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Course content

This new course offers a unique opportunity to study how psychological insights can throw light on politics. What are the roots of political violence? What drives shifts in public opinion? Why do some people become activists, while others never get involved? How does propaganda work? What is the appeal of the political ideologies to which some devote their lives? What makes for effective political leadership? Is the future democratic?

Psychology can make a vital contribution to developing answers to these and many other questions of importance to all those interested in the future of their societies. Political psychology is a well-established branch of psychology, yet there are very few places in the world where a Masters in the subject can be taken. Bournemouth University is now offering such a course, based on the in-depth expertise of the team who will provide it. The course leader is Professor Barry Richards, who has over thirty years’ experience of research and writing in this field, from his edited collection ‘Capitalism and Infancy’ in 1984 to his forthcoming book ‘What is Holding Us Together?’. He has been a leading figure in the application of psychoanalytic theory to the understanding of politics.

The course team also includes Professor Candida Yates, author and editor of books on popular culture, emotion and politics, and Associate Professor Darren Lilleker, a widely-published international leader in the study of political communication. These and other teaching staff bring a broad range of perspectives to the course, and enable it both to focus on the psychological dimensions of politics and also to see psychological factors in their broader societal contexts. Our psychologies need specific study, but are part of our societies and cultures.

If you are considering postgraduate research on a topic which involves looking psychologically at politics, or are intending to work in the political field itself (whether as activist, consultant, researcher or in some other role), this course offers a highly relevant, challenging and rich encounter with leading edge theory and research at the complex intersections of psychology and politics.


Visit the MA Political Psychology page on the Bournemouth University website for more details!

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