Aengus Bridgman

McGill University

Department of Political Science
Program: PhD
Supervisor: Dietlind Stolle
Start: 2016

Title: Identity, cohesion, and participation: Putting politics back into political psychology

Aengus' work draws upon social psychology which offer well-substantiated models for how individuals develop identities, those identities cohere and then how those identities are politicized. The persuasive lab-based demonstrations they provide, however, often lack contact with real-world politics. In a lab experiment minimal groups are induced by the researcher, perhaps small tokens are distributed to indicate relative advantage, and simple behaviours are measured. In the political world, however, who does that inducing? What comparisons are made? And how are political behaviour repertoires selected? I explore the roles of environment and political leadership in politicizing social psychological processes. I look at new and emergent politically salient identities: male, millennial, and environmentalist. I study these phenomena in Canada and other mature democracies. Methodologically, I work with survey, census, and textual data and have a secondary interest in machine learning, natural language processing and computational social science more generally.