Project

Social Closed/Open mindedness

Goal: This project is about measuring 'critical (social) open-mindedness' in Australia as a composite index which was first introduced through a series of conference presentations and publications by its chief investigators. It also employs Structural Equation Modelling to explore its determining social factors in th Australian context (2005-2012).
In the age of rising anti-immigrant sentiments and populist nationalist movements lead by far right political forces which draw on the politics of fear and hatred across the world, closed-mindedness is a concept that needs to be rethought and returned to the center of our conscientious/critical social inquiry. We however argue that this time, the sociological dimension of this phenomenon deserves a much stronger attention. Therefore, the notion of ‘social close/open-mindedness’ is developed for the first time through this project as a sociological construct and the complexities of its measurement and explanation are discussed and dealt with.

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S A Hamed Hosseini
added a research item
This chapter not only presents a critical review of the contemporary academic literature regarding the "social nature" (basic characteristics), "social manifestations," and "social nurtures" (determining factors, roots, bases, and impacts) of Right-Wing Populism (RWP), but also initiates a conversation to pursue a new consolidative line of theorization of RWP. It starts by addressing the existing theoretical shortcomings in social scientific contributions to global studies of populism, highlighting theoretical inconsistencies and gaps in the literature. These, as argued, distort the potentials for constructing encompassing conceptual frameworks necessary to theorize the rise of new RWP in the current context of global social change. The resultant critical review is structured around three main aspects of studying RWP in the recent literature: (1) conceptual inconsistencies around its social nature; (2) disagreements on the "social manifestations" of RWP as a social phenomenon or form; and (3) divisions around explaining the "nurtures" of RWP that have given (a global) rise to RWP and have influenced its evolution in multiple forms. In concluding, the chapter will make general recommendations on how to develop an integrative theoretical framework with the capacity to both address the unnecessary conceptual inconsistencies and divisions, and to synthesize the currently unrelated explanatory efforts at the macro-, meso-, and microlevels.
S A Hamed Hosseini
added a research item
Imagine we want to explore how optimistic/pessimist a group of people (university students for example) are about their future and what makes them more or less optimistic. This implies a question that guides our research, i.e., a Research Question. Most social inquiries aim to answer one or a few interrelated research questions. One way to answer this question, if especially we are dealing with a large group of people, is to use a quantitative research strategy. This means we need to 'measure' subjects' level of optimism like when we measure their heights or weights! (it can't be that accurate, but it will be revealing enough; we should still be to order responses from high to low) So, we need to first define what pessimism/optimism means. Our definition will most likely be an abstract one (like many other concepts in social sciences). The literature can help us develop a good definition most of the time. We may simply adopt someone's definition if we find it good enough. But an abstract definition needs to be made more concrete in a way that it would help us differentiate between a rather optimistic person and a rather pessimistic one. Let's say "optimism is about having a vision of life or living conditions in the future that is better than now". Pessimism would be the opposite. This sounds abstract! Right? We still cannot measure peoples' optimism/pessimism by using this definition, like the way we measure people's height (knowing what height means cannot be used to measure people's height either!). So, we need to create a measurement/research tool; something that when people react to would give us a unique number that represents their level of optimism/pessimism. This is called the operationalization of concepts into indicators. An indicator is a measurable version of an abstract concept. ...
S A Hamed Hosseini
added a research item
How to Survey Critical Open-mindedness: An exemplary group assessment task for courses on quantitative social research
S A Hamed Hosseini
added a research item
Populism, as a concept, generally implies a mobilized support for the political, cultural and economic preferences of the populace as opposed to those of the elite, foreigners, intellectuals, media, government, corporations, scientific bodies, ethnic minorities, immigrants/refugees, or any other social group or community whose identity or interest differs from the widely-idealized image of a typical countryperson. However, populism does not always appear in society as a well-articulated doctrine or a coherent group attitude with a number of detectable rigid principles. It normally emerges in the form of popular rhetoric that taps into the populations’ emotions, and advocates quick solutions without a proper understanding of the root causes of the problems and the complexities of social institutions. In this process, on the one hand, macro socioeconomic status appears to be a primary factor but only in association with other primary determinants (e.g. age, regional/rural residential status, ethnicity, gender, education, religion, and occupation), and this association occurs only in a relative sense (e.g. a relative decline in the middle-class status compared to lower/under class status). On the other hand, social psychological factors such as social anxiety, sense of insecurity, resentment, uncertainty, humility, and ressentiment (e.g. waning white privileges recently accelerated by economic liberalization and austerity regimes), mediate the macro factors. In addition, the social historical residues of centuries of colonialist-patriarchal culture, such as class-racial discrimination, patriotism, misogyny, and racism, plus personality factors like dogmatism, closed-mindedness and authoritarianism play a role in the translation of macro-structural changes and political discourses into personal and group actions and attitudes. In this paper, we develop a more macro and micro integrative approach to theoretically explain the emergence of right wing populist movements in the post-globalist era.
S A Hamed Hosseini
added a research item
This article introduces ‘critical open-mindedness’ as a new sociological construct, which can be employed particularly in the studies of social attitudes and attitude change, social values, social identities, cross-cultural relations and social discrimination. By drawing on the data collected through the 2005 World Values Survey in Australia, we have operationalized the construct into an integrative social index, called ‘critical open-mindedness index’ consisting of five dimensional composite indicators (CIs; i.e. the social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental). We have adopted an integrative approach to constructing these composite indicators in which we pragmatically select and incorporate a variety of techniques with the purpose of maximizing the validity of the end results. The findings with respect to Australians’ critical open-mindedness, both in general and in reference to its five dimensions are discussed. We have also developed and examined a social psychological index of ‘socio-cognitive open-mindedness’ inspired by a number of commonly used international scales and by drawing on the same dataset. We have shown that these two types of open-mindedness are qualitatively different. Our analysis does not support the idea that individuals’ social psychological open-mindedness determines their critical open-mindedness. It is rather the opposite which is the case. See the article at: http://rdcu.be/qakX
S A Hamed Hosseini
added 3 research items
This article briefly reviews the historical changes in the social theories of collective cognition/knowledge, and reveals a classical divide between two major, supposedly rival, paradigms that still influence mainstream studies, i.e., (1) the realist determinist; and (2) the subjectivist constructionist. This division has prevailed in both humanities and social-behavioral sciences until recent challenges by critical realism and synthesizing trends. In fact, a growing number of meta-theoretical speculations have recently advocated a conciliatory orientation conceptualizing social reality in terms of an interaction between social agency and social structure. However, a genuinely integrative trend is required to incorporate the ideational aspects of social realities into its agenda as a third dimension by acknowledging an ‘autonomous ontological status’ for ideation in relation to human agency and social structures. Nevertheless, due to current global changes and the consequent emerging modes of consciousness, there is a need to reformulate our notions of knowledge and cognition under a new concept; what I refer to here as ‘social ideation’. ‘Social ideation’ sits within a multidimensional and comprehensive model in which the complexity of the concept and the autonomy of its ontological status are well recognized. Finally, the article outlines a new approach, titled ‘social ideation studies’ (SIS) which constitutes a meta-theoretical base for integrative and interdisciplinary studies.
An education template designed for devising survey research tools for the purpose of studying people’s social closed-mindedness.
S A Hamed Hosseini
added a project goal
This project is about measuring 'critical (social) open-mindedness' in Australia as a composite index which was first introduced through a series of conference presentations and publications by its chief investigators. It also employs Structural Equation Modelling to explore its determining social factors in th Australian context (2005-2012).
In the age of rising anti-immigrant sentiments and populist nationalist movements lead by far right political forces which draw on the politics of fear and hatred across the world, closed-mindedness is a concept that needs to be rethought and returned to the center of our conscientious/critical social inquiry. We however argue that this time, the sociological dimension of this phenomenon deserves a much stronger attention. Therefore, the notion of ‘social close/open-mindedness’ is developed for the first time through this project as a sociological construct and the complexities of its measurement and explanation are discussed and dealt with.