Q&A with Celestin Okoroji

Celestin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

Find out about Celestin’s research project and how it can make an impact in society

I suppose I’m trying to use social psychological theories to explain the everyday social and economic reality of my own community.
A smiling man in an outdoor setting | Celestin Okoroji | researcher at LSE
Celestin Okoroji

What are you currently researching?

I’m exploring how ideas about unemployed benefit claimants have developed and changed over time and how those concepts affect their self-esteem and wellbeing.

Finally, the PhD tries to explain the effects that these two processes might have on the ability of unemployed people to navigate normal recruitment practices and - vice versa - how unemployed people might be unduly denied access to jobs.

Why did you choose this area of study?

I grew up in Northumberland Park in Tottenham where around 30 per cent of people are on out-of-work benefits.

I suppose I’m trying to use social psychological theories to explain the everyday social and economic reality of my own community.

How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?

If my hypotheses are correct, then we might be able to make subtle changes to recruitment practices to better enable stigmatised groups to perform to the best of their ability in job interview/application situations.

Similarly, we could think about better ways to support those facing unemployment to help them maintain their self-esteem and physical and mental wellbeing.

What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?

Hopefully, I’ll still be in academia - teaching and writing - but preferably with some policy impact, using social psychology to inform and create solutions to problems.

Can you provide any advice to prospective students about the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?

My approach is to start by not worrying too much about the details and instead thinking about the narrative or argument I want to put forward then filling in the gaps as I go along.

I noticed that a lot of my stress comes from feeling a bit like an imposter – but then I realised that academics are just people too!

What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?

The PhD process is a bit opaque, so whenever I don’t know something I ask my PhD colleagues in my department (Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science).

They’re probably the best resource, but there are some things even they don’t know or can’t help with, in which case the PhD Academy is great and always has useful events, especially the methodology surgeries.

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