Dr. Frank Schumann

Research Associate

IPU Berlin
Stromstr. 3b - Room 0.31
10555 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 300 117-743
E-Mail: frank.schumann(at)ipu-berlin.de

In my teaching I focus mainly on social psychology. Here, I put emphasis on approaches that try to explain how the social world is experienced psychically and to what extent this perception plays a role in forming an understanding of the self and of others. This may seem abstract. But in courses on stereotypes and prejudices, social identity, social psychological concepts of authoritarianism or social discrimination the question quickly becomes more tangible.

These phenomena are understood not only as social cognition, but as something that is embedded in social interaction and social practices as well. Thus, social psychology, as I teach it, is part of a multiparadigmatic research landscape. That is why in my courses I frequently refer to approaches of the social sciences and even sometimes to social philosophy, political theory or ethnology. Along with quantitative and experimental methods, my seminars also introduce to qualitative research strategies and methods.

My research is mainly concerned with the subjective conditions of living in a modern society and how this experience is dealt with on the psychic, social and political levels. Thus, my research involves three disciplines – social psychology, sociology and social philosophy. I’m especially interested in how people perceive social deficits and how experiences of social suffering fuel social critique or political unrest. My research interest therefore touches on a theoretical question: What are the normative foundations of social critique and what can be understood as social or individual pathology? At the same time, this also gives rise to a question that pertains to research practice: How can we ascertain which suffering is of social origin, e.g. in a therapeutic setting or in social research?

Currently, I pursue these questions in the context of a planned research project on the political mobilization of right populist movements and parties. In this project I want to give an explanation of the appeal und structure of populist critique by connecting social theory, social psychological concepts of social cognition and French sociology of critique.