dr. W. (Wahideh) Achbari

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Challenges to Democratic Representation
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Room number: B9.12
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15578
    1001 NB  Amsterdam
  • w.achbari2@uva.nl


  •  PhD Politics & IR, University of Edinburgh
  • MSc by Research Politics, University of Edinburgh
  • BA and MSc Politics & IR, University of Amsterdam

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • (2013) ‘Back to the Future: Revisiting the Contact Hypothesis at Turkish and Mixed Non-Profit Organizations in Amsterdam’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-17. doi:10.1080/01419870.2013.826811.
  • (2007) With M. van den Bos ‘Cultural Migration: Networks of Iranian Organizations in The Netherlands’, Migration Letters, 4(2): 171-181.
  • (2004) ‘Modern Iran: een [a] paradox?’ Boekbespreking van [Review of] Ansari, Ali M. Modern Iran Since 1921, The Pahlavis and After’, Sharqiyyāt, 16(2): 127-129.

My research interests lie at the intersection of political psychology, political sociology and migration studies. My work seeks to understand the processes behind the creation of generalized trust, people’s intention to vote, and confidence in governments. I am particularly interested in the impact of ethnic diversity on these phenomena.

I currently work with Prof Benny Geys at the Free University Brussels on a project funded by the FWO (Flemish research council) to disentangle the causal mechanisms behind young people joining associations and evaluating strangers as trustworthy. In a series of experiments, we shed light on this sequence.


‘Paradoxes of Bridging and Bonding’: Explaining attitudes of generalized trust for participants of ethnically mixed and Turkish voluntary organizations in Amsterdam

Submitted January 2012

Examined by Prof Marc Hooghe (Political Science, KU Leuven) and Dr Michael Rosie (Sociology, Edinburgh), March 2012.

Supervisors: Prof Andrew Thompson (Politics & IR, Edinburgh) and Dr Pontus Odmalm (Politics & IR, Edinburgh)


My thesis assessed attitudes of generalized trust among participants of voluntary organizations in Amsterdam, some of which are ethnically diverse and some of which are exclusively Turkish. In doing so, I focused on the role of interethnic contact as a socialisation mechanism, while also examining alternative processes of self-selection and cognitive dissonance. The thesis addresses a persistent puzzle in social sciences, namely:

Why does ethnic diversity hamper generalized trust?

Findings suggest that despite much fear about ethnic concentration and parallel societies among academics, policy makers and the public, participants of Turkish associations are not negatively socialised into uncivic citizens. Participants of ethnically diverse organizations are rather self-selecting into high-trusting groups. What is more, individual-level processes such as avoiding cognitive dissonance are contributing towards the evaluation of unknown others. Since trusting unknown people is essentially a risky endeavour, this suggests that participants of both association types who report trusting strangers can afford to do so, because they are better educated, have a positive world-view, and have had fewer negative life experiences.


PhD: College of Humanities and Social Science Studentship; Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds; Fundatie Vrijvrouwe van Renswoude.

In Edinburgh, I convened and lectured on the following course:

Europe and International Migration (3rd year Bachelor).

While in Edinburgh, I also was a tutor (university teaching assistant) on the following courses:

Core Quantitative Data Analysis (Postgraduate); Democracy in Comparative Perspective (1st year Bachelor); and Social & Political Enquiry (2nd year Bachelor).

No known ancillary activities

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