PS443      Half Unit
Societal Psychology

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Caroline Howarth STC.365


This course is available on the MSc in Health, Community and Development and MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students from the Institute of Social Psychology are strongly encouraged to audit this course and MSc Health, Community and Development students may take this as a course option. . Students from all other departments may attend subject to numbers, their own degree regulations and at the discretion of the teacher responsible.

Course content

What is the relevance of Societal Psychology for social science? How is it useful for the study of organisations, intercultural relations, health, community development and communication? Each week we tackle key debates for the social sciences through an examination of central theories in Societal Psychology. For example we ask: How is human consciousness possible? Is intergroup conflict inevitable? Are there cultural differences in how we think? Do we practice what we preach? Can a minority change the opinions of a majority? Do certain organisations produce good leaders? Would designing social spaces differently change social behaviour? These questions are addressed though the introduction of the main theories of Societal Psychology, theories on consciousness, social identity, intergroup relations, attitudes and behaviour, social representations, social influence, language, leadership and social design. The course is aimed at MSc students with little or no background in Societal Psychology but will also include advanced material and critiques for students who want to study topics in-depth.


20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 case study in the LT.

Indicative reading

Augostinos, M. Walker I and N Donaghue. (2006) Social Cognition: An integrated Introduction (2nd edition).London: Sage; Bar-Tal, D. (2011) Intergroup conflicts and their resolution: A Social Psychological Perspective. Hove: Psychology Press. Farr, R.M. (1996) The Roots of Modern Social Psychology, Oxford: Blackwell; Flick, U. (1998) The Psychology of the Social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Gergen, K. (1991) The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books. Haslam, A. (2001) Psychology in Organisations: The Social Identity Approach. London: Sage. Himmelweit, H. & G Gaskell (1990), Societal Psychology, Sage; Hollway, W. Lucey H. and Phoenix A. (2007), Social Psychology Matters. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Hook, D. (Ed). (2004).Critical psychology Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press;Ibanez, T. & Iniguez, L. (1997). Critical social psychology. London: Sage; Johannson, T. (2000) Social Psychology and Modernity. Buckingham: Open University Press; Jovchelovitch, S. (2007) Knowledge in Context: Representations, Community and Culture. London: Routledge. Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D. and Platwo, M. (2011) The New Psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. Hove: Psychology Press. Tajfel, T. (1981) Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology, Cambridge University Press; Tomasello, M. (2009). Why we cooperate. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Walkerdine, V. (2002). (Ed.), Challenging Subjects: Critical Psychology for a New Millennium. Basingstoke: Palgrave.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2009/10, 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.7
Merit 75
Pass 8.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2012/13: 9

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93.9%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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