Angel Saavedra Cisneros: Identity Matters

Elevator pitch

“It’s human nature, it’s divisive, it’s tribalism, it’s avoidable, it’s a way for the other side to win.” Identities are all around us, but they are less a source of division than some would make them seem.

Abstract

Identities are at the center of individuals. We rely on them throughout our social existence, they can be politicized in a multiplicity of ways. In this chat I will briefly explain what I mean by identity and reconceptualize the use of identity politics. I will present some recent research in the field of political psychology along with my own research that explores how Latinos construct their identities and how they matter politically. I hope to shed light on the possible positive implications of humans relying on their identities. In particular I’ll present the sociopsychological of Identity Complexity and show how it functions in similar ways to cosmopolitanism and other identity expanding phenomena.

Bio

Dr. Saavedra is an assistant professor of political science at St. Norbert College. His interests are on political psychology and racial and ethnic politics. His book “Latino identity and political attitudes: why are Latinos not Republican?” won the 2017 Best Book in Race and Political Behavior award from the Racial, Ethnicity and Politics section of the American Political Science Association. He tries to use psychological theories to explain political phenomena and has just launched the “SNC Political Identities Lab.” A graduate-style lab where students and faculty meet to discuss current debates in political identities and develop testable hypotheses to create new pathways in our understanding of politics and race.

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