Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Visiting Fellow, Kroc Institute
Scholars from a range of disciplines agree that many contemporary conflicts are rooted in the absence of political recognition of groups. And as groups increasingly rest their claims for recognition on the basis of a shared identity—be it national, cultural, or ethnic—the concept of “identity” has become central to peace research.
Hammack argues for a central role for the discipline of psychology in such research, based on its ability to theorize about identity at several levels and to integrate social, political, and historical analysis with consideration of individual experience. He will present a brief history of psychology’s contributions to peace research, followed by a new synthesis of the concept of “delegitimization” — one fruitful line of theory and empirical peace research in which psychology can play a critical role. Delegitimization is a process of social categorization in which groups are deemed morally and culturally inferior and are therefore considered permissible targets for violence. Hammack will review the theoretical and empirical basis of this concept and suggest new areas of empirical research.
Phillip Hammack specializes in the study of identity development and intergroup relations in settings of intractable political conflict, with a focus on Israeli and Palestinian youth. He received his Ph.D. from the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago in 2006 and has been an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since 2007. Hammack is also a peace education practitioner with several years of experience in group facilitation and program administration in Israeli-Palestinian coexistence programs in the United States. He is author of the forthcoming book, Narrative and the Politics of Identity: The Cultural Psychology of Israeli and Palestinian Youth, to be published by Oxford University Press in late 2010.
Free and open to the public.