Seminars & Events

19 November 2018
13:15 - 14:45
van Unnik 220

Seminar: Geetha Reddy – Racial identity construction

What else could context possibly be? Expanding social psychological definitions of context through the study of racial identity construction
In the field of Social Psychology, race has been said to be socially constructed at the level of both individuals and groups. In my social psychological research, I examine how different socio-political contexts influence the construction of racial identities. Specifically, I argue that the concept of the socio-political context needs to be examined from different perspectives. In the two studies I will present, I break socio-political context down to government policies, and colonial history using examples from Malaysia, and Singapore. In Study 1, I research how everyday engagements with government policies influence racial identity construction among multiracial Malaysians and Singaporeans. In Study 2, I explore how everyday engagements with colonial symbols influence contemporary racial identity construction among Malaysians and Singaporeans living in Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. More broadly the findings have relevance to social psychological understandings of contemporary multicultural societies that have individuals who traverse many spaces of home – both drawn by racial and national boundaries. I argue that there is room for a deeper understanding of, and engagement with the socio-political context in social psychological studies. As societies, and so, identities become increasingly complex in today’s world, I hope that such insights are important for the development of Social Psychology and social research in general.