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The role of ideology, belief and commitment in motivations, justifications and catalysis for action in the face of uncertainty

Project: Research


This project is a Leadership Fellowship within the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme. It examines the role of ideologies, beliefs and commitments in decision making and action in the face of uncertainty. It makes interdisciplinary links between researchers, and draws on the expertise of academic and non-academic stakeholders.

Although sometimes overlooked or marginalised in scientific research, ideologies and beliefs often feature prominently in personal and group accounts of decision-making either as causal drivers or as explanations for the actions that follow, such as the role played by Islamist beliefs in radicalisation and terrorism, and the culture war fought out in US courts on evolution v. creationism. Even in cases where actions seem to be motivated by expediency, power or financial and territorial gain, they may underpin material interests, be offered as justifications or contribute to a broad canvas of different influences. Ethnic commitments and loyalties, for example, may partly explain participation in organised crime. Nationalist political beliefs may be part of a suite of causes behind gun-running, computer hacking or money laundering.

The project investigates how ideologies, beliefs and commitments are employed in decision-making and subsequent public actions, both violent and non-violent, in the face of risk and uncertainty. What role do they play in people's motivations and the justifications they give for the choices they make? In what ways can the role of ideologies, beliefs and commitments best be represented, conceptualised and modelled such that it is able to contribute to more rounded and reliable research on global uncertainties? What needs to be done to ensure that ensuing concepts, models and resources make a contribution to policy and practice on issues relating to global uncertainty, such as terrorism, cybersecurity, financial risk, and regional instability?
AcronymThe role of ideology, beliefs and commitment in motivations, ju
Effective start/end date1/02/1330/11/15


  • ESRC: £395,790.00



Research outputs