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Dr Sandra Obradovic

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Professional biography

I joined the OU in August 2020, prior to which I worked as a postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, at the London School of Economics. I completed my PhD at the LSE in 2018. My PhD examined public ambivalence towards EU integration in a prospective member state (Serbia), focusing on understanding how concerns over culture, history and intergroup hierarchies impacted whether EU integration was seen as a positive political goal or whether it was perceived as harmful to the nation, its continuity and ability to 'be' Serbian.

Research interests

My research centres around one broad, yet key, question: How is the content and boundary of a group identity constructed, and what does this mean for intergroup relations and perceptions of political change?

In examining this question I focus on a variety of constructs/processes:

1. Identity construction and group boundaries:

- Temporalities: Identities are temporal and this is one of the key dimensions of focus of my research, examiing how time and continuity between past, present and future shape the construction of identity and the boundaries between 'us' and 'them'.

 - Recognition and meta-perspectives: in considering the construction of identities I focus not only on self-identification and intra-group processes but also on how we think we are seen by relevant others, and identified by others, plays a role in shaping how we see ourselves. Are we recognized or misrecognized by relevant others? What impact does this have on sense of belonging and wellbeing? 

- Contextual variation: In my research I consider political and cultural determinants of identity construction and group boundaries. 

2. Intergroup relations and perceptions of political change:

- History and historical representations: In much of my work I tend to situate group processes within a historical context. As I focus a lot on national identities, it becomes important to examine how history becomes the 'stuff' that gives meaning to nations and their relationships with other nations. I consider history an importance source of legitimacy for nations, particularly within the domain of politics, when new change (or resistance to change) is being promoted. 

- Power and Hierarchies of belonging: It is important to acknowledge that intergroup relations often play out in contexts of asymmetrical power relations. Within groups (be they ethnic, national or supranational) we often see hierarchies of belonging expressed; some group members are seen as more (or less) 'European' and this has an impact on how the group is constructed, how its goals are defined and who is seen as best able to achieve those goals. 

Publications

The nation in context: How intergroup relations shape the discursive construction of identity continuity and discontinuity (2020)
Obradović, Sandra and Bowe, Mhairi
British Journal of Social Psychology, Article e12413 ((Early Access))