Maria Xenitidou has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in International Relations, Politics, Identity, Migration and Research Methods and holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield (thesis titled "National Identity and Otherness in Greek Speakers' Talk about Immigration"). Her main interests are in identity and belonging (including citizenship, migration and claims-making), intergroup relations (including prejudice and racism), sense-making, contingency measures and social innovations, context and discursive approaches. Maria was granted a Marie-Curie fellowship and a fellowship “Supporting Postdoctoral Researchers” funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Greek State to study the relationship between lay and social science discourses on migration, identity and citizenship in Greece. She currently resides in CRESS, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey where she has been involved in various projects on topics such as the study of social norms, STS perspective to quality in science and ‘smart’ discourses, perceptions of and approaches to domestic energy use, and the exploration of new research methods. At the moment, she also leads British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant aiming to study everyday and institutional discourses on citizenship amidst the recent migration and refugee issue. She has published in international journals (e.g. Discourse & Society), has edited and published two special issues (e.g. Qualitative Psychology), and two edited volumes, and authored and co-authored book chapters (e.g. in The Social Psychology of Everyday Politics, Routledge). Apart from her research activity Maria Xenitidou teaches topics in micro-sociology and social psychology (e.g. intergroup relations, migration and identity, prejudice and racism), discourse analysis and research methods (mainly qualitative) at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
We use an agent-based model to help to refine and clarify social practice theory, wherein the focus is neither on individuals nor on any form of societal totality, but on the repeated performances of practices ordered across space and time. The recursive relationship between social practices and practitioners (individuals performing practices) is strongly emphasised in social practice theory. We intend to have this recursive relationship unfold dynamically in a model where practitioners and social practices are both considered as agents. Model conceptualisation is based on the principle of structuration theory—the focus is neither on micro causing macro nor on macro influencing micro, but on the duality between structure (macro) and agency (micro). In our case, we conceptualise the duality between practitioners and practices based on theoretical insights from social practices literature; where information is unclear or insufficient, we make systematic assumptions and account for these.
This special issue brings together contributions on citizenship from social psychology. The six papers that make up the special issue focus on different cases but they all share in common: (i) a focus on studying citizenship and migration albeit different aspects and in different contexts; (ii) an approach to citizenship from the ‘ground’, focusing on the ways in which social actors understand, negotiate and enact citizenship; (iii) the use of qualitative research to study citizenship and migration; (iv) and a social psychological perspective. Expanding on recent contributions on the study of citizenship in social psychology (Condor, 2011; Stevenson et al., 2015), the contributions in this special issue display a preoccupation with social actors’ own orientations towards citizenship in particular, using mainly discursive methods to analyze them.
In this paper we assess the construct validity and theoretical emdeddedness of agent-based models of normative behaviour drawing on experimental social psychology. We contend that social psychology and agent-based modelling share the focus of ‘observing’ the processes and outcomes of the interaction of individual agents. The paper focuses on two from a taxonomy of agent-based models of normative behaviour. This enables the identification of the assumptions the models are built on and in turn, reflection on the assumptions themselves from a socio-psychological perspective.
In this paper we assess the construct validity and theoretical emdeddedness of agent-based models of normative behaviour drawing on experimental social psychology. We contend that social psychology and agent-based modelling share the focus of 'observing' the processes and outcomes of the interaction of individual agents. The paper focuses on two from a taxonomy of agent-based models of normative behaviour. This enables the identification of the assumptions the models are built on and in turn, reflection on the assumptions themselves from a socio-psychological perspective.
In this paper, we analyse discourses about Europe in Greek debates about immigration and citizenship and highlight the complexities of ‘Europeanness’ as a symbolic resource for argumentation in these debates. Our data consist of lay discourses from two rounds of online public deliberation (2009/2010 and 2015) about a controversial new citizenship law in Greece. Our analysis shows that Europe is an ambivalent category. On the one hand, Europe symbolises progress, but, on the other hand, it is also constructed in terms of decline and ‘contamination’ by multiculturalism. Further, our analysis shows that the category of Europe can be mobilised in contradictory ways, in order to support arguments for and against citizenship rights for migrants. The paper concludes with a discussion of the ways in which constructions of Europe are implicated in processes of othering and inclusion in the context of current immigration debates.
Naturalization criteria play an important role in who can be accepted as a member of a national polity. In the political and social sciences often a distinction is drawn between the right of blood- jus sanguinis- and the right of soil-jus soli- as guiding principles for naturalization. This distinction corresponds to the two different types of nationalism and national belonging identified by Kohn (1945, 1955) namely “ethnic” nationalism and “civic” nationalism. In social psychology this distinction has been used to examine which type of national belonging is more often associated to prejudice against immigrants and their exclusion. Recently approaches informed by social constructionism and discourse analysis examine how citizenship and the exclusion of immigrants are articulated in talk and what interactional goals seem to serve in each occasion. In this paper we examine how immigrants in Greece construct naturalization criteria in talk and how these may relate to the inclusion or exclusion of immigrants. Participants were 25 immigrants who participated in an interview on the current situation in Greece and the new naturalization law. Analyzing the interviews using Rhetorical Psychology, Ideological Dilemmas and Discursive Psychology we argue that participants by ridiculing citizenship criteria they legitimated their own presence within Greece. At the same time, they seemed to exclude other immigrant groups using discourses of legality/illegality. A possible reason for this dilemma, we maintain, is the diverse ideological background of the notion of citizenship, which allows its mobilization towards different ends.
We present an analysis for modelling social norms. In social psychology three different normative behaviours have been identified: obedience, conformity and compliance. We show that this triad is a useful conceptualisation of normative behaviour and that current models only ever deal with conformity and obedience two, neglecting compliance. We argue that this is a result from modelling having so far focussed too much on agent behaviour rather than agent knowledge and that cognitive models of normative behaviour are needed to capture this third and arguably most interesting normative behaviour.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY One of the aims of the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) is to identify and foster methodological innovation in the UK. The aim of this project was to identify methodological innovations outside the UK and draw NCRM’s attention to them. The project sought out research practices that have not yet filtered through to typical research methods courses or that impact on the research process in novel ways. These usually entailed (i) technological innovation, (ii) the use of existing theoretical approaches and methods in new ways and (iii) interdisciplinary. The project’s focus on innovative research practices ranged from data collection to analysis and covered disciplines such as (social) psychology, sociology, social work, socio-legal studies, political science (including public health and public policy) and international studies, (social) geography (area studies, demography, environmental and urban planning), (social) anthropology, (socio-)linguistics, education, communication studies, economic and social history, economics (management and business studies), science and technology studies, statistics, methods and computing. The work was conducted between October 2008 and March 2009 and written up in April and May 2009. The project gathered evidence by reviewing previous reports, carrying out desktop research, conducting an e-mail survey with academics, practitioners, research methods experts and others (N=215) - registering data entries in the form of nominations of experts, institutions and links to explore (N=670) - and holding interviews with gatekeepers (N=36) and telephone interviews with nominated experts (N=40). The project concluded, firstly, that innovative methodologies usually entail the use of one or more technological innovation(s) (visual, digital or online). This could be the advent of new software or the development of online methods and the use of the Internet to conduct research. Secondly, innovative methodologies often entail crossing disciplinary boundaries. This is observed in combinations of disciplines and methods such as in ethnography, anthropology and psychology. Thirdly, innovative methodologies often entail the use of existing theoretical approaches and methods in reformed or mixed and applied ways. This is observed in participatory methods, action research, professional work, social and consultancy work. Finally, innovative methodologies reside both inside traditional academic institutions (universities) and outside (research centres, institutes, consultancy agencies and organisations), yet even in the latter methods developers and experts usually have academic backgrounds and previous or current affiliations, status or posts. Overall, psychology figured prominently in methodological innovations and developments followed by survey methodology, ethnography, sociology and management. These developments were classified into mixed (N=8), qualitative (N=7) and quantitative (N=7) types of research. The institutional structures identified as ‘hosting’ these developments are primarily Academic followed by both Academic and Professional, then Research Centres and finally Professional and Consultancy institutions. The majority of the innovations are a consequence of working across disciplinary boundaries, followed by developments within methods and disciplines and then by developments in technology. Innovations were mainly spotted in North America – the USA and Canada – Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. The report includes summary descriptions of the methodological innovations located by the project. As a follow up to this project a workshop will be organised to bring together some of the developers and experts identified of these innovations. The workshop is planned to be adjacent to the NCRM Research Methods Festival to be held in July 2010.
The aim of the paper is to present the potential contribution of using Critical Discursive Psychology to study national identity and immigration. It draws upon a study on Greek national identity negotiations in relation to immigration. The study was guided by the perspective of banal nationalism which treats national identity as a form of life in a world divided into nation-states (Billig, 1995). In terms of Greek national identity and immigration, the study drew similarities between the perspective of banal nationalism and the critique of methodological nationalism (Wimmer and Schiller, 2002).
This article integrates discursive psychology and argumentation studies to discuss the regularities identified in two sets of data – focus group discussions amongst indigenous Greeks residing in Central Northern Greece and interviews with non-indigenous women with children, resident in the greater London area. The initial regularity identified consisted of participants talking as parents and talking about children mobilizing the normative expectations of parenthood in voicing strong views about ‘others’ from ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds other than those of the speakers. This seemed to function as a form of denial, identifying further regularities in the discursive strategies used by participants and in the lines of arguments developed. Furthermore, two themes emerged as commonplace in talking about ‘others’ in the lines of argument developed by participants – security/insecurity and hierarchies. These regularities are considered and the potentials of analysing discourse from two integrated approaches are discussed.
The turn to language in social psychology is closely related to the study of prejudice as racist discourse has been the subject matter of some of the ground‐breaking discourse analytic work. A widely accepted argument was that there seems to be a norm against prejudice informing Western societies: people commonly engage in denials of prejudice when they make negative comments about minorities. Recent work has argued that, due to ideological shifts in the wider societal context or because denying prejudice may not be people's only rhetorical concern, it is possible to find people admitting prejudice. We examine how people in Greece, Greek majority and immigrants, formulate admissions of racism in interviews on migration and citizenship in Greece. Drawing on Ideological Dilemmas and Critical Discursive Social Psychology, we argue that these admissions ironically operate within the norm against prejudice and discuss our findings in relation to the wider socio‐political Greek context.
1. Xenitidou, M. (2010) National Identity and Otherness: Greek Speakers' Talk about Migration. Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP
CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
1. Xenitidou, M., Emde, R., Villard, J., Lotzmann, U. and Troitzsch, K. G. (2014) Demonstrating the Theory: The case of Wikipedia. In G. Andrighetto, M. Campennì, and R. Conte, (Eds.) Minding Norms, Oxford Series on Cognitive Models and Architectures. Oxford University Press 2. Xenitidou, M. (2006) The post-1990s migration from the Balkans as a force in the constant making of ‘Greek national identity’ in Northern Greece. In S. G. Markovich, E. B. Weaver and V. Pavlovic (Eds.) Problems of Identities in the Balkans. Belgrade: Anglo-Serbian Society, pp. 155-166
ARTICLES IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS
1. Xenitidou, M. and Greco-Morasso, S. (2014) Parental discourse and identity management in the talk of indigenous and migrant speakers in Greece and the UK. Discourse & Society. Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 100-121 2. Xenitidou, M. and Gilbert, N. (2012) Introduction to the Special Issue: The Processes of Methodological Innovation Narrative Accounts and Reflections. Methodological Innovations Online. Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.1-6 <http://www.pbs.plym.ac.uk/mi/> 3. Elsenbroich, C. and Xenitidou, M. (2012) Three Kinds of Normative Behaviour: Minimal Requirements for Feedback Models. Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory. Vol. 18, Issue 1, pp. 113-127 <http://www.springerlink.com/content/028lx215n0654855/?MUD=MP> 4. Xenitidou, M. (2011) National Identity and Otherness in Greek Speakers’ Talk about Immigration: Methodological Reflections. Migration Letters. Vol. 8, No. 2, October 2011, pp. 122-131 <http://metapress.com/content/j511hj471265lh25/?p=3eb8aba5a6f241eeb11cb5607afa14d9&pi=4> 5. Xenitidou, M. and Elsenbroich, C. (2010) Construct Validity and Theoretical Embeddedness of Agent-based Models of Normative Behaviour. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 67-79 <http://iji.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.88/prod.1093>
EDITED VOLUMES & SPECIAL ISSUES
> 1. Xenitidou, M. and Gilbert, N. (Eds.) (2012) Special Issue on The Processes of Methodological Innovation. Methodological Innovations Online. Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2012 < http://www.pbs.plym.ac.uk/mi/> 2. Xenitidou, M. and Edmonds, B. (Eds.) (forthcoming) The Complexity of Social Norms. Springer
1. Xenitidou, M. and Gilbert, N. (2010) The Processes of Methodological Innovation: Successful and Diffusion. Guildford: University of Surrey <http://www.simian.ac.uk/SimianResources/The%20Processes%20of%20Methodological%20Innovation_Report%20Final-2.pdf> 2. Xenitidou, M., Villard, J. and Troitzsch, K. G. (2010) Empirical Context: Studying Emergent Social Order in Interaction: The Case of Wikipedia. Ιn EMIL EMergence In the Loop: simulating the two way dynamics of norm innovation. FP6 Final Report 3. Xenitidou, M. and Gilbert, N. (2009) Innovations in Social Science Research Methods. Guildford: University of Surrey <http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/804>