Sue Widdicombe

Senior Lecturer

  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room UF35, Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


  • Office hours:
    Tuesdays 15.30-16.30 or email for an appointment.

Undergraduate teaching

I currently teach Introductory social psychology at first year level (including self, pro- and anti-social behaviour, classic theories in social psychology, prejudice, relationships). At third year level, I teach social constructionist approaches to self and identity, including the following topics: masculinity, nations and national identity, and identity in the postmodern era. At fourth year level, I teach a course on Adolescence which covers historical, psychological and sociological approaches to youth, issues of identity and the peer group, popular cultures and subcultures, delinquency and sexuality. I supervise final honours projects in the areas of identity and youth issues, and/or which employ a discourse or conversation analysis approach. At postgraduate level, I contribute to a course, Approaches to analysing text, discourse and narratives (on M.Sc. in Social Research Methods).

Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

Social psychology.

Current research interests

My primary interests, theoretical and empirical, are in self and identities, including personal and social identity and cultural variations in self-conception and individuality. I have participated in contemporary theoretical and methodological debates surrounding the concept of self and subjectivity and I am concerned to develop empirical approaches to understanding these complex issues. Further, related interests are in social groups, especially youth culture and subcultures; cross-cultural psychology and psychological anthropology; poststructuralism; and Arab identities. I also have an interest in language use, especially conversation and discourse analysis. My major current research project is an ESRC-funded study of constructing selves and identities in Syria for which I was on leave collecting data for several related studies (1997 — 1999). These include a comparative questionnaire-based study of self-descriptions and accounts of self in Britain, Syria and Egypt. Second, a comparative study of individualistic and collectivist values in Britain and Syria. Third, a conversation analytic study of the construction of selves and identities in talk in Syria based on over 150 interviews in Arabic covering a wide variety of topics: family relations and memories of childhood, friendship, work, gender, local, religious and national identities, as well as perception of self and ambitions.