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Dr Maria Xenitidou

Research Fellow
+44 (0)1483 683762
24 AD 03

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.


My publications


M Xenitidou, I Kokkali (2016)The regularities of migration? Thematic and discursive interplay in the talk of Greeks and Albanians in Greece, In: Case studies in Discourse Analysis Lincom Europe
M Xenitidou, M Emde, R Villard, U Lotzmann, KG Troitzsch (2013)Demonstrating the Theory: The case of Wikipedia, In: Minding Norms, Oxford Series on Cognitive Models and Architectures Oxford University Press
Corinna Elsenbroich, Maria Xenitidou (2012)Three Kinds of Normative Behaviour: Minimal Requirements for Feedback Models, In: Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory18(1)pp. 113-127 Springer Verlag

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.

Maria Xenitidou, Antonios Sapountzis (2018)Admissions of racism in discourse on migration in Greece: Beyond the norm against prejudice?, In: European Journal of Social Psychology48(6)pp. 801-814 Wiley

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.

M Xenitidou, C Elsenbroich (2011)Construct Validity and Theoretical Embeddedness of Agentbased Models of Normative Behaviour, In: The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences5(4)pp. 67-80 Common Ground Publishing

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.

Maria Xenitidou, A Sapountzis (2017)Qualitative methodologies in the study of citizenship and migration: Introduction to the special issue, In: Qualitative Psychology5(1)pp. 77-84 American Psychological Association

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.

AJ Gill, M Xenitidou, N Gilbert (2011)Understanding quality in science: A proposal and exploration, In: Proceedings - 2010 4th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems Workshop, SASOW 2010pp. 116-121
M Xenitidou (2011)National identity and otherness in Greek speakers' talk about immigration: Methodological and transdisciplinary reflections, In: Migration Letters8(2)pp. 121-131 Migration Letters & The London Publishers

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).

E Andreouli, I Kadianaki, Maria Xenitidou (2016)Citizenship and social psychology: an analysis of constructions of Greek citizenship, In: The Social Psychology of Everyday Politicspp. 87-101 Routledge
M Marangudakis, K Rontos, M Xenitidou (2013)State Crisis and Civil Consciousness in Greece., In: GreeSE Paper No.77
Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe LSE European Institute
A Sapountzis, Maria Xenitidou (2017)Criteria of citizenship and social inclusion in immigrants' discourse in Greece., In: Qualitative Psychology5(1)pp. 155-171 American Psychological Association

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.

M Xenitidou, N Gilbert (2012)Introduction to the Special Issue: The Processes of Methodological Innovation Narrative Accounts and Reflections, In: Methodological Innovations Online7(1)pp. 1-6 ESDS
M Xenitidou, S Greco-Morasso (2014)Parental discourse and identity management in the talk of indigenous and migrant speakers in Greece and the UK, In: Discourse & Society25(1)pp. 100-121 Sage

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.

E Andreouli, I Kadianaki, L Figgou, A Sapountzis, Maria Xenitidou (2017)‘Europe’ in Greece: Lay constructions of Europe in the context of Greek immigration debates, In: Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology27(2)pp. 158-168 Wiley

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.

Maria Xenitidou, Nigel Gilbert (2009)Innovations in Social Science Research Methods NCRM E-Prints

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.

Maria Xenitidou, Corinna Elsenbroich (2010)Construct Validity and Theoretical Embeddedness of Agent-based Models of Normative Behaviour, In: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences5(4)pp. 67-80 Common Ground

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.

Additional publications