View the latest news from departments within the Faculty of Social Sciences below.
Staff and students are celebrating as it was announced that we have been ranked 2 amongst UK Linguistics Departments in the Times and Sunday Times 2020 University League Table. Our new ranking puts the department just behind Oxford in this nationally recognised league table.
Masters student starts ambulance volunteer work to support the NHS
Jinjue, one of our MA Psychology and Education students, has started a four week's ambulance volunteering as part of the St. John Ambulance.
She says "“As you may be aware, St John Ambulance is currently working very closely with the NHS to provide any support available at this critical moment with the pandemic. As a St John volunteer, we are offered the option to volunteer for the SJA response to COVID-19, and I have signed up to support the NHS. I will do my best to stay safe in the frontline, and hope everyone does their bit to stay safe as well!"
Well done Jinjue. It is really heartwarming to hear how our community is helping the NHS during this time.
The Education and Psychology Research Active Staff Network (EPRAN) has prepared an exciting and varied calendar of events for the 2019/20 academic year including seminars from colleagues from across the university, and external colleagues from UCL and the University of Exeter.
Briefly, the topics of the seminars will be:
16th October 2019 (1.30-3pm): Research and practice in education settings, including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
20th November 2019 (12.30-2pm): Psychological outcomes and interventions for adults with autism and/or intellectual disabilities
4th March 2020 (12.30-2pm): Transitions from primary to secondary school for children with Down syndrome and Williams syndrome
29th April 2020 (12.30-2pm): A contemporary approach to educational policy making for pupils with SEND
10th June 2020 (12.30-2pm): Research involving fathers
More information about all five seminars can be found here https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/epranseminar and further information about the seminars (including abstracts) will be uploaded to the website as soon as it becomes available.
EPRAN is a network for research active staff and post-graduate research students at the University of Warwick to share research findings related to education and psychology. We also aim to promote inter-departmental and external networking and research collaborations.
Professor David Stark (CIM) and Professor Nick Chater (WBS) Event
Staff in CLL secure internal University of Warwick funding to explore the experience of their students from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.
Staff in our Career Studies and Coaching course team have secured internal University of Warwick funding to explore the experience of their students from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.
Gill Frigerio, Associate professor and project lead explains: Recent data from across UK HE has shown that the gap between rates of attainment of a good degree (a 2.1 or a first) is running at about 13% lower for BAME graduates compared with their white counterparts. There is a lot of work across the sector on this and it is quite a big focus at Warwick too. A first stage to understanding the gap is to hear from BAME students about their experiences rather than imposing potential solutions from above.
Dr Michela Redoano on how Facebook micro-targeting affects electoral elections and what brought her to Warwick
What projects are you working on at the moment?
In general I take the political economy approach, in the sense that when I look at decisions taken by the public sector, for example on public expenditure and taxation, I consider that these are the outcomes of strategic interactions between voters and elected policymakers’ choices rather than choices driven necessarily entirely by economic principles.
So I am interested in both what affects citizens’ voting choices, for example a political campaign before the elections, as well as policymakers’ policy decisions, knowing that these will affect their chances of re-election.
At the moment I am working on two projects and this is the central focus of both projects, though they appear quite different at first.
The first is “what is the effect of political micro-targeting on Facebook on people’s voting decisions.” We look at the 2016 US presidential campaign and we compare the voting behaviours of US voters, with Facebook accounts and those without - people who read political news on Facebook and people who are very similar in every other characteristic but don’t have a Facebook account and use other sources for news. The novel part of the analysis is that we have a measure of political campaign intensity for each targeted audience. We found that Facebook changes the political behaviour of people. It makes people more polarized, and it makes them tend to stick more with their initial choices in terms of which candidate to vote for, and whether to vote at all. Also we found a significant effect in favour of Trump - those who read news on Facebook were more likely to vote for Trump then those who did not.
We want to extend this research into Europe - we have put together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to run research on political micro-targeting on social media and voting in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain during national elections in each country. This is in the pipeline.
The second project asks whether people’s culture affects their political decisions – this is part of a bigger project that is trying to see how culture is passed on from our parents and grandparents, and whether that is a bigger influence than the place that we live. We use traditional food and dialects to identify these transmission channels. We are using Italian data, with a sample of people living in Milan, Turin and Rome – places where around 70 per cent of residents are not originally from there. We trace the roots of these people, going back to their grandparents, and we ask them to play some public good games, grouping them by place of origin and place of residence. We found that the place of origin on the maternal line has a strong effect on our behaviour – much more so the place that we currently live. People living in Milan but whose grandparents came from Sicily behave more like other Sicilians than their fellow Milanese. And we are looking at how this affects voting behaviour.
So although these projects look different the common ground is the question of how people form their voting decisions. Are they affected by political micro-targeting on social media? Do people carry their backgrounds with them into the voting booth?
Why did you choose this area?
As a new graduate in Italy, almost by chance I started working as a research assistant for a leading Italian Professor who was doing some consultancy work with the regional government, and this gave me an insight into how decisions are taken. I could see that economic theory is important but then, in reality, choices are not always made according to textbooks. This gave me a different framework to think about and this was my starting point.
Why did you choose to become an economist?
The honest answer is that it was completely by chance! I always loved maths, it was my favourite subject at high school, but I didn’t want to be a mathematician. So I decided to try economics - although I didn’t have a very clear idea of what economics was, because I did not study it at school. I was full of preconceptions that it was about money. When I started my course I realised that it is much broader than that, it is about decisions and how individuals make them. To me economics is about understanding people’s behaviour and how they make decisions, and mathematics gives us the tools to do that in a rigorous way.
Economics gives us a methodology to think about lots of issues, which are not necessarily traditional economics questions – they could be from psychology or political science or social science. As economists we bring our mathematical skills and our training to do rigorous research into these questions. There is a lot of collaboration now going on across the social sciences but also with computer science on Big Data projects.
What brought you to Warwick?
I came here to Warwick to do my PhD and really liked it. I worked elsewhere for a few years but came back as I think it’s a great place, I like the University and the Department has a really great group of researchers. It is my first love as it’s the first place I came to in England when I came here from Italy - and it’s a very good place to be.
What is your favourite thing about the Department?
There are two things that make the department great at the moment – one is that it is an excellent place to do research, there is a great work environment with seminars and workshops and speakers coming from all over the world. But at the same time there is also a shared set of values - respect, co-operation and inclusion – that we have been building into our work culture.
This is a very important part of the Department’s life at the moment. We are working towards our Athena Swan, looking to reach more of a gender balance, and this gives us the incentive to make small changes to make the Department more inclusive. So we arrange seminars at times that are feasible for everyone to attend, even people with young families – we have them in the early afternoon, we don’t have them late. We try to have lunch together once a week, we listen to each other and show respect to each other, irrespective of people’s role or seniority.
These kind of initiatives all contribute to making a place where people are happy and have a sense of belonging, where people talk to each other and help each other. As Warwick Economics we compete with the world, but inside the Department we cooperate because we have a common goal.
- Michela Redoano (joint with Federica Liberini, Andrew Oswald and Eugenio Proto), Was Brexit Triggered by the Old and Unhappy? Or by Financial Feelings? CEPR Discussion Paper 13439, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization , Volume 161, 287-302, 2019.
- Michela Redoano (joint with Federica Liberini, Antonio Russo, Angel Cuevas and Ruben Cuevas),Politics in the Facebook Era. Evidence from the 2016 US Presidential Elections, CAGE Working Paper Series, 2018.
- Michela Redoano (joint with Emanuele Bracco and Francesco Porcelli), Political Competition, Tax Salience and Accountability. Theory and some evidence from Italy. European Journal of Political Economy, Volume 58 , 138–163, 2018.
The University of Warwick ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) is pleased to invite applications for its first Postdoctoral Innovation Fellowship.
Warwick is one of 26 UK universities receiving funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which supports engagement activities with non-academic stakeholders such as policymakers, NGOs, businesses and public beneficiaries to enable the conversion of established research into impact.
As part of this programme, the ESRC IAA will fund four fellowships (one per academic year) to support students towards the end of their PhD to think about how their research could be applied to the needs and challenges of organisations across different sectors, and to develop proposals to put this into practice.
The Fellowship will be awarded for up to three months or part-time equivalent. Projects can commence any time from 14 October 2019, but must be complete by 31 March 2020.
This opportunity is open to applicants who will have submitted their PhD thesis for examination before their proposed Fellowship start date (the Fellowship can commence whilst awaiting viva) OR who will be within one year of having been awarded their PhD at the proposed start date. The PhD must be in a social science discipline and have been undertaken at the University of Warwick.
Those with a full-time, permanent, academic post are not eligible to apply.
For further information and details on how to apply please visit: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/impact/iaa/innovationfellow
Jenny Bimrose received the Rodney Cox Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Jenny Bimrose was awarded the Rodney Cox Lifetime Achievement Award at the CDI’s ‘UK Career Development Awards’ held on 11 March. The presentation was made by Dave Cordle, the CDI president, on behalf of the CDI’s board of directors.
The award is in recognition of Jenny’s sustained and significant contribution to the careers sector in which she has worked in for over 40 years. Jenny recently retired from IER, but has continued her research in the careers field. The award was sponsored by C&K Careers.
While Jenny was unable to attend the official award ceremony because of self-isolation, she is now holding the CDI Award in her hands.
You can read more on Jenny’s career and her recent publications in this University of Warwick press release.
Current LLB student Francesca Mitrofan has been awarded The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Law Global Scholarship to study on their LLM programme from September later this year.
Dear PAIS Students,
We hope that you and your family/friends are well and safe during this difficult time.
As always, the health and wellbeing of our students and colleagues remains the top priority of the University and the Department. We would therefore encourage you to reach out to your personal tutor, or to Ben Richardson, as our Director of Student Wellbeing in PAIS, if we can be of help to you. Colleagues in Wellbeing Support Services are also doing all they can to offer services to students via video and telephone so please do continue to make use of the support available to you.
Student Newsletters and FAQs
We hope that you have all signed up for, and been receiving, the central University student newsletter - https://warwick.ac.uk/students/newsletter. Please do ensure that you read each issue thoroughly as this is main way for the University to keep you updated of all COVID-19 related issues as they impact on your student experience. Please note that these normally come from the Internalcomms@warwick.ac.uk email address. An archive of these student newsletters are available online for you to review.
Many of your questions will also hopefully be answered via the central FAQs, which the University will continue to update. In due course, the University will release more detailed information about learning, teaching, and assessment, which, in turn, will inform the Department’s approach – we appreciate your continued patience with this process.
When it comes to more specific issues, the Department is working closely with the University and seeking approval for our plans. Thank you for your understanding as we work together with the central University to ensure the delivery of solutions that are do-able, clear and ‘joined up’ across the University – we really appreciate it. Please be assured we are doing all that we can, in the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, to ensure student wellbeing and academic progression.
With all best wishes,
Department of Politics and International Studies
CANCELLED: Conference: New Conversations on Poetry and Philosophy - 16/17 March 2020
We are sorry to announce that, due to the situation with the coronavirus, the British Society of Aesthetics Synergy Conference: New Conversations on Poetry and Philosophy, scheduled for 16/17 March 2020, has been CANCELLED. We hope to re-schedule this when circumstances allow.
Are you interested in developing your skills, enhancing the student experience, and being paid in the process?
The Department of Sociology is currently inviting applications from finalist students for a number of 'Student Voice' Ambassador roles. Ambassadors will act as an interface between students and staff, feeding back both ways. The role will include, for example, inputting into departmental discussions on teaching policy and curriculum change.
If you are interested in this role, please send your CV and a supporting statement (of up to 350 words) outlining why you feel you would make a good 'Student Voice' Ambassador to the department’s Director of Student Experience, Dr Andre Celtel (A.Celtel@warwick.ac.uk).
The closing date for applications is 2 pm on Thursday 03 October 2019.
Jake Lever - Teaching Fellow at The University of Warwick, features on BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship "The Art of Faith"