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Dr Caroline Howarth (BA Cambridge; MSc LSE: PhD, LSE)
Editor of Papers in Social Representations
I have a commitment and passion for developing Social Psychology as a discipline in ways that intersect with current social and political concerns, reveal the necessity of the psychological analysis of 'real world' issues and thus lead to programmes for social change.
I hope that my work speaks to, critiques and develops psychological concepts both at the heart of the discipline (identity, community, representation and resistance) and the more specialised fields of racism, multiculture and intercultural relations.
Together with a group of dedicated PhD students, I have developed the research group: IRG (The Intercultural Research Group). I am also a keen member of the LSE Social Representations Group and the Health, Community and Development Research Group.
Growing up in different multicultural communities (in Kenya, Fiji and Papua New Guinea) has influenced the way I think about and 'do' social psychology, directing my interests towards the political interconnections between community, identity, representation and resistance. In particular, I support critical approaches in social psychology as I believe our discipline has the potential to challenge the social inequalities we are part of.
My first teaching experience was in South Africa – at the time of massive political and psychological transformation (1989 – 1992). I worked in a primary school on the outskirts of Johannesburg with children and young adults who taught me much about the realities of extreme poverty, the psychological violence of racism and the remarkable human capacity for hope and ambition in the most miserable of situations. My time there, and later in Cape Town, had an enormous impact on my social and political identity and continues to feed my passion for critical and meaningful social science.
Studying at the University of Cambridge was something of a shock after living the raw politics of apartheid, and I struggled to make sense of British culture and its more implicit forms of social exclusion, discrimination and resistance. Discovering Social Psychology, with the intellectual guidance and ongoing friendship of my mentors (Dr Gerard Duveen, Professor Rob Farr, Professor Cathy Campbell and Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch), channelled my politics in ways that are constructive and intellectually rewarding. I was delighted to receive ESRC studentships which enabled me to complete MSc and PhD degrees at the LSE.
While I learnt a tremendous amount from students and colleagues while teaching and researching at Stirling University and Nottingham Trent University, it was a delight to return to the LSE in 2002. The multicultural politics that marked my early life are so apparent in London and the LSE attracts such a broad range of people from around the world that I still feel very connected to a more global multiculture.
I would define my main objective in research as asserting a re-conceptualisation of Social Psychology as the analysis of the dialectics of the social and the psychological, subjectivity and culture, agency and power. I believe in a particular version of Social Psychology, where social psychological phenomena are rooted in social life, contextualised, historical, shaped by subjective activity and yet constrained by social structure and power relations. I have built up this approach in different research projects (see below):
In my research, I hope to have developed a critical social representations approach centred on these questions:
- How is knowledge institutionalised in ways that marginalise and exclude particular subjectivities and communities?
- What are the social psychological consequences of prejudice – particularly in terms of identity, agency, resistance and social transformation?
- In what ways do we collaborate ways of resisting dominant systems of thought – particularly those that stigmatise, otherise and racialise?
For example see:
Howarth, Caroline and Wagner, Wolfgang and Magnusson, Nicola and Sammut, Gordon (2014) ‘It’s only other people who make me feel black’: acculturation, identity and agency in a multicultural community. Political Psychology . Read more
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, pp. 65 – 86. Read more
Howarth, C. (2009) "I hope we won't have to understand racism one day": Researching or reproducing 'race' in Social Psychological research? British Journal of Social Psychology. Volume 48 (3), pp. 407-426 Read more
Howarth, C. (2006). Race as stigma: Positioning the stigmatised as agents, not objects. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Vol 16(6), pp. 442 – 451. Read more
I am currently developing research on representations of otherness both in contexts focused on islam and education, islamophobia and national identities, as well as in communities of predominantly white immigrants from East European nations. This seeks to develop a critical analysis of citizenship practices, institutional discrimination, social justice and opportunities for critical nationalism.
Has Multiculturalism failed? Perspectives across English schools
The starting point of this research is that efforts to translate national, local and educational policies related to cultural diversity into more positive inter-group relations in local contexts are likely to be most effective if they are rooted in systematic analyses of how people ‘in the everyday’ understand multiculturalism and what they see as its successes and failures to date. Schools are a crucial site where official policies on multiculturalism converge with the everyday knowledge and experiences which shape young peoples’ ethnic identities and attitudes to other ethnic groups. The examination of social knowledge about multiculturalism in schools should reveal important points of connection and disconnection between school policies and everyday knowledge on multiculturalism, with the aim of throwing light on new ways in which social policies might conceptualise and respond to the often fraught and challenging area of inter-group relations in Britain.
Howarth, C. & Andreouli, E. (2014). ‘Changing the context’: tackling discrimination at school and in society International Journal of Educational Development. 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2014.06.004. Read more
Andreouli, E., Howarth, C. and Sonn, C. (2014) Promoting inclusive communities in contexts of diversity. Journal of Health Psychology. 19 (1). pp. 16-21. Read more
Placing Ourselves: investigating categories of belonging and integration.
Collaborating Dr Kesi Mahendran at Centre for Citizenship, Identities & Governance, Open University and Dr Sarah Scuzzarello at Centre for Race, Ethnicity & Migration, City University, London
Despite endless debates between research and policy on the meaning and importance of integration and belonging, these remain contested concepts with very little consensus on how they should be understood or enacted. The Placing Ourselves project is an innovative cross-European pilot which aims to understand how such socially and politically significant concepts as ‘integration’ and ‘belonging’ are conceptualised, reified and enacted in six European cities. The collaborative project brings together an inter-disciplinary academic team with practitioners and participants from Dublin, Dusseldorf, Glasgow, Gothenburg, London and Manchester. It will develop in-depth dialogical analysis of identity positions in relation to locality, nation and Europe through interviews with people with varying experiences of integration including participants and arts-based workshops. In an insightful challenge to current debates on integration, our fieldwork will engage people from across the mobility spectrum from the generationally non-mobile to serial migrants anticipating their next move.
See http://www8.open.ac.uk/ccig/media/new-podcast-kesi-mahendran-on-investigating-categories-of-belonging-and-integration for a podcast on this project by Kesi Mahendran.
Mosaic identities: Developing a social psychology of intercultural identities.
This research develops a Social Psychological understanding of intercultural identities in contexts of multiculture and racism.
In collaboration with MOSAIC, an established community organisation (http://www.mosaicbrighton.org.uk) that supports individuals and families of Black, Asian and mixed heritage we examine the value and limitations of creative methodologies (using photogr aphy, weaving and drama) as a means of eliciting narratives of cultural identity and developing a focus on the politics, hybridity and performativity of identity.
Howarth, Caroline and Wagner, Wolfgang and Magnusson, Nicola and Sammut, Gordon (2014) ‘It’s only other people who make me feel black’: acculturation, identity and agency in a multicultural community. Political Psychology.
Howarth, C. (2011) Towards a visual social psychology of identity and representation: Photographing the self, weaving the family in a multicultural British community. In Visual psychologies: using and interpreting images in qualitative research. Edited by P. Reavey. London: Routledge
Contesting representations of ‘race’ in predominantly white schools
Working in a predominantly white primary school I examined young children’s representations of racism and whiteness, focussing on the collaborated ways in which they reject, resist and transgress racist discourses.
Howarth, C. (2007) “It’s not their fault they have that skin colour, is it?” Racialisation, Representation and Resistance at school. “Within applied representation: Identity as content, process and power”. G. Moloney and I. Walker. (Eds) London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Howarth, C. (2007) “It’s not their fault they have that skin colour, is it?” Young British
children and the possibility for contesting racialising representations. In Moloney, G. and Walker. I. (Eds). Social Representations and Identity: content, process and power. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Resisting racialisation: Black pupils experiences of school exclusion
This examined black British students’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion and explored the social psychological connections between social exclusion and school exclusion in racialised contexts.
This study brought to light the importance of researching the individual and collective possibilities for resistance, contestation and social change in the face of racism.
Howarth, C. (2004). "Re-presentation and resistance in the context of school exclusion: Reasons to be critical." Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 14, pp. 356-377.
Howarth, C. (2006). Race as stigma: Positioning the stigmatised as agents, not objects. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Vol 16(6), pp. 442 – 451.
Asserting identity in a stigmatised, multicultural community
This project examined the relationship between identity, community and representation in a stigmatised community (Brixton, South London).
Working in secondary schools in the same community raised intellectually challenging questions about the ways in which the institutionalised culture of a school can help or hinder children’s struggle for recognition, belonging and ambition.
This projected was funded by an ESRC PhD studentship.
Howarth, C. (2002). "Identity in whose eyes? The role of representations in identity construction." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour32(2), pp 145-162.
Howarth, C. (2002). "'So, you're from Brixton?' The Struggle for Recognition and Esteem in a Multicultural Community." Ethnicities 2(2), pp. 237-260.
Howarth, C. (2002). "Using the Theory of Social Representations to Explore Difference in the Research Relationship." Qualitative Research 2(2), pp. 21-34.
Howarth, C. (2001). "Towards a Social Psychology of Community." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 31(2): 223-238.
Currently the subject of Social Psychology, particularly as taught in Western Europe and the US, suffers from a history of individualism and experimentalism that has marginalised its position in the Social Sciences and blunted its potential to contribution to 'real world' problems and social policy.
In my teaching and research I address the continuing cognitivism of the field by highlighting the inherent interconnections between the psychological, cultural and ideological. As a whole this makes a substantial contribution to developing a Social Psychology that is more critical, more relevant and less US-Eurocentric in its reach. What this does is draw on and extend the Psychology@LSE's Department particularly social and critical approach to the discipline and the LSE's international reputation.
I thoroughly enjoy teaching at the LSE – students come from such a range of professional, academic and cultural backgrounds that we all have a tremendous amount to learn from each other. Engaging students' enthusiasm, encouraging scholarly and critical debates and valuing students' confidence in developing their own opinions and applications of Social Psychology – are a constant source of pleasure.
I was delighted to receive the prestigious LSE teaching award "for outstanding teaching performance above and beyond that required", The Teaching and Learning Centre.
Postgraduate courses I convene:
PS409 Political Psychology
Other postgraduate courses I teach on:
PS400 Social and Cultural Psychology
PS461 Health, Community and Development
PS429 Social Psychology of Communication
Undergraduate courses I teach on:
SO107 Self, Others and Society:Perspectives on Social and Applied Psychology
SO227 Societal Psychology: Theory and Application
I supervise PhD students in researching topics related to intercultural relations, representations of 'race', racism and resistance, religious identities, multiculture and nationalist discourses. Together we have established SPRRaM: Social Psychological Research in Racism and Multiculture and used this forum to develop a strong sense of a critical and supportive research community and develop a research network of associated partners both in the UK and internationally.
Cathy Nicholson: Exploring commonalities between Jewish and Palestinians citizens in Israel
Teresa Whitney: Representations of contact: A Case Study of the LSE Interfaith Community
Parisa Dashtipour: The ambivalence of identity and resistance: using psychoanalysis in a case study of Gringo magazine. See her new book on Social Identity in Question: http://www.psypress.com/social-identity-in-question-9781848720817 (Co-supervised with Derek Hook).
Shose Kessi: Shooting Horizons: A Study of Youth Empowerment and Social Change in Tanzania and South Africa
Mohammad Sartawi: Everyday Life in London's Mosques: Islamic identity and everyday practice (Co-supervised with Derek Hook).
Eleni Andreouli: 'Constructions of British citizenship and national identity: An exploration of the British naturalisation context'.. (Co-supervised with Dr Jan Stockdale)
MSc research supervision
I provide guidance and mentoring for Masters students researching a range of topics with a focus on research design, analysis and write-up. This consists of intensive one-to-one sessions and group workshops with students throughout the year. I value the opportunity of helping students find a topic that they themselves are keenly interested in and develop their own intellectual concerns and confidence.
Recent topics include:
Ψ Representations of minority groups in Icelandic television
Ψ Changing representations of marriage and cultural identities of Pakistani women
Ψ "I'm Norwegian but …": New identities amongst second-generation immigrants
Ψ Contested representations of Israel in contemporary London-Jewish identities
Ψ Roma youth experiences of discrimination in Slovenia
Ψ The self identity of anti racists
Ψ Social representations and social change: Addressing immigration in Ireland
Ψ 'The world in one city': image, identity and the London 2012 Olympic bid
Ψ Social representations of Lebanese identity through Lebanese art
See more listing of PhD topics
Howarth, C., Andreouli, C. & Kessi, S. (2014) Social Representations and the politics of participation. In Political Psychology in Europe and the World. Edited by T. Capelos, H. Dekker, C. Kinnvall and P. Nesbitt-Larking. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Howarth, C. & Andreouli, E. (2014). ‘Changing the context’: tackling discrimination at school and in society International Journal of Educational Development. 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2014.06.004
Howarth, C. (2014) Connecting Social Representation, Identity and Ideology: Reflections on a London ‘Riot’. Papers on Social Representations. Vol 23, Issue 2, pp 39 – 39.
Sen, R., Wagner, W. and Howarth, C. (2014) Transcending boundaries: Fundamentalism, secularism and social capital in multifaith societies.New York,. Springer
Andreouli, E., Howarth, C. and Sonn, C. (2014) Promoting inclusive communities in contexts of diversity. Journal of Health Psychology. 19 (1). pp. 16-21.
Howarth, C., Campbell, C., Cornish, F., Franks, B., Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Gillespie, A., Gleibs, I., Goncalves-Portelinha, I., Jovchelovitch, S., Lahlou, S., Mannell, J., Reader, T., and Tennant, C. (2013) Insights from Societal Psychology: a contextual politics of societal change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
Howarth, Caroline and Wagner, Wolfgang and Magnusson, Nicola and Sammut, Gordon (2013) ‘It’s only other people who make me feel black’: acculturation, identity and agency in a multicultural community. Political psychology . ISSN 0162-895X (In Press). Read more
Wagner, Wolfgang and Sen, Ragini and Permanadeli, Risa and Howarth, Caroline S. (2012) The veil and Muslim women's identity: cultural pressures and resistance to stereotyping. Culture & psychology, 18 (4). pp. 521-541. Read more
Howarth, Caroline and Wagner, Wolfgang and Kessi, Shose and Sen, Ragini (2012) The politics of moving beyond prejudice. Behavioral and brain sciences, 35 (06). pp. 437-438. Read more
Gillespie, Alex and Howarth, Caroline and Cornish, Flora (2012) Four problems for researchers using social categories. Culture and psychology, 18 (3). pp. 391-402. Read more
Andreouli, Eleni and Howarth, Caroline (2012) National identity and immigration: putting identity in context. Journal for the theory of social behaviour. Read more
Howarth, C., Kalampakis, N. & Castro, P. (2011) 50 Years of Research on Social Representations: Central Debates and Challenging Questions. Papers on social representations. Read more
Howarth, C. (2011) Towards a Visual Social Psychology of Identity and Representation: photographing the self, weaving the family in a multicultural British community. In Reavey, P. (ed) Visual Psychologies: Using and interpreting images in qualitative research.London: Routledge. Read more
Howarth, C. (2010) Social representations theory, communication and identity. In Hook, D., Franks, B. and Bauer, M. (Eds) Communication, Culture and Social Change: The Social Psychological Perspective. London, Palgrave Macmillan. Read more
Howarth, Caroline (2010) Encouraging debate: the influence of Gerard Duveen. Papers on social representations, 19 (1). 1.1-1.4. Read more
Howarth, C. (2009) Towards scholarship, innovation and collaboration. Papers in Social Representations. Vol 18(1). Read more
Howarth, C. (2009) "I hope we won't have to understand racism one day": Researching or reproducing 'race' in Social Psychological research? British Journal of Social Psychology. Volume 48 (3), pp. 407-426 Read more
Howarth, C. (2007) Racialisation, Re-presentation and Resistance. "Within applied representation: Identity as content, process and power". G. Moloney and I. Walker. (eds) London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Howarth, C. (2007) Dialogue across Disciplines: Bringing Politics to a Social Psychology of Multiculture. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
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, pp. 65 – 86. Read More
Howarth, C. (2006). Race as stigma: Positioning the stigmatised as agents, not objects. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology - Special issue by C. Campbell and H. Deacon on 'Understanding and Challenging Stigma'. Read more
Howarth, C. (2006). How Social Representations of Attitudes have informed Attitude theories: the consensual and reified. Theory and Psychology. Read more
Howarth, C. (2006) School exclusion: when pupils do not feel part of the school community. School Leadership. Read more
Howarth, C. and Hook, D. (2005). "Towards a Critical Social Psychology of Racism: points of disruption." Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology - Special Issue by C. Howarth and D. Hook. 15, pp. 425 – 431.
Hook, D. and Howarth, C. (2005). "Future directions for a critical social psychology of racism/antiracism." Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology - Special Issue by C. Howarth and D. Hook, 15, pp. 506 – 512.
Voelklein, C. and Howarth, C. (2005). A review of controversies about Social Representations Theory - A British Debate. Culture and Psychology, 11 (4), pp. 431 – 454. Read more
Howarth, C. (2004). "Re-presentation and resistance in the context of school exclusion: Reasons to be critical." Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 14, pp. 356-377. Read more
Howarth, C., Foster, J. and Dorrer, N. (2004). "Exploring the potential of the theory of social representations in community-based health research." Journal of Health Psychology 9(2), pp. 229-243. Read more
Howarth, C. (2002). "Identity in whose eyes? The role of representations in identity construction." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 32(2), pp 145-162. Read more
Howarth, C. (2002). "Using the Theory of Social Representations to Explore Difference in the Research Relationship." Qualitative Research 2(2), pp. 21-34. Read more
Howarth, C. (2002). "'So, you're from Brixton?' The Struggle for Recognition and Esteem in a Multicultural Community." Ethnicities 2(2), pp. 237-260. Read more
Howarth, C. (2002). Review of Blair 'Why Pick on Me? School Exclusion and Black Youth'. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 25.
Howarth, C. (2001). "Towards a Social Psychology of Community." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 31(2): 223-238. Read more
I am Editor for Papers in Social Representations and do extensive editorial work for a range of journals, such as :
- British Journal of Social Psychology
- Political Psychology
- Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
- Journal of the Theory of Social Behaviour
- Qualitative Research