Back from Paris, in the French Republic

Coming back from my visit at the ISPP Conference in the holy halls of french political science at sciences po, paris, I have brought with me a lot ofnew insights and perspectives on the field of political psychology and cognate disciplines. As t was a conference with many panels I wasn’t really able to attend all of the panels I wanted to, but I was amazed how many people for example are doing authoritarianism studies. Another important thing to learn was that political psychology is still an academic discipline heavily relying on quantitative research – or to put it otherwise: Many researchers are concerned with counting the legs of the fly, but by doing this do not really learn much about the fly itself. Despite some really exciting contributions that are approaching phenomena from other sides – philosophy, phenomenology, and qualitative research methods – most of the scholars seem to be stuck in the paradigmatic mud of social sciences following Descartes.

This is not to say that these approaches could not produce interesting insights, but they for sure are not able to capture all the important informations out there. As French Philosopher J.F. Lyotard put it in his study of “postmodern knowledge”, all information not to be encoded in binary codes gets lost and is devaluated: The narrative, myths, fairy tales, witchcraft, imagination, just to name a few.

What I also learned at the conference is that there are at least some people out there in the world that largely share equivalent academic experiences, are reading similar or even the same books, are asking questions and are adressing phenomena that are not really in the mainstream of social sciences, and that are using innovative theories and methods in their fields. This really encourages to keep a “good spirit” and to carry on for a littly while (Thanx to S.). And by the way it is a lot of pleasure and fun to hang around with these people (Thanx to S. and M.).

I am really looking forward to the next ISPP Conference in Dublin and hope to organize atleast one panel or workshop that is concentrating on this “otherness” of perspectives, theories and research methods in political psychology and more general, in the social sciences.

If you are interested in the papers I presented at the conference, please check the publications-page at this blog, where you can load them down as pdf-files. Comments of any kind are welcome.

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