Dr James Weinberg
Department of Politics and International Relations
Lecturer in Political Behaviour
+44 114 222 1693
Full contact details
Department of Politics and International Relations
James Weinberg is a Lecturer in Political Behaviour at the University of Sheffield who has experience of designing, conducting and publishing academic research in the fields of political psychology and youth politics.James is currently an elected trustee of the UK Political Studies Association, where he previously convened both the Political Psychology and Young People’s Politics specialist groups. His research on topics such as the practice and politics of citizenship education in England, the personalities of political elites, and the mental health of politicians, has been published in high profile peer-reviewed journals. It has also formed the basis for evidence submitted to government consultations and parliamentary select committees.James's forthcoming book with Bristol University Press entitled 'Who Enters Politics and Why? Basic Human Values in the UK Parliament' explores his extensive survey and interview research with 168 Members of Parliament and 415 elected councillors. Reflective of his ability to design and conduct high-quality academic research, James currently holds a prestigious 3-year Leverhulme Fellowship to research how politicians govern in an age of distrust.James completed his BA at the University of Oxford, his MA at the University of Manchester, and his PhD at the University of Sheffield. James started his career as a qualified secondary school teacher in west London.
- Research interests
James is particularly interested in mixed methods’ studies of political behavior (at both elite and mass levels). He has experience of fielding experimental surveys, conducting focus groups and elite interviews, designing and evaluating surveys for a range of research purposes, as well as quantitative textual analysis and data visualisation. James has a secondary research interest in citizenship education and the role of political literacy in both fostering political participation and combatting political inequalities. He has previously carried out survey and focus group research with teachers from over 60 schools as well as politicians to assess the practice and policy of citizenship education in the UK. This research has informed a number of media appearances on the topic of young people and political participation.
James is currently working on four key projects:
- A Leverhulme research fellowship exploring how politicians govern in an age of distrust. Between 2019 and 2021, James will be collecting new survey data from politicians in the UK and abroad to a) re-conceptualise the way that political science defines and measures ‘trust’ in politics, and b) understand the ways in which generalised distrust in politics affects how our politicians govern and make policy.
- A grant from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to a) research the existing landscape of political education provision in UK schools, and b) collect evidence in terms of ‘what works’ vis-à-vis improving young people’s political efficacy, knowledge and participation. James is conducting this project in conjunction with two charities: the Association for Citizenship Teaching and The Politics Project.
- Experimental survey research into construal level theory and the saliency of people’s basic values for a range of participatory political behaviours.
- The mental health of politicians. Following a theoretical publication on the unique stressors of political office, James has recently collected new data from UK MPs and councillors to assess experiences of emotional labour in elected politics.
- Who wants to be a politician? Basic human values and candidate emergence in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Political Science. View this article in WRRO
- Who’s listening to whom? The UK House of Lords and evidence-based policy-making on citizenship education. Journal of Education Policy. View this article in WRRO
- The Winner Takes It All? A Psychological Study of Political Success among UK Members of Parliament. Parliamentary Affairs. View this article in WRRO
- Governing under Pressure? The Mental Wellbeing of Politicians. Parliamentary Affairs. View this article in WRRO
- Learning for democracy: The politics and practice of citizenship education. British Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 573-592. View this article in WRRO
- One moment, please: Can the speed and quality of political contact affect democratic health?. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 136914812091968-136914812091968. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Improving Citizenship Education In Tam H (Ed.), Whose Government Is It? The Renewal of State-Citizen Cooperation (pp. 177-194). Bristol: Bristol University Press.
Leverhulme, Early Career Fellowship, £100,000+ funder contribution to research governance in an age of distrust;
Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, UK Democracy Fund award, £32,000 to research politics in schools;
Political Studies Association, Pushing the Boundaries Award 2019, £2000 to co-organise an interdisciplinary national conference in political psychology;
Visiting Scholarship, University of Sydney, September – October 2017, £3000;
ESRC White Rose Doctoral Studentship, 2015 - 2018, £60,000.
- Teaching activities
James has experience teaching a range of courses on British Politics, Quantitative Social Science, and Political Behaviour. In the academic year 2020/21, James will be leading a new Political Psychology module for 3rd year Politics students. Rather than reviewing what happens in politics (e.g. who wins an election) or how it happens (e.g. who votes for whom), James wants to push students to look at why it happens by studying the psychology of politics at the micro level (e.g. the personality of politicians), the meso level (e.g. the ideological and moral foundations of political parties), and the macro level (e.g. motivated reasoning, racism and prejudice, mass political behaviour and the influence of the media).
Prior teaching experience at the University of Sheffield includes:
- POL115 Consensus Crisis & Coalition: An Introduction to British Politics
- POL231 Never Mind the Ballots! State & Society in the UK Today
- IPS 101 The State of Sheffield: Global perspectives on local issues
- SMI105 Data Visualisation
- SMI606 Introduction to Quantitative Social Science
- POL229 Research Design and Analysis
- Professional activities
Trustee, UK Political Studies Association, May 2020 - Present;
Departmental coordinator for the Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree programme, University of Sheffield, January 2020 – Present;
Editorial Board (Review Editor), Frontiers in Political Science, November 2019 – Present;
Co-Convenor, UK Political Studies Association Political Psychology Specialist Group, May 2017 - April 2020;
Co-Convenor, UK Political Studies Association Young People & Politics Specialist Group, Jul 2018 - April 2020;
Lead Fellow for Citizenship and Political Education, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democratic Participation, January 2017 – Present;
Chair, UK Political Studies Association Early Career Network, 2016 - 2018.
Prizes and awards
Walter Bagehot Prize 2019 for best PhD in the field of Government and Public Administration (UK Political Studies Association national award)
Chancellor's Medal 2018 (University of Sheffield) in recognition of 'outstanding contributions to the Faculty of Social Sciences' and 'impressive achievements in government and parliamentary circles.'
The Andrew Gamble prize 2018 for an Outstanding Doctoral Thesis in Politics (University of Sheffield).