Societal Psychology

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Catherine Campbell QUE.3.08


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is a compulsory component of courses: PS400 Contemporary Social and Cultural Psychology; PS404 Organisational and Social Psychology; and PS429 The Social Psychology of Communication.

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 9 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

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

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.


Exam (100%, duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes) in the LT week 0.

The summative assessment for this course is taken in conjunction with the coursework essay for the courses PS400, PS404 and PS429.  The coursework essay for these courses is weighted at 70% of the summative total with the PS443 component the remaining 30%.

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Non-assessed

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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