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LSE PhD awarded ESRC Michael Young Prize

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Dr Asi Sharabi, who recently completed his PhD at LSE's Department of Social Psychology|, has been awarded the ESRC Michael Young prize for innovative work that combines observation and empirical analysis with proper theoretical frameworks to produce impact beyond academia.

Dr Sharabi's doctoral thesis focused on how Israeli children take the perspective of Palestinian children in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Drawing on research methodologies such as drawings, compositions and interviews - classically used to investigate young children's views, sentiments and perspectives - the study sought to understand how Israeli children from different social milieus develop the capacity to put themselves in the place of the other.

The Michael Young Prize is aimed to encourage researchers within three years of a successful viva for their PhD, conducting research of evident social value and public relevance to communicate in a clear way for the non-academic audience. The winner of the prize will have clearly demonstrated the relevance and wider interest of their work to non academic audiences.

Dr Sandra Jovchelovitch, head of the Department of Social Psychology and supervisor of the thesis said: 'Asi's thesis is an outstanding contribution to the social psychology of inter-group relations, perspective-taking and extreme conflict. He had already received the School's Robert McKenzie prize last year and the ESRC Michael Young prize adds recognition to the scope and depth of his work.

'His study shows decisively that the cognitive development of perspective taking must be understood in relation to the social, cultural and historical context in which others are located. When the other happens to be someone whose history, context and needs tend to be denied by the dominant interpretation of a society, perspective-taking ceases to be just an individual cognitive phenomenon and becomes a complex process where individuation and cognitive development radically intersect with the historical matrix of war and conflict.

'His thesis is of great practical import and will be informative to all of those who are involved in dealing with issues of extreme conflict, war trauma, multi-cultural dialogue and communication across sharp political and cultural divides. Perspective-taking is a central human capacity, a product of our psychological, cultural and social history. Asi's thesis shows that understanding the human-made conditions that take it away from developing children and from societies as a whole can help us to contain the undercurrents of human irrationality that fuel the ugly face of war and extreme conflict. We are tremendously proud of his achievement.'

Dr Asi Sharabi said: 'This is very exciting moment for me. I want to take this opportunity and thank everyone at the Institute of Social Psychology, my intellectual home, for giving me the tools and inspiration to pursue this research. Special thanks to Dr Sandra Jovchelovitch who truly inspired me (and still does!) to ask the difficult questions. Her intellectual charisma and critical reading of reality have infected me with the everlasting quest for knowledge and social justice. I am forever grateful to her.'

Click here to read the ESRC press release|

Press Cuttings

THES (26 October)
Two bright young thinkers win early research prize
Asi Sharabi, who undertook his PhD at LSE two years ago, has been awarded the Economic and Social Research Council's Michael Young Prize, awarded each year to socially valuable early career research.

Sourceuk.net (26 October)
2007 Michael Young Prize Winners Announced
Elizabeth Pellicano and Asi Sharabi have been announced as the joint winners of the 2007 Michael Young Prize, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and The Young Foundation. Dr Asi Sharabi currently working as a Social Media Strategist in London. A former Lieutenant in the Israeli Defence Forces, Asi studied Social Psychology at the London School of Economics. Last year he won the LSE Robert Mackenzie Prize for his PhD thesis.

24 October 2007