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I am a trans-disciplinary scholar with specific expertise in cultural, social, and political psychology and mixed qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. I have five main research projects, in conjunction with several excellent friends and collaborators, that define my research agenda.

1. Economic inequality and social change 

My work over the last decade has aimed to comprehend how people experience and understand economic inequality: under what conditions can and do people accept inequality without engaging in democratic activities to effect social change? And under what circumstances does their tolerance turn to protest, rioting, and other forms of civic unrest? In my research, I have offered some answers to these questions. I am currently writing a book, under contract with Cambridge University Press, based on this research.

2. Migration and cultural collisions

The second broad branch of my research aims to investigate the scopes and limits of pluralism and the multicultural challenge in western liberal democracies. My collaborators and I examine cultural and moral clashes that sometimes occur when people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America migrate to western liberal democracies and bring with them cultural practices that mainstream groups in the United States and western Europe sometimes deem abhorrent or disturbing. How much scope is, and ought to be, given from descriptive, normative, and legal perspectives to diverse cultural and developmental practices, such as arranged marriages, polygamy, genital surgeries, child rearing practices, access to educational opportunities, sexual practices, and ideas about parental authority? What happens, and what do people think should happen, when moral ideals about processes of human development held by different cultural groups clash? How much tolerance is there and how much should there be?

3. Covid-19 and World-Making

Along with my collaborators, I have documented and examined Danish reactions to the societal lockdown and subsequent reopening of society due to the Covid-19 virus. This research has informed our understanding of the psychology of trust and its basis at democracy, the scopes of limits of human imagination and moral understandings, and the roles of social identity in cohering society in times of uncertainty. The results of these multi-method (qualitative and quantitative) studies were influential in domestic and international policy making and media. have continued to develop a strategic partnership with the Danish Ministry of Culture, Dansk Live, and Roskilde Festival, to conduct research on crowd behavior in the context of Covid-19.

4. Honesty and Dishonesty

My collaborators and I have started a new empirical project concerned honesty and dishonesty. This is a newly emerging research group, supported by a Velux Foundation grant (c. 6m DKK). Some objectives of the newly emerging group are to examine the novel phenomenon of brutal honesty, examine honesty in romantic relationships, and comprehend cross-cultural understandings of honesty and dishonesty. Importantly, this group will use multiple qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate these phenomena more holistically.

5. Methodologies 

Through my research I also want to make manifest my vision to have field social psychological research, and use of multiple methods in conjunction, the gold standard in psychological research. My collaborators and I have written a series of articles in leading psychological journals advocating for, and modeling, this position. “Field Social Psychology,” “The SAGE Model of Social Psychological Research,” and “The MOVE Framework: Meanings, Observations, Viewpoints, and Experiences in Processes of Socio-Political Change” have been published in leading journals (American Psychologist, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Review of General Psychology, respectively). Another essay, with colleagues from Europe, titled “Social Psychology of, and for, World-Making” was recently published in Personality and Social Psychology Review. The aim of these essays is to re-expand the dominant social psychological paradigm to create a more holistic framework to comprehend pressing global questions, and concerns, related to social, cultural, political, and moral psychological phenomena. 

Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP
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