Stephanie Dornschneider-Elkink

Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. I specialize in conflict studies, with a focus on the psychological micro-foundations of political dissent. To collect data, I conduct ethnographic interviews with political dissidents. I then apply computational methods to identify the reasoning processes expressed during the interviews. This approach adds novel insight into the deliberations underlying political behaviour, which routinely deviate from rational choice principles or assumptions derived from large-n studies.

Most of my research focuses on resistance behaviour in the Arab world. The participants in this behaviour are typically overlooked by Western policymakers and often repressed by their domestic rulers. In spite of high risks, people in the Arab world engage in numerous resistance efforts at both collective and non-collective levels. Like participants in resistance behaviour in other autocratic settings, Arab resistance actors are hard to access. My work draws on field research to collect first-hand accounts by which this hard-to-reach population explains their behaviour.

Deliberations of a nonviolent dissident, expressed during an ethnographic interview:

cognitive map