"As someone trained in ethnographic methods, I have found it particularly exciting to think about how hypotheses derived from ethnography can be tested using experimental methods, and it has been interesting to work on this as part of my collborative project developing a new study of social identity in South Asia."
- Dr Ivan Deschenaux discusses an exciting collaborative project as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Read the full close-up with Methodology faculty.
Ivan Deschenaux is an LSE Fellow in Qualitative Methods in the Department of Methodology. He obtained his PhD in the Department of Anthropology, LSE in 2019, and before that, an MSc in Cognitive Anthropology in the same department. His doctoral research is a study of caste and caste-based discrimination in the Himalayan foothills of East Nepal. Prior to joining the Department of Methodology, he was a class teacher for LSE100.
Ivan's broad research interests are at the interface between socio-cultural anthropology and social cognition. He is interested in how social processes and human cognition shape each other in varying cultural contexts. In his PhD thesis, he develops an approach to caste and caste-based discrimination that is informed both by his own ethnographic observations and findings in developmental and social psychology.
His regional focus is on Nepal, where he conducted 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in 2013 -- 2015, and South Asia more broadly. Some of the specific questions which he has addressed concern the impact of ethnic and identity politics on non-politicised Dalits' self-perception, the extent to which caste-based stigmatisation is driven by a cognitive bias known as 'psychological essentialism', and the influence which intermarriage has on conceptions of caste and social cognition more broadly.
Methodologically, his PhD is based primarily on participant observation, structured and unstructured interviews, and the analysis of life stories. He is currently training in quantitative research methods, focusing in particular on experimental design and causal inference, with a view to developing a new cross-cultural research project on the social cognition of hierarchy.