I was worried about feeling a bit ‘out there on my own’ whilst studying remotely... but I feel like a part of the Social Psychology community at The OU.
Hi, my name is Emma Brice and I’m a fourth year part-time PhD student in Social Psychology at The Open University.
I’ve always been fascinated by privacy. Growing up, my favourite books were Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell. The questions raised by those books have become even more pertinent now that technology is such an integral part of our daily life. I’m fascinated by questions such as where the boundary lies between the state and the individual, and what constitutes the private sphere. It may not be quite the same as the ‘Big Brother’ of 1984, but the internet, and the role it plays in our lives through our smart devices, has meant a higher level of access to our personal information than ever before.
My research investigates how governments, corporations, experts, and laypeople talk about data privacy. I have been conducting interviews and focus groups as well as looking at documents produced by the UK government and the large corporations that manage our data such as Facebook and Google. The aim of my research is to look at how data privacy is constructed within these groups, and to what ends, to try and understand how this may impact our current cultural valuation of privacy and our conduct as individual citizens.
The OU has changed my life as being able to study part-time from home has meant that I can continue to run my holiday let business (I live out on the beautiful North York Moors) without my studies impacting my income. I was worried about feeling a bit ‘out there on my own’ whilst studying remotely, but I have found many ways to get involved, and I now feel like a part of the Social Psychology community at The OU.
I chose to study with The Open University because I gained all my life-changing qualifications at both undergraduate and postgraduate level with the university.
Hi, my name is Sue Nieland, and I am a second year PhD student at The Open University.
My research is in the area of political psychology, and I am interested in the political decision-making of our oldest citizens, the Silent Generation, who were born between 1927 and 1946 and have post-World War II (WWII) in living memory. This is an under-researched group whose political choices in elections and referenda are often hidden in polling data aggregation into the 65+ category. I was motivated to want to understand more about their political behaviour after older citizens were accused of being responsible for the leave vote in the 2016 UK-EU referendum. My experience was that many of our oldest citizens were pro- rather than anti-Europe because of their memories of WWII and its aftermath.
In my current work, I interview members of the Silent Generation and apply a dialogical approach to explore how they talk about their experiences across the lifespan, how they use others’ voices, and how their dialogue moves through time and space. My questions are looking at influences on their political decision-making relating to the UK’s relationship with Europe, and how much their ability to move and travel has impacted on their decisions. I am also carrying out a comparison between English and Scottish citizens.
I chose to study with the Open University because I gained all my life-changing qualifications at both undergraduate and postgraduate level with the university and have also worked as an Associate Lecturer for 17 years teaching psychology. Studying for a PhD has been a lifelong ambition and I was so happy to find a way to bring together two passions – politics and psychology – into the relatively new area of political psychology.