Othering, Polarization & Social Identity, 9am CET 17 Sept

Date&time: 17.09.2020 10:00-13:00

Part of Social Simulation Week 2020

Chairs: Bruce Edmonds (Metropolitan Manchester University, United Kingdom), Geeske Scholz (University of Osnabrueck, Germany) & Julia Eberlen (Uinversity Libre de Brussels, Belgium)

Introduction to topic: ‘Othering’ and polarisation have immediate and potentially severe consequences for politics across Europe – in terms of Populist denigration of sub-groups but also when politics is so divided that each side will not listen to the other (e.g. Brexit in the UK, or on measures to fight Corona, e.g. in Germany). Unfortunately, relevant theory, knowledge and perspectives on these phenomena are splintered across many disciplines, ones that normally do not talk to each other. The Social Identity approach (SIA) refers to the combination of Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Self-Categorization Theory (Turner et al., 1987; Reicher et al. 2010). SIA proposes that people derive a significant part of their concept of self from the social groups they belong to (Tajfel, 1978; Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Tajfel & Turner 1986; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher & Wetherell, 1987). SIA proposes that social identification, and the perception of people as fellow group members (or outsiders), is a fundamental basis for collective behaviour. SIA investigates how and when individuals come to feel, think and act as members of a group rather than as individuals. Agent-based modelling (ABM) is a means for bringing the different knowledge and perspectives on these issues together – bringing cognitive and social aspects within a single, coherent framework and sparking interdisciplinary debate. The SIA connects the cognitive to the social outcomes and is amenable to formalisation within ABMs, and is thus one possible means for making simulations. This workshop would present and discuss research on uses of ABM (either existing or prospect) to represent and explore this cluster of phenomena.

Registration: necessary (but free) at: https://ssc2020.behavelab.org/registration/


10:00 – 10:15 Introduction to session (Julia Eberlen)
10:15 – 11:00 Introductory talks of 15 mins max + 5 mins Q&A:

1.     Nanda Wijermans & Geeske Scholz: “SIA & SIAM: Social Identity Approaches  & Social identity in ABMs”

2.     presentation othering & polarization (Bruce Edmonds);

Short recapitulation & summary of breakout group topic wishes

11:00 – 12:00 Breakout group sessions:

  • first breakout sorted around topic wishes 20 mins
  • second breakout group: 1) research questions you would like to address or see addressed 2) resources you would like to connect to /offer 3) Problems/issues you see in that area (20 mins)

Groups report back in plenum (10 mins)

12:00 – 13:00 Presentations on relevant models(15 mins + 5 Q&A each):

1.     Wander Jager: “Cognitive dissonance as a driver of polarisation and othering: a modelling perspective using the HUMAT framework”

2.     Natalie Gallagher & Rocco Paolillo: “Network preference and norms affiliation: their potential for intragroup and intergroup conflict”

3.     André C. R. Martins: “Extremism definitions in opinion dynamics models”

Closing of session