Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen
Séamus A. Power is a trans-disciplinary scholar with expertise in social, cultural, and political psychology.
He did his postdoc and Ph.D. in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, an M.Phil. at the University of Cambridge, and a B.Sc. at University College Cork.
In one line of research he uses multiple methods to comprehend how people experience and understand economic inequality from a psychological perspective: under what conditions can and do people living in democracies accept inequality without engaging in activities to effect social change? And under what circumstances does their tolerance turn to protest, rioting, and other forms of civic discontent?
In a second line of research, in conjunction with the cultural anthropologist Professor Richard Shweder, he examines the scopes and limits of pluralism and the multicultural challenge in western liberal democracies. How much tolerance is there, and how much tolerance do people think there should be, for diverse cultural practices such as body modifications, parental authority, arranged marriages, ways of dressing, and family structures, in countries like the USA, Ireland, and Denmark?
Dr. Power's third research area unites the previous two strands. He is interested in the Equality - Difference Paradox. This is the observation that countries with greater income equality tend to be less culturally diverse. One consequence of this apparent clash between cultural diversity and income equality is that any country that values both economic equality and cultural diversity must sooner or later confront the paradox, if only for the sake of finding a sensible tradeoff that is compatible with social harmony. What public policies can help manage the tension between these opposing liberal values to increase social intelligence and maximize the successful integration of culturally diverse groups?
In a fourth line of research, with colleagues in psychology and sociology, he is examining the everyday experiences of people during the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent reopening of society using quantitative and qualitative methods. Additionally, with his colleague Professor Thomas Morton and partners at Roskilde Festival, he seeks to examine how people think and feel about cultural events - such as music festivals - in a post-Covid-19 world.
Dr. Power has written about the complementarity and incongruences between ethnographic and experimental methods. With colleagues he has innovated the SAGE and MOVE models of social psychological research. These frameworks highlight the utility of using ecologically valid mixed methods to describe and examine unfolding social and political phenomena.
Dr. Power is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen.
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Email: seamus.power (at) psy.ku.dk