Dr Clifford Stevenson

Reader in Psychology

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Applied, Social and Health Psychology

Clifford's research examines how the groups to which people belong serve to shape their perception and experience of social reality as well as providing them with the basis of collective resilience and response to adversity and challenge.

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View Clifford's profile on academia.edu


The first strand of Clifford's research examines how the expression and enactment of collective identities reflects and transforms the societies they represent. His research has been conducted through three large, interrelated, funded research projects examining the public display of political symbolism in Northern Ireland; the display and transformation of Irish national identity on St Patrick’s Day and 1916 commemorations; and the embodiment of the Hindu community at the Magh Mela religious festival in India.

Meanwhile, the second strand of Clifford's research applies and extends the ‘social cure’ paradigm of group processes to examine the role of social identity in providing collective efficacy and resilience among marginalised residential communities in Limerick city, Ireland. In a unique ground-breaking reworking of this approach, Clifford now leads a programme of research which examines how collective efficacy and resilience in Northern Ireland’s local communities can be harnessed to promote positive intergroup contact.

Finally, a third research strand examines how social identity processes underpin political engagement, voting behaviour and other forms of citizenship behaviour. It examines how different social identities and understandings of group citizenship act to frame group members’ political decision making, their interactions with the state and their relations with other communities in divided societies.

Research interests

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Clifford is a member of our Identity and Social Issues Research Area which forms part of our Applied, Social and Health Psychology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

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  • Social identities and resilience to physical and social stressors
  • Intergroup segregation and contact in everyday life
  • Collective action and crowd behaviour
  • Citizenship, civic engagement and volunteering

Find out more about our Psychology PhD.


  • PhD Psychology, Lancaster University, 2004
  • MSc Psychological Research Methods, Lancaster University, 1999
  • BA (Hons) Psychology (1st) Trinity College Dublin, 1998

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Graduate member, British Psychological Society
  • International Society of Political Psychology
  • European Association of Social Psychology

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Randomly Selected 'Politicians': Transforming Democracy in the Post-Conflict Context. (ESRC Transformative Research Grant £186,000), July 2014–December 2015. Dr John Garry (PI), Dr Adele Marshall, (CI), Dr Cillian McBride (CI), Prof Brendan O'Leary (CI), Dr Fabian Schuppert (CI) & Clifford Stevenson (CI).
  • Power-Sharing and Voting: Conflict, Accountability and Electoral Behaviour at the 2015 Northern Ireland Assembly Election (ESRC £507,000), November 2014–October 2016. PI: Dr John Garry; CIs: Prof John Coakley; Prof Geoffrey Evans; Prof Sara Hobolt; Dr Clifford Stevenson; Prof Brendan O’Leary; Prof James Tilly.
  • Exploring the Quality of Shared Housing in Belfast (Community Relations Council, £10,000), March 2014–May 2014. PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson; CIs: Prof John Dixon; Dr Ian Shuttleworth.
  • Everyday Contact in Northern Ireland (South Eastern Education and Library Board, £10,000), May 2013-November 2013. PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson.
  • Collective participation and social identification: A study of the individual, interpersonal and collective dimensions of attendance at the Magh Mela. (ESRC, RES-062-23-1449, £444,000), September 2009 -June 2012. PI: Dr Nick Hopkins University of Dundee; CIs: Prof Steve Reicher, St Andrews; Dr Mark Levine, Lancaster University; Dr Gozde Ozakinci, St Andrews; Dr Clifford Stevenson, University of Limerick.
  • Embodying the Imagined Community: The role of collective participation in the transformation of Irish identities. (ESRC RES-062-23-1140 / IRCHSS, £440,000). September 200-August 2011. PIs: Prof Orla Muldoon, University of Limerick & Dr Dominic Bryan, QUB; CIs: Prof Steve Reicher, St Andrews; Dr Clifford Stevenson, University of Limerick.
  • Revitalising Communities: A framework for assessing social change. (IRCHSS, €97,000). January 2009–December 2010. PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson. CI: Prof Orla Muldoon, UL.
  • National Identity and Charitable Behaviour (University of Limerick Seed Funding, €5,000). PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson. CI: Dr Rachel Manning, Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Flagging Identities: The display and regulation of political symbols in Northern Ireland. (Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, £175,000). May 2006–May 2010. PI: Dr Dominic Bryan (Irish Studies, QUB), CI: Dr Clifford Stevenson (University of Limerick).
  • St Patrick's Day in Belfast 2006; 2007. (Belfast City Council, £6,000). February 2006–April 2007. PI: Dr Dominic Bryan (QUB), CI: Dr Clifford Stevenson (QUB).

Selected recent publications

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Hopkins, N., Reicher, S., Khan, S., Tewari, S., Srinivasan, N. and Stevenson, C., in press. Explaining effervescence: Investigating the relationship between shared social identity and positive experience in crowds. Cognition and Emotionhttp://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2015.1015969.

Khan, S., Hopkins, N., Reicher, S. Tewari, S., Srinivasan, N. and Stevenson, C., in press. How Collective Participation Impacts Social Identity: A Longitudinal Study with Control Data. Political Psychology. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1111/pops.12260.

Khan, S., Hopkins, N., Reicher, S. Tewari, S., Srinivasan, N. & Stevenson, C., early view - open access. Shared identity predicts enhanced health at mass gatherings. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368430214556703.

O’Donnell, A., Muldoon, O., Blaylock, D., Stevenson, C., Reicher, S., Bryan, D. and Pehrson, S., early view - open access. 'Something that unites us all': Understandings of St. Patrick’s Day parades as representing the Irish national group. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1002/casp.2236.

Stevenson, C., McNamara, N and Muldoon, O., 2014. Stigmatised identity and service usage in disadvantaged communities: Residents', community workers' and service providers' perspectives. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 24(6), pp.453-466.

NiMaolalaigh, M. and Stevenson, C., 2014. National identity in a foreign context: Irish mothers accounting for their children’s national identity in England. Discourse and Society, 25(2), pp.245-262.

Pandey, K., Stevenson, C., Shankar, S., Hopkins, N.P. and Reicher, S.D., 2014. Cold comfort at the Magh Mela: Social identity processes and physical hardship. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(4), pp.675-690.

Shankar, S., Stevenson, C., Pandey, K., Tewari, S., Hopkins, N.P. and Reicher, S.D., 2013. A calming cacophony: Social identity can shape the experience of loud noise. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, pp.87-95.

Pehrson, S., Stevenson, C., Muldoon, O.T. and Reicher, S., 2013. Is everyone Irish on St Patrick's Day? Divergent expectations and experiences of collective self‐objectification at a multicultural parade. British Journal of Social Psychology. (Early view.)

McNamara, N., Stevenson, C. and Muldoon, O., 2013. Community Identity as Resource and Context: A mixed method investigation of coping and collective action in a disadvantaged community. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(5), pp.493-503.

Joyce, C., Stevenson, C. and Muldoon, O., 2013. Claiming and displaying national identity: Irish Travellers' and students' strategic use of 'banal' and 'hot' national identity in talk. British Journal of Social Psychology, 52(3), pp.450-468.

Burns, M. and Stevenson, C., 2013. Deconstructing National Leadership: Irish politicians’ accounts of electoral success and failure in the Lisbon Treaty Referenda. British Journal of Social Psychology, 52(1), pp.122-139.

Stevenson C. and Abell, J., 2011. Enacting National Concerns: Accounts of the 2002 Golden Jubilee. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21, pp.124--137.

Abell J. and Stevenson, C., 2011. Defending the Faith(s)? Democracy and hereditary right in representing the national community in England. Political Psychology, 38(3), pp.485-504.

Mc Namara, N., Muldoon, O., Stevenson, C. and Slattery, E., 2011. Citizenship, Socioeconomic Advantage and Gender: A quantitative analysis using implicit and explicit measures. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21(2), pp.243-254.

Stevenson C. and Muldoon, O., 2010. Socio-political context and accounts of national identity in adolescence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49(3), pp.583-599.

Stevenson C. and Manning, R., 2010. National Identity and International Giving: Irish adults’ accounts of charitable behaviour. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 20(4), pp.249-261.

Abell, J., Locke, A., Condor, S., Gibson, S. and Stevenson, C., 2008. Trying similarity, doing difference: The role of interviewer self-disclosure in interview talk. In: Fielding, N. (Ed.). Interviewing II. Sage: London.

Abell, J., Condor, S., Lowe, R., Gibson, S. and Stevenson, C., 2007. ‘Who Ate All the Pride?’ Patriotic Sentiment and English National Football Support. Nations and Nationalism, 13(1), pp.97-116.

Stevenson, C., Condor, S. and Abell, J., 2007. The majority-minority conundrum in Northern Ireland: An Orange Order perspective. Political Psychology, 28(1), pp.107-125.

Stevenson, C., Doherty, G., Barnett J., Muldoon, O.T. and Trew, K., 2007. Adolescents’ views of food and eating:  identifying barriers to healthy eating. Journal of Adolescence, 30, pp.417-434.

Condor, S., Abell, J., Figgou, L., Gibson, S. & Stevenson, C., 2006. ‘They’re not racist, but…’ Prejudice denial, mitigation and suppression in dialogue. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45(3), pp.441-462.

Abell, J., Condor, S. and Stevenson, C., 2006. 'We are an Island': Geographical imagery and dilemmas of British identity in Scotland and in England. Political Psychology, 27, pp.191-217.

Abell, J., Locke, A., Condor, S., Gibson, S. and Stevenson, C., 2006. Trying similarity, doing difference: The role of interviewer self-disclosure in interview talk with young people. Qualitative Research, 6, pp.221-244.

Maunsell, C., Smith H.V. and Stevenson, C., 2000. What happens in court? The development of understanding of the legal system in a sample of Irish children and adults. Irish Journal of Psychology, 21(3-4), pp.215-226.

Book chapters

Hopkins, N., Stevenson, C., Shankar, S., Pandey, K., Khan, S. and Tewari, S., 2015. Being together at the Magh Mela: The social psychology of crowds and collectivity. In: Evans, S., Madrell A. and Terry, A. (Eds.). Sacred Mobilities. London: Ashgate.

Bryan, D. and Stevenson, C., 2009. Flagging Peace: Struggles over Symbolic Landscape in the New Northern Ireland. In Ross, H.M. (ed.). Culture and Belonging in Divided Societies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.