PS409      Half Unit
Political Psychology of Intercultural Relations

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Caroline Howarth, KSW.5.15


This course is available on the MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students from all departments may attend subject to numbers, their own degree regulations and at the discretion of the teacher responsible

Course content

The course demonstrates the importance of a Political Psychological perspective for the understanding of intercultural relations in general, with a particular focus on multiculturalism, politicised identities, ideologies of nationalism, racialised poverty, institutionalised discrimination and intercultural dialogue. The central issues we shall examine across an array of contexts are: what is the connection between politics and psychology within everyday encounters; what is the relevance of politics in intercultural relations and for systems of everyday knowledge about belonging, nationhood and cultural communities; what are the psychological consequences of exclusion, discrimination and inequality; what are the psychological processes involved in systems of social and political change? Theories of social representations, identity, discourse, contact, acculturation, community resilience and reconciliation shall be covered. Lecturers aim to achieve a balance between theoretical and applied issues, in the interests of critically investigating the ways in which conceptual tools can enhance our own understanding of intercultural relations and systems of inequality, and also contribute to broader social and political debates. We aim to establish an account of intercultural relations that connects the political (the ideological, the structural, the discursive) and the psychological (identity, representation and agency). We apply this critical political psychological account of production and consequences of cultural difference to the contexts of politics, community, education and everyday life in general, and examine the possibilities for productive intercultural contact, dialogue and engagement.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

A written assignment (maximum 1000 words). This will consist of an outline and short section of the summative assignment.

Indicative reading

Andrews, M. (2007) Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;Augoustinos, M. and Reynolds, K. (2001). Understanding Prejudice, Racism and Social Conflict. London: Sage. Billig, M. (1995) Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.  Durrheim, K. & Dixon, J.A. (2005). Racial Encounter: The Social Psychology of Contact and Desegregation London: Psychology Press. Hopkins, N., and Blackwood, L. (2011). Everyday citizenship: Identity and recognition. Journal of Community and Applied Psychology, 21, 215-227. Howarth, C. (2006). A social representation is not a quiet thing: Exploring the critical potential of social representations theory. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 65 – 86. Jovchelovitch, S. and Priego-Hernandez, J. (2013). Underground Sociabilities: identity, culture and resistance in teh favelas of Rio de Janeiro. UNESCO: Brasilia. Kinnvall, C., & Nesbitt-Larking, P. (2011) The Political Psychology of Globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Moghaddam, F. (2008). Multiculturalism and intergroup relations: psychological implications for democracy in global context. Washington DC: APA. Jost, J. & Sidanius, J. (2004) Political Psychology. Hove: Psychology Press. Reicher, S. and Hopkins, N. (2001). Self and Nation. London: Sage. Sen, R., Wagner, W. and Howarth, C. (2014). Secularism and religion in multifaith societies, Springer. Spini, D., Elcheroth, G. and Corkalo Biruski, D. (2013). War, community and social change. Berlin: Springer. Wetherell, M. and Potter, J. (1992). Mapping the Language of Racism: discourse and the legitimation of exploitation. Hemel-Hempstead: Harvester-Wheatsheaf. Verkuyten, M. (2014). Identity and Cultural Diversity. London: Routledge.


Essay (90%, 3000 words) and presentation (10%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21.2
Merit 67.3
Pass 11.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2016/17: 34

Average class size 2016/17: 16

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information