded influence the fashion in which discourse takes place and/or its outcome? And finally, how does framing influence the fashion in which discourse takes place and/or its outcome? In your Bachelor thesis you are going to investigate one of these three questions based on a systematic empirical study of an online political discussion of your own choice.