International Society of Political Psychology

Award Winners

Below are the most recent awardees of the various ISPP Awards. For more information on the awards, nomination processes, and past winners, please visit the respective pages.

Harold Lasswell Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions
Steve Reicher, University of St. Andrews

The Harold Laswell Award is awarded annually for distinguished scientific contribution to Political Psychology. It is name after Harold Laswell one of the first to apply psychology to the analysis of politics. Professor Steve Reicher, though our first winner of the award based in the UK, has had a distinctly international influence on the field of political psychology. His rich and productive vein of research into political identities has been generative leading to new work by many that would not have otherwise emerged. He has taken social identity theory seriously, used it as a living dynamic framework and provide large scale qualitative and quantitative evidence of the way in which identities work in political contexts. The committee chaired by myself and who included Paul Nesbitt Laraking, Leonie Huddy and Christian Staerkle were unanimous in their selection of Prof Reicher and he is a most worthy recipient.

Nevitt Sanford Award for Professional Contributions to Political Psychology
Kevin Durrheim, University of KwaZulu-Natal

The Sanford Award is awarded annually for distinguished professional contribution to the field of political psychology. Sanford award recipients have work with a strong translational element, so in addition to their academic contribution they have contributed to policy and practice. Professor Kevin Durrheim is the recipient of this years Sanford Award. Kevins work on contact and segregation has been hugely influential in political psychology. His approach to research, his innovative use of alternate methods has reinvigorated the field. His critical approach has resulted in the reinterrogation of traditional thinking on the nature of prejudice. In South Africa, Kevin has used his work and influence to push forward racial integration in post apartheid South Africa. He is one of those rare people who doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He has also been a greater supporter and servant to ISPP. The committee chaired by myself and who included Paul Nesbitt Larking, Leonie Huddy and Christian Staerkle were unanimous in their selection of Prof Durrheim.

Jeanne Knutson Award for Long-Standing Service to ISPP
Bert Klandermans, Vrije University

The Jeanne Knutson Award has been given since 1987 to a member of ISPP who has been integral to the development and ongoing success of the society. It is named for Jeanne N. Knutson who founded ISPP in 1978 and was its first Executive Director. This year, the Jeanne Knutsen Award is given to Bert Klandermans.

Very few people have ever given as much of their time and energy to ISPP as Bert has. Bert served on the Governing Council from 1999 through 2001. He was a Vice President from 2007 through 2010 and President of ISPP in 2011 and 2012. He currently serves as our Councilor. He also chaired the search committee that selected the current editorial team of Political Psychology. He has never declined any request to provide his time and effort to ISPP. Bert’s contributions to ISPP governance go beyond just the time he has served on Governing Council and the Executive Committee. On those occasions in which difficult issues have arisen, Bert is always the calm, rational voice in the discussion that has guided the Governing Council toward a reasonable solution to the problem. His contributions to ISPP governance over the past two decades have been invaluable. There is no one more deserving of the Jeanne Knutson award than Bert Klandermans and this committee is delighted to be able to present him this year’s award.

Noel Markwell Media Award
The Süddeutsche Zeitung Digital Team

The Süddeutsche Zeitung is one of the premier newspapers in Germany and, in fact, Europe. At a time when all too many news outlets limit themselves to repeating the latest soundbite or tweet of one or the other politician, the Süddeutsche continues to place a heavy emphasis on investigative journalism. In doing so, the newspaper does not shy away from using scientific insights and discussing themes that are being hotly debated among scientists. This is particularly true of the online features team.

Over the past year, this team has launched a number of articles series that draw from political psychology and, to the mind of the Markwell award committee, also help to publicize our discipline to a wider audience. The series on the “Facebook Factor” addresses how filter bubbles and echo chambers help to polarize the political debate in Germany and elsewhere. Polarization and the breakdown of deliberative potentials are some of the greatest challenges to democracy in the 21st century. As populism is gaining ground around the world, including Germany, borders and boundaries—the theme of this year’s conference—are drawn between migrants and natives, left and right, people who think like me and those who do not. The Süddeutsche Zeitung has shown that it is possible to discuss such themes using the scientific insights available in political psychology and to start a high-level of discussion on those topics among its readers.

Thus, the Award Committee, chaired by Marco Steenbergen and consisting of Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Silke Eschert, and Tobias Rothmund unanimously decided to grant this year’s Markwell Media award to the digital features team of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. They receive the award both for utilizing the insights of our field and for disseminating them to a broad audience. As such, the digital features team has shown those journalistic qualities that perfectly reflect the spirit of the award.

David O. Sears Book Award
The 2018 David O. Sears Book Award winner is Open Versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution (Cambridge University Press, 2017) by Christopher Johnston (Duke University), Howard Lavine (University of Minnesota), and Christopher Federico (University of Minnesota).

Alexander George Book Award
This year the 2018 Alexander George Book Award goes to Evgeny Finkel, the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University for Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust, Princeton University Press, 2017.

Erik Erikson Award for Early Career Achievement
Shose Kessi, University of Cape Town
Johanna Vollhardt, Clark University

The Erik Erikson committee received a very high calibre of nominations in 2018. We made a unanimous decision to reward two Early Career Researchers (Shose Kessi and Johanna Vollhardt) for their outstanding contribution as scholars whose work challenges the field and as political psychology citizens.

Shose Kessi is someone whose political psychology informs and is in turn informed by her activism as a black academic in South Africa; and who is playing a leadership role in carving out a space for black academics and for a community-based way of doing political psychology in South Africa. She brings an important and challenging perspective to research on intergroup relations and prejudice.

Johanna Vollhardt does what the best scholars do when they have an interest in complex real world phenomenon; she engages deeply with the phenomenon and uses a very broad range of methods. Johanna’s scholarship has brought greater complexity to our understanding of collective victimhood. She has also made an outstanding contribution to the diversification and internationalisation of political psychology, including through her involvement in establishing the Journal of Social and Political Psychology.

Best Dissertation Award
The 2018 Best Dissertation Award was presented to Frank Gonzalez (University of Nebraska) for “Thinking about Race: How Group Biases Interact with Ideological Principles to Yield Attitudes toward Government Assistance”. Dr. Gonzalez is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University (USA)The Best Dissertation Award for 2017 recognizes Frank Gonzalez for his work entitled: Thinking about Race: How Group Biases Interact with Ideological Principles to Yield Attitudes toward Government Assistance, awarded by the Department of Political Science, University of Nebraska. Frank is currently an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. In a strong field of applications from across the globe, Frank’s work embodies and advances political psychology in a number of ways, including the innovative and thoughtful development of theory, as well as the appropriate use of multiple methods based on a wide-range of research questions. Moreover, the implications of Frank’s dissertation may have an impact on public policy and decision making around government assistance programmes. His work truly bridges the gap between psychology and political science research on groups and bias.

In his dissertation, Frank examines the psychological and biological underpinnings of conscious beliefs and nonconscious biases that affect support for race-based government programs. Using a range of methods, including survey data, a minimal group paradigm, and an experiment using fMRI to determine which parts of the brain people were using when making race-based policy decisions, supported by a National Science Foundation dissertation grant, Frank is able to answer the question: When are people more likely to evaluate race-targeted government assistance based on ideological principles rather than racial prejudice? Through these investigations, Frank found that 1) group-based principles outperform various other constructs in predicting race-based policy opinions, 2) group-based principles are indeed a combination of ingroup bias and individualistic principles, and 3) the influence of ingroup bias seems to be primarily automatic, whereas the influence of principles seems to be more controlled.

In 2018, Honorable Mention for the ISPP Best Dissertation Award goes to Cecil Meeusen for her project: The Structure of (Generalized) Prejudice: The Relation between Contextual Factors and Different Types of Prejudice, awarded by the University of Leuven, Belgium.

In a strong field of applications from across the globe, Cecil’s work is an impressive, multi-study, site, and method approach to understanding generalized prejudice. Through an interdisciplinary lens, she measures the influence of multiple contexts (i.e., family, intergroup, and socio-political). Her results have implications for the study of prejudice, which she concludes, is not a psychological unity neither solely target-specific. In her dissertation, Cecil tackles a persistent social problem in the 21st century: prejudice. She improves on past research on generalized prejudice, which almost exclusively focuses on communality (i.e. the variance that all prejudices have in common) at the expense of the residual target-specific component (i.e. the variance unique to a target group). Moreover, her work complements existing knowledge about the person-based characteristics such as personality, social dominance orientation and right-wing authoritarianism, which influence prejudice.

Across six studies, she examines intergenerational similarity in target-specific prejudices (toward homosexuals, Muslims, immigrants, and women). Cecil then assesses how intergroup threat, intergroup friendship, and neighborhood diversity are related to the target-specific (versus the common) component of prejudice. Chapters also study how television news portrays target groups (LGBT, Jews, Eastern Europeans, North-Africans, Roma) in Belgium, and if target-specific prejudices have similar political consequences (in terms of party preferences) in Flanders and Wallonia. In a cross-cultural design, she then analyses patterns of prejudice at the national level across European countries. She concludes with a person-centered approach via latent class analysis where the focus is on similarities between persons, complementing and reinforcing variable-centered approaches on this topic.

Roberta Sigel Award 1 (for best paper by an Early Career Scholar)

The Roberta Sigel Award for a paper authored by early career scholars only was awarded to Cecilia Hyunjung Mo (University of California, Berkeley) for her paper "When Do the Advantaged See the Disadvantages of Others? A Quasi-Experimental Study of National Service" co-authored with Katharine Conn (Columbia University). This paper examines whether advantaged individuals’ engagement with the disadvantaged populations influences how they see the world. Specifically, in this paper the authors examine “Teach for America“ national service that integrates top college graduates into low-income communities for 2 years. They use a regression discontinuity design to examine causal inference through a survey of over 30000 TFA applicants – Basically, what this means is that they assess the differences in outcomes between those applicants that just made the cut-off score and those that just didn’t make it. They found that extended contact leads the TFAs to adopt beliefs closer to those of the disadvantaged—increased perspective taking, increase in perceptions of systemic injustice, decrease in prejudice, increase in identification with disadvantaged minorities, increase in situational attributions for disadvantage.

Roberta Sigel Award 2 (for best paper with an Early Career Scholar as lead author)

The Roberta Sigel Award for a paper with an early career scholar as first author was conferred to Aharon Levy (University of Groningen and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya) for the paper "Ingroups, outgroups and the gateway groups between: The potential of dual identities to improve intergroup relations" (co-authored with Tamar Saguy, Martijn van Zomeren, and Eran Halperin). This paper examines the hypothesis that dual identities can serve as a gateway, or a bridge, that could improve intergroup relations and intergroup orientations among groups comprising the dual identity. The paper provides evidence from 5 studies, that include both correlational and experimental data, from lab and field studies. The results show that the mere presence of a dual identity group can influence resource allocation towards the outgroup—the authors show this effect in studies with artificial groups in an online paradigm, in intense setting of interpersonal interactions, as well as in the real world context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

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