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Moral Schemas, Cultural Conflict, and Socio-Political Action

PI: Steven Hitlin, University of Iowa


Moral Schemas, Cultural Conflict, and Socio-Political Action

Principal Investigator: Steven Hitlin, University of Iowa

Co-Investigators: Rengin Firat, University of California-Riverside

Years of Award: 2014-2019

Managing Service Agency:  Office of Naval Research

Project Description:
Moral values underlie cultural conflict; perceived moral violations are fundamental motivators for socio-political behavior, especially violent extremism. Current scholarship lacks an adequate understanding of links between culture and social identities in shaping value orientations and social movements. Policy makers lack a full array of tools for understanding social unrest and devising effective strategies to promote stability and decrease violence. We address this gap by investigating the interplay of social and mental mechanisms underlying moral values, group affiliation and political mobilization comparing the U.S., Turkey, France and S. Korea. We utilize a two-phase methodology that collects large-scale survey data from the U.S., Turkey, France and South Korea to identify important value dimensions for each culture (Phase 1), and then obtain neurological and behavioral data from the U.S. and Turkey involving social influence while people respond to political items in a functional Magnetic Resonance Scanner (Phase 2).

Select Publications:
Kwon, Hye Won and Rengin Firat. "Altruistic Values of Self and In-Groups and Implications for Suffering Alleviation." In Anderson, Ronald E. (Ed). 2017. Alleviating World Suffering: The Challenge of Negative Quality of Life. New York: Springer.
Hitlin, Steven and Hye Won Kwon. "Agency across the Life Course." In Shanahan, Michael, Jeylan Mortimer and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson (Eds.). 2016. Handbook of the Life Course (2nd Edition). New York: Springer.
Kwon, Hye Won. "Expanding the Notion of Agency: Introducing Grit as an Additional Facet of Agency." In Goller, Michael and Susanna Paloniemi (Eds). 2017. Agency at Work: An Agentic Perspective on Professional Learning and Development. New York: Springer.
Firat, Rengin, Hye Won Kwon and Steven Hitlin. (2018). "A Novel Measure of Moral Boundaries: Testing Perceived In-Group/Out-Group Value Differences in A Midwestern Sample." Socius. 4:1-11.
Hitlin, Steven, Hye Won Kwon and Rengin Firat. (Under Review). "In- and Out-Groups across Cultures: Identities and Perceived Values."