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Donald Searing

DonSearingLeverhulme Visiting Professor (August - December 2013)

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Donald D. Searing is Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Burton Craige Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Professor Searing writes on comparative politics, political psychology, and political elites. He has published articles on these subjects in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, and most major professional journals in the discipline. He is also the author of Westminster's World: Understanding Political Roles (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Professor Searing is currently engaged in two research projects. One, with Professors Pamela Conover, Melanie Green and Jo Silvester, addresses the psychology of political leadership. It seeks to identify key motivations and skills that help politicians perform liberal democratic leadership’s principal functions: regime building, governing, accountability and representation. It investigates their psychological structure and dynamics, origins in pre-career and institutional learning, and behavioral consequences. The second research project, with Professor Pamela Conover, is a study of the civic side of citizenship in the United States and Great Britain. This examines ideologies of individualistic and social liberalism in the public mind: conceptions of identities, rights, duties, and the practices of deliberation and tolerance. Both research programs combine quantitative with qualitative methodologies to address themes in democratic theory.

Professor Searing has served on the Council of the American Political Science Association and on the editorial boards of the leading political science journals and has received a number of professional awards and honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

During his Visiting Professorship at Royal Holloway, Professor Searing will be working with academic staff and doctoral students in the Department of Politics and International Relations, participating in the work of the College’s Centre for the Social Sciences, and delivering three public Leverhulme Lectures: ‘Virtues and Vices of Liberal Democratic Leadership’; ‘Political Learning and Socialization in Parliamentary Institutions’; and 'Integrity in Political Careers: The Problem of Dirty Hands’.


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