International Society of Political Psychology

ISPP Blog

President’s message Fall 2017

Posted by Jolanda van der Noll •

I hope you all enjoyed the 40th Annual Meeting in Edinburgh! The amazing work of Kate Reynolds, my predecessor, Program Chairs Anca Minescu and Peter Gries, program assistant Elaine Smith, and Sev Bennett and Heather Schlabach from the ISPP Central Office resulted in a stellar program and one of the biggest ISPP conferences to date. Each year the conference brings us together as a community of political psychologists, and it is the stimulating and engaging presentations and discussions that at the end of the day make a successful conference. Thanks to all of you who attended and made this happen!

Publishing in and reading our flagship journal Political Psychology as well as the annual series Advances in Political Psychology is another crucial way members relate with our society.  Catarina Kinnvall and her editorial team are doing an excellent job in running the journal. The impact factor of Political Psychology has increased to 2.76, which means that it now ranks #15 out of 165 journals in political science and #9 of 62 journals in social psychology!
In addition to the annual meeting and the journal, a lot goes on behind the scenes during the year.

The activities of the Central Office and Governing Council are directed towards developing ISPP as a vibrant, inclusive and international academic society. I want to share some recent undertakings with you.

For ISPP to flourish, we need committed members who renew their annual membership. Our goal is to increase and internationalize the membership base. To this end, Nicholas Valentino (Vice-President 'membership and internationalization') has contacted sister organizations from related disciplines in different countries to discuss developing possible synergies.

The ISPP small grants program is also a way to internationalize ISPP. Starting in 2018, this program will consider applications for grants as high as $25,000 USD to fund small conferences that enable networking among political psychologists in regions where formal gatherings do not exist yet. To foster inclusivity we have harmonized the membership and conference pricing structure. Both fees are now adjusted to income.

A mentorship program that matches new faculty members with senior colleagues is the newest addition in support geared for Early Career ISPP members. The program was launched this autumn by a committee with Gizem Arikan as chair. We also want to hear what you think about ISPP and where it should be going! A committee chaired by Aleksandra Cichocka is currently preparing a membership survey that will allow you to express your views. You can support developing ISPP by taking part in the survey, and by renewing your membership and encouraging colleagues to join ISPP!

Regrettably, the situation for ISPP members in Turkey is deteriorating, sometimes dramatically. We continue donation, letter writing and job matching schemes set up last year to support our members in Turkey whose academic freedom, employment and careers are under threat. Thank you for your support on this urgent matter!

ISPP continues to offer a free one-year ISPP membership for Turkish scholars. Please contact the ISPP Central Office (info@ispp.org) ISPP also had a solidarity meeting with representatives of the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) during their conference in Granada last summer to discuss possibilities of joint activities. We now have a Scholars at Risk Committee (chaired by Kate Reynolds) working on ways to support members whose academic freedom is at risk in Turkey and elsewhere. The update by Social and Political Psychology Platform of Turkey (SPPPT) in the November 2017 ISPP newsletter clearly shows that the situation is getting worse.

The preparations for our next meeting are advancing. Abstract submission is now open for the 41st ISPP Annual Meeting to be held July 4 - 7 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Conference Program Co-Chairs Bethany Albertson and Frank Asbrock are putting together an exciting program for next summer including keynotes from Jack Citrin (University of California, Berkeley), Don Haider-Markel (University of Kansas), Stephen Wright (Simon Fraser University), and myself as ISPP President. Check out our program Chairs' message in the November 2017 ISPP newsletter for more information.

The conference theme Beyond Borders and Boundaries is as relevant as ever. The border controls resulting from the “refugee crisis”, the plans for a Texas-Mexico border wall, the rise of radical right populism, and increased social inequalities exemplify boundary making in different forms, resisted and contested by many social movements and politicians who strive to weaken such boundaries by enhancing cohesion and empowerment. These opposing forces of making and breaking boundaries are intertwined and occur in parallel. We will emphasize theoretical and methodological pluralism in the program and anticipate enriching exchanges around these topics in San Antonio. 

Ironically boundary-making in the current political context has concrete consequences for this conference. ISPP leadership and Program Chairs are concerned that U.S. travel restrictions may prevent prospective attendes from affected countries from attending the conference in San Antonio. If someone is unable to attend due to these travel restrictions, program chairs will work to enable online presentations. We are also fully aware that recent legislation has restricted rights of LGTB people in Texas. This has created an additional challenge for our Californian members as the state of California has banned state-funded travel to Texas due to this discrimination. Needless to say that these changes in the political climate were not anticipated at the time the conference was planned. But while ISPP cannot change this climate, we intend to actively address these topics at the conference, thereby hoping to contribute to a constructive societal debate about boundaries and social exclusion in our own ISPP way.

I very much look forward to seeing you in San Antonio next summer!

Sincerely,
Eva G. T. Green
ISPP President

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