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Culture and Social Psychology

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The Culture and Social Psychology (CuSP) research strand studies real-world issues in changing societies. The acronym was chosen because the word ‘cusp’ designates a point of transition between two states. As such, it expresses the idea of a process of becoming in which something new is emerging, but not yet fully established or recognised. Our research in CuSP takes forward this idea in two senses.

First, our substantive interests focus on occasions of social transition, personal transformation, and emergent and contested cultural, social and political issues. To investigate these, we work in and across different areas of cultural, social, political and psychosocial psychology, and across disciplines. Members of CuSP study gendered, sexual and political subjectivities in changing contexts like contested national territories, and family environments impacted by new technologies. We look at experiences of transition, such as those associated with migration, ageing, new forms of work, and reduced social support.

Second, we think of social psychology itself as ‘on the cusp’ of emergence rather than as an already settled discipline. We explore emergent forms of social psychological practice, including novel methods and theoretical perspectives that can grapple with embodied and socially embedded realities-in-process. We engage with various critical traditions of social psychology, grappling with discursive psychology, social identities and representations, process psychology, socio-cultural psychology, dialogical psychology, phenomenological and feminist psychology, each of which gives a new centrality to the concept of culture as core to human experience.