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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Report on the EASP Meeting: New Directions in the Conceptualization and Measurement of Political Ideologies: Current Practices and Recent Developments

16.08.2022, by Hannah Schäfer in meeting report

July 6th - 9th, 2022
GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany

in total, 5 pictures

Organizers: Axel M. Burger (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), Deliah Bolesta (Center for Criminological Research Saxony), Flavio Azevedo (Cambridge University), Alexander Jedinger (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

The study of the antecedents, concomitants, and consequences of political ideologies has enjoyed a long tradition but remains a vibrant source of contemporary social science scholarship. However, controversies concerning the conceptualization and measurement of political ideologies as well as questions regarding regional and historical differences in the structure and content of political ideologies are far from settled. Scientific progress in this field of research depends substantially on arriving at precise notions of the relevant constructs and on the availability of valid and reliable tools to measure them. This EASP Meeting set out to foster interdisciplinary discussions on current practices and new developments in the conceptualization and measurement of political ideologies.

Being the first international meeting to be held in the new building of the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Mannheim (Germany), the meeting brought together 31 researchers from Psychology and Political Science (12 women, 19 men) of different career levels (9 PhD students, 9 postdocs, 13 professors) who came from institutions situated in 12 different countries: Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, USA, South Africa.

The meeting started on Wednesday afternoon with a welcome address by the president of GESIS (Prof. Christof Wolf) and an introductory ice-breaker session for participants to get to know each other. The first scientific session of the meeting combined nine blitz talks with a follow-up poster session that gave room for thorough discussions about the research presented in the blitz talks. This session was followed by the first thematic panel of the meeting (“Measuring Ideology”). Panels at this meeting were composed of two or three presentations of 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion per presentation plus 15 minutes for a general discussion on the session topic at the end of each panel. To finish the first day of the meeting, participants went for dinner on the banks of the Rhine.

All of Thursday, as well as Friday morning and Saturday morning, were destined for eight thematic panels on the following topics: “Measuring Ideology”, “(Beyond) Left and Right”, “Left-wing Ideologies”, “Populism”, “Group Dynamics”, “Ideology & Violence”, “Socialization & Partisanship”, and “Psychological Correlates”. The panels included a total of 23 full presentations.

On Friday afternoon, the group went on a trip to explore the old town of romantic Heidelberg. A nostalgic tram from the 60s took the group to Heidelberg and back to Mannheim.

In an open discussion at the end of the meeting, participants praised the good atmosphere at this meeting, the high quality of the presentations, as well as the very constructive discussions. Several participants expressed the desire to make this meeting the starting point of efforts to connect international researchers working on the conceptualization and measurement of political ideologies more closely. Ideas about joint publications, platforms to foster discussions and collaborations among participants in the future, organizing panels on the topic of the meeting at larger conferences, as well as similar follow-up meetings in the future were discussed.