Ali Amhaz, MSc Organisational and Social Psychology

BIO

I’m an entrepreneur and researcher from Lebanon with a focus on socioeconomic development projects in the Middle East. I’ve founded Beirut Art Salon, a social enterprise that provides talented emerging artists space to exhibit in Lebanese community spaces, and the Student Engagement Hub at the American University of Beirut, a centre with a mission of researching and empowering student organisations’ civic engagement efforts. My upcoming start-ups are in the research and virtual reality spaces, with a strong social psychology orientation. From these engagements, my talk at TEDxLSE explored the potential of popular motivational/self-help material to lead to self-alienation.

DISSERTATION

Why work? Social representations of work in the context of dialogicality at a Saudi Arabian Bedouin village under transition.

Supervisor: Ilka Gleibs

In Albaydha, a Bedouin village in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), locals experience socio-economic hardship that is being addressed by the national pilot for development housing: The Albaydha Project (AbP). Intervention includes upcoming recruitment, management and training of 80 community members for construction of community housing within a masterplan, and future provisioning of work and training opportunities by the Albaydha Development Company (DevCo). A social representations approach is taken to understand the perceptions on work and surrounding factors of locals and the AbP stakeholders. Locals and stakeholders are understood to be in a state of dialogicality, where knowledge encounters take on a legitimizing interaction. What are the representations of work expressed by Albaydha community members and those of the stakeholders of the AbP? How do they compare? A twofold thematic analysis is applied to the content of (a) a participatory research mission (RM) conducted through 25 interviews with locals about their financial and occupational conditions and preferences and (b) interviews with 7 senior stakeholders of the AbP about Albaydha, the project, personal representations of work, programmatic intentions, and alternative representations of work held by the community. Data were analysed according to group and then comparatively to examine compatibility and potential for hybridization, or the integration of social representations. Emphasis was placed on the question of “why work?”. Implications for dialogical relationship and future programmatic intentions and research are discussed, as well as broader reflection on the changing Bedouin in a modern economy.

© 2019 by The DisCo Initiative 

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