CAREER: Social Closeness Helping and Neglect: Examining the Roots of Favoritism in Rural Bangladesh

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

CAREER: Social Closeness Helping and Neglect: Examining the Roots of Favoritism in Rural Bangladesh CAREER: Social Closeness, Helping and Neglect: Examining the Roots of Favoritism in Rural Bangladesh In the last ten years, an emerging body of research has begun to reveal how perceived social closeness fundamentally transforms peoples motivations and behaviors toward others, most notably in terms of helping, sharing and neglect. Based largely in industrialized countries, current findings leave open a number of key questions about how cultural context changes the relevance of social closeness for decision-making. For example, in religious traditions where aid is grounded in social duty, does perceived social closeness effect helping in the same way it does in majority cultures in U.S. and Europe? And to what degree does socioeconomic uncertainty increase the relevance of social closeness in decisions to help and share? With a population density topped only by city states and small islands, Bangladesh is a country of 160 million Muslims and Hindus living in close contact. Past observers have noted how this close proximity renders definitive social boundaries elusive, making the country a unique setting for studying how individuals define social closeness and carve out social boundaries. It also provides an opportunity to assess hypothesized religious influences among groups residing in otherwise very similar cultural circumstances. Using ethnographic methods to ground concepts of social closeness in local context and innovative experimental tools to measure social behavior, the study will ask three main questions: (1) How do people discriminate between socially close and non-close others in different religious and socioeconomic contexts? (2) How do religious and economic factors change the effect of social closeness on the willingness to help and to share? (3) What are the proximate psychological mechanisms by which social closeness influences helping and sharing? To answer these questions, the project will take a micro-comparative approach among four rural communities in Dinajpur, Bangladesh.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date5/1/124/30/18

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $514,368.00

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