My Research Vision
My research is based upon social psychological understandings of identity and how they guide behaviour. This has been studied in relation to national identity in the context of monarchy and national football. More recently I have begun to apply models of identity and pro-social behaviour to conservation and volunteering behaviour. My aim is to extend social psychological explanations for human behaviour to their relations with other species. By doing so, social psychology can contribute to global issues pertaining to environmental and conservation behavioural change.
Jackie obtained her first degree in Psychology from the University of Dundee. Her undergraduate dissertation was an exploration of SIT/SCT principles of identity, as applied to Scottish and English identity. This was later published in BJSP. She then went on to complete an MSc in Critical Social Psychology at Lancaster University. This expanded her knowledge of identity approaches within social psychology. She became particularly interested in discursive psychology during this time and upon completion of her MSc, she went to study for a PhD at Loughborough University, supervised by Professor Michael Billig. His book, Arguing & Thinking, had a profound influence upon the way that she hought about her chosen discipline. She completed her dissertation on identity and the BSE crisis in cattle, and from there was offered her first job as a Research Associate on a Leverhulme funded project about the impact of Scottish devolution upon notions of British, Scottish and English identity. Working with Professor Susan Condor and Professor David McCrone (Edinburgh University), this was a 5-year longitudinal project to monitor change in the population with respect to devolution. From here she was awarded her first lectureship at Lancaster University, in social psychology. She continued to research and publish work on identity.
More recently, she has become interested in conservation and lion reintroduction, and how social psychological models and concepts could be applied to this field. To improve my biological knowledge, she completed an MSc in Animal Behaviour, and took up a role with the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust as Director of Research. She has since published papers on conservation, reintroduction programmes, and identity. She is the lead author of the David Myers ‘Social Psychology’ textbook (European edition) which is now in its 2nd edition. She was recently approved as a member of the IUCN, SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, who are a select group of experts responsible for conservation strategies throughout the world. She hopes to continue championing the role of social sciences in conservation work.
- Abell, J. (2013) 'Volunteering to Help Conserve Endangered Species: An Identity Approach to Human–Animal Relationships'. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 23 (2), 157-170.
- Abell, J. (2011) '‘They seem to think “We're better than you”’: Framing football support as a matter of ‘national identity’ in Scotland and England'. British Journal of Social Psychology 50 (2), 246-264.
- Abell, J., and Stevenson, C. (2011) 'Defending the Faith(s)? Democracy and Hereditary Right in England'. Political Psychology 32 (3), 485-504.
- Stevenson, C., and Abell, J. (2011) 'Enacting National Concerns: Anglo-British Accounts of the 2002 Royal Golden Jubilee'. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 21, 124-137.
- Abell, J., and Walton, C. (2010) 'Imagine: Towards an integrated and applied social psychology'. British Journal of Social Psychology 49, 685-690.
- Palasinski, M., Abell, J., and Levine, M. (2012) 'Intersectionality of ethno-cultural identities and construal of distant suffering outgroups'. The Qualitative Report 17 (7), 1-17.
- Abell, J., and Myers, G. (2008) 'Analysing research interviews'. In Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences. Ed. by Wodak, R., and Kryzanowski, M. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 145-161.
- Lion Rehabilitation & Release programme: An ex situ programme to release lions into the wild, using captive-founders. This involves animal behavioural research, and work with local communities in seeking tolerance for living with predators. The work also includes educational outreach programmes.
- Domestic Violence & Reporting: A project with Greater Manchester Police to facilitate reporting rates of female victims of domestic violence. Interviews were designed by me and carried out by a female police officer with women who had reported (and sometimes later retracted) a case of domestic violence. The aim of the study was to find out the triggers for domestic violence, leaving an abusive partner, and inhibitors to pursuing a legal case with the police.
- Nationals & Migrants: A 5 – year Leverhulme funded project in collaboration with Edinburgh University, to research the impact Scottish devolution has upon Scottish, British and English identity. The study began in 2000 and publications are still forthcoming from this work.
Kyle J. Messick, PhD Student
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