Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
(Chair) Jonathan Montpetit, CBC Montréal; (Presenter) Yann Allard-Tremblay, McGill University; (Presenter) Antje Ellermann, University of British Columbia; (Presenter) Sheryl R. Lightfoot, University of British Columbia; (Presenter) Debra Thompson, McGill University; (Presenter) Daniel Beland, University of Saskatchewan; (Presenter) Kristin R.Good, Dalhouise University
On one hand, the question of whether Canadian democracy is under threat is, in comparative terms, largely settled. Canada is considered a full and robust democracy by any measure, with resilient democratic institutions, a pluralistic political culture, a vibrant civil society, and constitutionalized protections for minority rights. On the other hand, numerous social, political, and economic forces, both new and old, can have a potentially corrosive effect on even the most stable of democratic societies. In Canada, longstanding issues, such as evolving intergovernmental relations, increasingly contentious dynamics of federalism, the divisiveness of Quebec nationalism, stalled reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, persistent and growing wealth inequality, the urban/rural divide, gaping holes in the social safety net, the housing crisis in urban centers, the looming climate disaster, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, unresponsive democratic institutions, the civic literacy deficit, declining trust in the media, and the centralization of power in the office of the Prime Minster, remain unresolved. Moreover, recent social movements that seek to challenge the very meaning and motives of Canadian democratic rule, including Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, Land Defenders, and the so-called Freedom Convoy, have suggested that formal venues of political power are inaccessible for large portions of the population. Can Canadian democracy respond to the old, new, and recalcitrant forces of the 21st century? If so, how? If not, at what cost?
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) John Ishiyama, University of North Texas
- (Presenter) Kathryn E. Stoner, Stanford University
- (Presenter) John J. Mearsheimer, University of Chicago
- (Presenter) Gwendolyn Sasse, Humboldt University Berlin
- (Presenter) Dominique Arel, University of Ottawa
- (Presenter) Oxana Shevel, Tufts University
- (Presenter) Olena Nikolayenko, Fordham University
The invasion by Russia of Ukraine violates international sovereignty as understood since the end of World War II, and the behavior of Russian soldiers raises issues of war crimes. This panel examines a series of seminal questions surrounding these events. What are the causes behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine? What is the impact of the war on Ukrainian society? Did NATO, EU, and the United States respond effectively and timely? How does Ukrainian society, especially women, resist Russia’s aggression? What are the consequences of the attack and sanctions on Russia? Has digital information and media changed the effects of war on the international system? Finally, what does this tragedy mean for the legal basis of the post-World War II system?
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania
- (Presenter) Laura K. Field, American University
- (Presenter) Ronnee Schreiber, San Diego State University
- (Presenter) Jon A. Shields
- (Presenter) James R. Stoner, Louisiana State University
- (Presenter) Matthew Woessner, United States Army War College
This panel discusses the role of political conservatives in academia and in political science in the current era of severe polarization and controversies over academic freedom. It will take an honest look at the current state of conservative intellectual life in America, while also considering how and when understanding conservative perspectives, and inclusion of conservative scholarly voices, can enhance scholarship, teaching, and academic debates in our discipline.
Co-sponsored by Division 20: Foreign Policy
Created Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Tobias Hofmann, Free University of Berlin
- (Discussant) Christopher Marsh, US Special Operations Command
These authors tackle head-on issues important to the themes of this year’s conference. The panel demands that we rethink, restructure, and reconnect important elements of study going forward. Subjects include American exceptionalism, Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping, the definitions and effects of military intervention, and the role of racism in the study of international relations. Hilde Eliassen Restad asks if American exceptionalism can be salvaged for future use as an analytical concept and a research agenda. Or, is its meaning so broad and so malleable as to render its analytical purchase meaningless? Restad argues that re-thinking this often used and highly abused concept can be rehabilitated by separating its subjective and objective definition (narrative vs. measurable claim), as well as clarifying its range of possible implications for U.S. foreign policy in various historical eras. Restad attempts to separate a constructive versus a degenerative research agenda on 1) American exceptionalism as a concept and 2) its connection to U.S. foreign policy. Restad does this by offering a series of advice grounded in my own experience as a non-American who researches, and reviews articles on, American exceptionalism. Shale Horowitz and Kathryn Shapiro take different approaches to the study of today’s great powers. Horowitz starts with the fundamental changes that Xi Jinping has made to China’s foreign policy, which he says have potentially revolutionary implications for international security. Drawing on ideological statements and other evidence, the author identifies Xi’s foreign policy preferences and concludes that a broader approach to predicting preferences has greater explanatory power than those derived from general theories of international relations. Shapiro expands our understanding of U.S. military occupation by framing withdrawal and the occupation’s legacies as part of the conflict rather than the end of the conflict. Cases include the U.S. occupation of Haiti, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. Reframing identifies what was left behind that continues to impact the target of occupation. This research provides a welcome expansion of the understanding of military intervention and occupation to focus on the subjects of the intervention. Naunihal Singh grapples with the question of how much it matters if the concepts and approaches used by practitioners of international relations grow from racist and colonial roots, and if much of international relations is Eurocentric in focusing on a limited and biased sample of world events reflecting a flawed understanding of the cases it centers. The author structures the paper around four concepts: (a) the state / failed states (b) anarchy (c) ungoverned spaces (d) international order. It describes the critique of these concepts and suggests ways that the practice of international diplomacy and security might be changed as a result.
American Exceptionalism: A Call for a Constructive Research Agenda
Hilde Eliassen Restad, Oslo New University College
In public discourse as well as academic research, the phrase “American exceptionalism” has many definitions and often very different implications for U.S. foreign policy. For some researchers, it is a scientific claim of objective fact (one can ‘measure’ exceptionalism across a range of criteria). For others, it is a narrative influencing public perceptions and discourse. For Americans in general, it is often an unquestioned assumption. This paper asks: Can American exceptionalism can be salvaged as an analytical concept and a research agenda? Or is its meaning so broad and so malleable as to render its analytical purchase meaningless? I argue that separating its subjective and objective definition (narrative vs. measurable claim), as well as clarifying its range of possible implications for U.S. foreign policy in various historical eras, can go a long way toward salvaging this often used and highly abused concept. In doing so, an attempt is made to separate between a constructive versus degenerative research agenda on 1) American exceptionalism as a concept and 2) its connection to U.S. foreign policy. I do this by offering a series of advice grounded in my own experience as a non-American who researches, and reviews articles on, American exceptionalism.
China’s “New Era” in Foreign Policy: Explaining Change under Xi Jinping
Shale Horowitz, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Jingnan Liu, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
China’s supreme leader, Xi Jinping, has made fundamental changes to China’s foreign policy, with potentially revolutionary implications for international security. What are the sources of Xi’s foreign policy changes? What policy implications follow from an understanding of such sources? Rather than assume that particular theoretical schools of international relations may provide the best explanations of foreign policy, we begin with the observation that particular leaders have distinct foreign policy preferences that vary significantly. We predict characteristics of Xi’s preferences based on his ideological statements, along with evidence from his domestic policies and habitually preferred methods of domestic rule. We find that these predicted characteristics closely match the revealed pattern of foreign policy change, but also point out that foreign policy outcomes provide additional evidence about preferences that cannot be derived from ideological statements and domestic policy evidence. We conclude by discussing policy implications; and then summarize how our broader approach to predicting preferences has greater explanatory power than those derived from general theories of international relations.
So What If IR Theory Is Racist? How Should Foreign Diplomacy & Security Change?
Naunihal Singh, U.S. Naval War College
A variety of scholarship has demonstrated ways in which the history of the study of international relations has been shaped by colonial and racist ideas. For example, many of the key figures (for example, Kant and Woodrow Wilson) were racist, and critics allege that concepts central to international relations reflect their problematic origin. There is also the criticism that much of international relations is Eurocentric — that is it is based on a limited and biased sample of world events — and that it reflects a flawed understanding of even the cases it centers. This paper grapples with the “so what” question. If we accept these (and other similar) criticisms as valid, what next? In particular, how do these criticisms impact the concepts and approaches used by IR practitioners in applied settings, many of whom work for governments around the world? The paper is structured around four concepts: (a) the state / failed states (b) anarchy (c) ungoverned spaces (d) international order. It describes the critique of these concepts and suggests ways that the practice of international diplomacy and security might be changed as a result.
When Great Powers Withdraw: The Politics of Leaving
Kathryn Shapiro, Rutgers University
I am interested in studying occupational military withdrawal and the legacies of occupation from the United States. More specifically, I am interested in framing withdrawal as a transitionary event in a conflict, instead of a stopping-point that signals the end of a conflict. I want to know how Super-Powers (in the case of my paper, the United States) continue their influence in regions they previously occupied. I am looking for what was “left behind” by the United States that continues to impact the once-occupied country. My case studies will include the US occupation of Haiti, the US occupation of the Philippines, the US occupation of Vietnam, and (most recently), the US Occupation of Afghanistan. Reframing occupational withdrawal and broadening the traditional understanding of conflict is important as it helps scholars better understand the nuances of occupation as well as the events that transpire after the occupying military has left. While much has been written on the state building process and colonial legacies, there is a shortage of literature on understanding the contexts of withdrawal and how great powers navigate withdrawal for policy aims. I anticipate I will be able to place transitionary withdrawal (particularly from “great powers”) within broader theories of constructivism from international relations. In particular, I am interested in analyzing withdrawal in the context of state narratives about conflict, and want to see how occupational withdrawal fits within these narratives.
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Tony Affigne, Providence College
- (Presenter) Paula D. McClain, Duke University
- (Presenter) Dianne M. Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame
- (Presenter) Janelle Wong, University of Maryland
- (Presenter) Gabriel Sanchez, University of New Mexico
- (Presenter) Lisa Garcia Bedolla, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) Michael A. Brintnall, Montgomery College; (Presenter) Andy L. Aoki, Augsburg University
In 2011, the APSA presidential task force on “Political Science in the 21st Century” (Dianne Pinderhughes, Convener) asked whether our discipline could effectively address the “changing demographics, increasing multicultural diversity, and ever-growing disparities in the concentration of wealth present in many nation states,” and whether the research, teaching, and professional development norms of the profession were adequate to this task.
Ten years later, APSA’s 2021 task force on “Systematic Inequalities in the Discipline” (Paula McClain, Convener) took a closer look at those norms and practices, asking whether the profession itself might be afflicted by systemic inequality shaping “the career trajectories and experiences…of scholars pushed to the margins of the discipline”—especially racial and ethnic minority scholars, women of all races and ethnicities, and LGBTQ+ scholars. In other words, is the profession systematically under-valuing many of the very scholars who are best positioned to extend the discipline’s relevance, in the face of the world’s ongoing social, cultural, and political transformations?
Informed by the work of these task forces, this roundtable entitled “A Profession in Flux: Political Science Responds to a Changing World” features experienced scholars, including members from both task forces, to explore the institutional sociology—past, present, and future—of the political science profession. The roundtable will address how the discipline has been transformed (or not), in response to the rapidly evolving academic and professional environments, demographics, and methodological profiles of our scholarly community, and what more must be done.
- (Chair) Danielle P. Clealand, University of Texas at Austin
- (Presenter) Debra Thompson, McGill University
- (Presenter) Marcus Johnson, UMD College Park
- (Presenter) Niambi M. Carter, Howard University
- (Presenter) Yanilda Maria Gonzalez, Harvard University
- (Presenter) Tari Ajadi, Queen’s University
The Black Lives Matter protests for Black humanity against police brutality were part of a global movement in 2020. South of the United States, for example, Black people also asserted, Las Vidas Negras Importan. Protests throughout the world were not solely in solidarity with the movement in the United States but were primarily reactions to Black lives lost in each country at the hands of police. Much like protests in the United States, these protests may have been inspired by one or more specific tragedies but were rooted in generational anger and grief from a history of violence against Black communities. In response to similar histories, protests occurred in Indonesia, Canada, France, South Africa, England, and beyond to support racially marginalized populations who are targeted by the police at comparatively higher rates than dominant racial groups. Moreover, Black activists are engaged in protesting encroaching fascism, democratic deficits, rising racial inequality and the role of capitalism in exacerbating those inequalities. Examining Black politics through a global lens reveals the similarities in experience and racial positioning that come with the entrenched racial hierarchies that exist throughout the African Diaspora, disadvantaging Black folks. Globally, Black activists communicated about and protested systemic racism long before Black Lives Matter became a movement. Scholarship on racial identification, racial inequality, voting behavior, racial ideology, and racial representation in the region responds to these realities and allows us to compare Black politics hemispherically in critical and meaningful ways. This roundtable will gather political scientists engaged in racial politics globally who call for 1) a prioritization of this scholarship in comparative politics and 2) increased collaboration across political science fields to study racism from a global perspective.
Co-sponsored by Civic Studies (Formerly Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society)
Full Paper Panel
(Chair) Jane Mansbridge, Harvard Kennedy School
Democratic theory has long envisioned the need for a society of well-informed citizens who make thoughtful decisions about the policies and candidates they support. Is this just a utopian ideal, hardly to be taken seriously, given what we know about actual voters and their behavior? If the aspiration is utopian, can viable democratic processes make do with the citizens we actually have? One approach is to harness new technologies to stimulate the scaling of mass deliberation via structured discussion or via non-interactive voting aids. Another approach is to use deliberative microcosms of the public to make recommendations to policy makers as well as to the broader public. However, some scholars question this approach as an unacceptable “second best.” The papers by Fishkin et al and by Gastil explore new technologies to scale deliberation. The paper by Hansen presents a unique institutionalization of deliberative mini-publics in Denmark to advise the Parliament on actual policy making. The paper by Lafont attacks the whole idea of a deliberative mini-public as an unacceptable second best.
Piloting Automated Deliberation at Scale: America in One Room-Climate
James S. Fishkin, Stanford University; Joshua Yoshio Lerner, NORC at the University of Chicago; Valentin Bolotnyy, Hoover Institution; Alice Siu, Stanford University; Larry Diamond, Stanford University; Norman Bradburn, University of Chicago
This paper examines a national experiment in deliberation employing an automated moderator that, in principle, could be used with any number of small groups. America in One Room: Climate and Energy was both a national Deliberative Poll and a pilot for mass scaling. It engaged nearly 1,000 deliberators and a separate control group. As a national controlled experiment, with collection of both quantitative and qualitative data (via transcripts of 104 small groups for the weekend) it provides evidence for the quality of the deliberation, the impact of different group compositions (participants were randomly assigned to small groups), and the impact on opinion, on depolarization and on various civic variables compared to the pre-post control group. The paper also discusses the vision of what public opinion would be like on highly contested and polarizing issues if the automated technology could be effectively spread to create a more deliberative mass society.
Can Voters Trust Each Other? An Online Model for Issue Deliberation
John Gastil, Pennsylvania State University
The evidence from the 2010-2018 Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) shows the efficacy of a deliberative mini-public serving as a trusted information source for an electorate that must vote on initiatives and referenda. This paper builds on that model by envisioning a decentralized online process that replicates the function of the CIR without the logistics and expense of convening the mini-public itself. This model draws on experiments in digital deliberation, such as the Living Voters Guide and DecideMadrid, and earlier research on Group Decision Support Systems and non-interactive processes, such as Nominal Group Technique. The result is a scalable online process for generating the same core information found in a CIR statement — key findings about the issue and the best pro and con arguments–without convening a small deliberative body. The model will also address the challenges of doing this without a mini-public, such as ensuring trustworthy and high-quality information and motivating voters to access and consider the information before completing their ballots.
Can Democracies Afford Citizens’ Political Ignorance? Defending against Shortcuts
Cristina Lafont, Northwestern University
The increasing spread of fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories points towards an urgent need to improve the quality of public information and deliberation. Indeed, if the current deterioration continues, it is hard to see how democracy can survive. However, within academic debates on democracy, there are influential approaches that argue against this view. They propose institutional “shortcuts” that promise ‘better’ political outcomes without any need to improve the processes of opinion and will formation in which citizens participate. In this paper, I defend the need to improve the quality of public deliberation in democratic societies against two influential lines of argument. Elite democrats claim that citizens’ political ignorance is rational and that, to improve political outcomes, citizens should be encouraged to blindly defer to the political decisions of experts. Similarly, lottocratic conceptions of democracy claim that public deliberation is of such poor quality that, in order to reach better outcomes, citizens should simply trust the participants in deliberative mini-publics to do the relevant thinking and deciding for them. I argue that these proposals are “wishful thinking” that only serve to distract us from the need to combat current threats to the formation of an informed public opinion and political will. Democracies will only have a chance to survive and thrive if democratic theorists and practitioners abandon the search for easy “shortcuts” and work towards proposals for improving citizens’ access to quality information and deliberation.
Institutionalizing of National Deliberative Polls
Kasper M. Hansen, University of Copenhagen
Denmark is one of the few countries in the world that has institutionalized Deliberative Polls (DP) under its parliament. Since the first national DP in 2000 a total of six national DPs on EU-related issues have been completed as well as a few others on different issues. The last five DPs on EU-related are fully funded and carried out directly under the Danish Parliament. There are three main reasons for the successful institutionalization of DPs in Denmark. First, DPs combine the ideals of deliberation and representation, which been part of a classic democratic debate in Denmark over the last 80 years. DPs bridge this democratic debate. Secondly, many elected and appointed officials have long argued for a more nuanced discussion on Denmark’s position within the European Union (EU), which often have been simplified to a yes/no with Denmark’s many national referendums on the EU. The DPs gave access to the people’s voice based on more complete, balanced information, and deliberation on the EU-issues. Third and finally, the Danish dominant public service media have been a central player in many of the DPs, providing clear incentives for stakeholders to take an active part in the DPs as they were broadcasted widely and nationally.
Co-sponsored by Division 60: International Relations Theory
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Lou Pingeot, Université de Montréal
- (Discussant) Lou Pingeot, Université de Montréal
International Relations (IR) as a discipline has largely obscured the field’s racial and colonial origins, which have only recently been excavated and brought to the forefront (Odoom and Andrews 2017; Capan 2017; Zondi 2018; Gruffydd Jones 2006; Shilliam 2021; Vitalis 2015). As Stanley Hoffmann argued, IR was born as an “American Social Science”, and the discipline’s ethnocentricity has been criticized from various localities (Hoffmann 1977; Weaver 1998; Agathangelou and Ling 2009; Shilliam 2010; Tickner & Blaney 2013). In the last couple of decades, IR scholars have started to develop self-awareness of systemic racism and coloniality not only in the transmission of knowledge, but also in the very fabric of our theoretical and empirical approaches to international relations (Odoom and Andrews 2017; Capan 2017; Zondi 2018; Acharya 2021). This theoretical move has been accompanied by social movements such as #RhodesMustFall, #BlackInTheIvory, as well as major protests in western universities. This panel addresses coloniality of power and knowledge, colonization of the mind, and the enduring legacy of colonialism both in International Relations as a field and in contemporary international relations. The papers discuss what decolonizing IR might look like from diverse angles, looking both at how we do IR and how we teach IR. They focus on historicizing colonialism and decolonial struggles, decentering the Western experience, and challenging the disciplinary boundaries that limit what counts as an “IR issue.”
Decentering the Western Gaze of IR: Evidence from Undergraduate Training
Maïka Sondarjee, Université d’Ottawa
Amidst the debates on the colonial legacies of IR, only scarce studies have studied the western IR classroom. And whereas the literature on the sociology of IR has studied textbooks and graduate training, they only seldom studied undergraduate courses. This paper addresses basic undergraduate training and maps the ethnocentric and colonial biases in western IR. It does so by analyzing 50 Introduction to IR syllabi in the United States and Canada, as well as published articles from leading journals in the discipline from 2017 to 2020. By centering voices and epistemologies from African, South Asian, Latin American and indigenous scholarships, this article studies how pedagogical practices can perpetuate a western gaze. It demonstrates that the discipline is taught, published, and conceived as an enterprise centered on western experience, epistemes, history, and agency.
Same Old, Same Old? What IR Course Syllabi Tell Us about Disciplinary Diversity
Nathan Andrews, University of Alberta
Discussions about diversifying the discipline of International Relations (IR) are often met with limited evidence in practice. Employing the concepts of epistemic oppression and academic dependency, this paper contributes to filling the existing knowledge gap by examining what the pedagogical practices of IR professors particularly in terms of syllabi design and content tell us about the state of disciplinary diversity. The paper examines results from a preliminary study that sought to analyze different graduate-level IR syllabi from leading universities in the Global North (represented by U.S. and U.K.) and Global South (Africa in particular) in order to determine how their design, including required readings and other pedagogical choices in the classroom, contributes to the explicit diversity needed to push IR beyond its usual canon. The findings suggest that although more perspectives have become accepted or recognized, what is considered essential for graduate students to study and further propagate is still primarily mainstream. Another point is that what has become known as ‘critical IR’ cannot automatically be equated with diversity. This means there is the need to further interrogate and critique what can be characterized as a ‘critical canon’ of IR. The evidence presented in this paper has important ramifications for the broader discipline of Political Science in North America and elsewhere and should lead us to question the various historical trajectories and ongoing practices associated with the discipline.
Valuating Sovereigns: The Developing State in the Colonial Global Economy
Alice Chessé, McGill University
This paper analyzes how the disciplinary and analytical boundaries between critical security studies and global political economy have constrained the study of the coloniality of contemporary global governance (Agathangelou 2017; Quijano 2000). Eurocentric practices of knowledge production around the conceptualization of the sovereign state (Behera 2021) have reinforced an artificial dichotomy between states and markets. In turn, this dichotomy has limited our understanding of how post-World War II decolonization possibly maintained the unequal structures of the colonial global economy (Bhambra 2021) through the negotiation of the multilateral project of development (Escobar 1995; Doty 1996). With decolonial feminists (Lugones 2011), I study the postcolonial state as both a gendered (Parashar, Tickner, True, Peterson 2018) and colonial institution that reproduces the “white man’s burden” in the civilizing mission carried on by global institutions (Nandy 2003). In this paper, I analyze practices of classification and valuation of national economies by multilateral institutions as contemporary enactments of practices of colonial management of difference constitutive of a global colonial modernity (Mignolo 2011). I conduct an institutional history of the country category of “developing country” which traces its origins in a radical anticolonial project of global redistributive and reparatory justice in the Interwar and its dilution during decolonial struggles at the United Nations in the 1960s and 1970s. The postcolonial institutionalization of the category constituted the developing state as a gendered state, feminized under a masculinist ideology of protection and infantilization. By representing it as a failed sovereign, it justified violent multilateral interventions. I conclude that epistemic practices of classification and valuation of national economies by global institutions have been historical corollaries to cartographic practices of boundary-drawing constitutive of an unequal postcolonial global order.
Decolonizing International Criminal Justice: An African Postcolonial Perspective
Mohamed Sesay, York University
Since the early 1990s, international criminal justice—accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other grave crimes—has emerged as an essential element of the post-Cold War rule-based world order (Ba 2017, 2020). But by treating the ‘goodness’ of international criminal justice as given, scholars in international relations and law have devoted scant attention to the particular ideological and political character that the norm takes and its ability to discriminate among those subjected to its accountability standards (Epstein 2017). Specifically, we know very little as to why international criminal justice has enthusiastically focused on nearly all major conflict and post-conflict situations in Africa while steering clear of this approach elsewhere in the world (Okafor and Ngwaba 2014). Why do we have one international criminal justice standard for African despots and war criminals and another standard for powerful leaders elsewhere who may have committed similar atrocity crimes? This paper attempts to tackle these questions from a post/decolonial perspective to argue that the norm is constituted and sustained by specific forms of power-knowledge relations that privilege the powerful. International criminal justice as presently constituted reproduces and sustains the coloniality of power and knowledge upon which the global normative order is based. In showing how the assertion of universal human rights masks underlying politics of domination, this paper also attempts to lay the premise for decolonizing international criminal justice as essential for its legitimacy in Africa and globally.
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Monica C. Schneider, Miami University
- (Discussant) Afsoun Afsahi, University of British Columbia
Writing in 1985, Harlan Hahn observed that political scientists had “failed to devote significant attention to disability,” this despite its prevalence and significance to questions of domestic policy (Hahn 1985, 87). Remarking on the potential transformative impact of disability studies on the discipline, Hahn invited his colleagues to explore the intersection of these two fields in greater depth. And yet, over 37 years later, disability remains a largely neglected topic of disciplinary inquiry. Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of disability both as an object of study and a lens through which to address questions of representation, equity and inclusion, public health access, and state obligation (among others) is evident. Indeed, the prevalence of long-term sequelae among COVID-19 survivors suggests significant social and economic implications, the scale of which we are only beginning to comprehend.
Taking up these issues, this panel “center[s] disability within politics” (to borrow a phrase from Jennifer Erkulwater). Together, the papers consider the role of political science scholarship on disability, making the case for its importance as we emerge from (and, indeed, continue to endure) the pandemic. Where Evans and Reher evaluate and build upon existing theories of political representation (which have mostly overlooked disability), Erkulwater looks to disability studies and identity politics to consider how “disability structures…contests over political identity and distributive categories in public policy.” Taking up the question of genetic engineering, Knight considers debates over the future and their significance for the political present. Finally, Heffernan turns to disability activism that arose in the wake of efforts to repeal Obamacare, tracing a shift in the kinds of rhetoric used by organizers in their efforts to secure disability rights.
The Puzzling Place of Disability in Political Science
Jennifer Leonor Erkulwater, University of Richmond
Disability studies emerged in the 1980s as part of a cluster of politicized identity-based interdisciplinary fields of study in race, ethnicity, and gender that theorized and sought to actualize greater inclusion in academia. Political science, however, has been slow to incorporate critical studies of identity. As recently as 2004, Rogers Smith, past APSA president, pondered “the puzzling place of race in political science.” And while the discipline has experienced a flourishing of new scholarship on race and ethnic politics, aside for some work in the subfields on political theory and political behavior, the same energy cannot be found in the discipline’s critical or empirical approaches to disability. At a moment when the COVID-19 pandemic has raised public awareness of issues related to disability, in sectors as varied as health care access, remote workplaces, and the vulnerabilities of the immunocompromised, political science, as a discipline, has had little to say. This paper seeks to fill this lacuna in political science. By placing in conversation the substantial but disconnected work that exists in the fields of disability studies and identity politics, I develop a framework for considering how disability structures politics, in particular contests over political identity and distributive categories in public policy. The paper begins with an overview of the place of disability in the political science literature with an eye toward highlighting key areas in which critical study of disability has been neglected. Using two examples from public policy, I illustrate the ways in which insights from disability studies can appropriately center disability within politics and deepen our understanding of politics.
Genetic Engineering, Disability, and the “Right to an Open Future”
Amber Knight, University of North Carolina – Charlotte
Philosophers have been speculating about the future genetic engineering will bring about for decades. Disability studies scholars have taken a turn toward notions of futurity as well. This article enters current debates over the future and the place of disability within it. Specifically, I rethink a core concept in political theory— the child’s “right to an open future”— to showcase why debates over the future matter for the political present. Ultimately, I argue that the right to an open future is best understood as the right to an accessible future, one that is “open” to people with diverse genetic traits and capacities.
Bodies in Resistance: Disability and the Rhetoric of Rights
Ann Kathleen Heffernan, University of Michigan
On June 22, 2017, 82 disabled activists with the group ADAPT staged a die-in outside then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to protest the most recent draft of the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Proposing dramatic cuts to Medicaid, the bill would also repeal the individual and employer mandates, reduce access to birth control, and limit protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Chanting “No cuts to Medicaid—save our liberty!” protesters were pictured being dragged from their wheelchairs and bodily carried from the building by Capitol Police. In all, 43 arrests were made, with many news outlets and commentators expressing alarm at the violence of the arrests. This paper returns to this moment to consider the tactics employed by the protestors, specifically the participants’ strategic enactment of bodily vulnerability and disability. Employing what Kevin DeLuca refers to as a “body rhetoric,” by which bodies—in this case disabled bodies—become “the site and substance” of political argument, I show how ADAPT protesters knowingly played on public perceptions of disabled people as the proper objects of compassion and care. Where prior analysis of disability rights has tended to view the extension of rights as an evolution away from charity, this paper reveals its persistence in arguments for disability rights and considers its implications for disability activism in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disability and Political Representation: Some Conceptual Questions
Stefanie Reher, University of Strathclyde; Elizabeth J. Evans, Goldsmiths, University of London
Political representation is an important multi-faceted concept through which the equality of traditionally marginalised social groups has been examined; to date this has principally been explored in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class, with relatively little attention paid to disability. This paper seeks to build on existing work related to disability and political equality by reconsidering existing theories, and by raising a set of questions or problematics which reveal themselves when the concept of representation is read through the lens of disability. We are particularly interested in how disability can help inform how we understand political representation, what we expect our representatives to do, and who we expect our representatives to be. Drawing upon feminist and critical race theoretical work on representation, we are especially keen to explore three areas: 1) the role that rationalism plays in defining representation; 2) the distinction between who the representative is from what the representative does; and 3) the role that presence plays in our understanding of what representation looks like. Although we realise that these three areas do not tell the whole story of disability and representation, they do raise a set of particular and instructive questions regarding physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments. The paper starts from the premise that increasing the number of disabled politicians matters, and that the lived experiences of disabled people can benefit the representation of disabled people. Of course, we are keen to avoid essentialist analysis, i.e., that disabled politicians will always be better representatives for disabled people because they are disabled, but at the same time we stress the importance of lived experience amongst elected representatives as a means of explaining, understanding, and representing, particularly as it relates to disability.
Co-sponsored by Division 13: Politics of Communist and Former Communist Countries
- (Chair) Daniela Stockmann, Hertie School
- (Discussant) Rongbin Han, University of Georgia
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected public perceptions of regime legitimacy? How have state actors reacted to the public health crisis, and how have they framed pandemic response in ways that could bolster regime support? The papers on this panel speak to the theme of “post-pandemic political science” by examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on political legitimacy in China as viewed from both the top-down and bottom-up. First, Chan examines variation in the effectiveness of top-down crisis response in China through a comparison of natural disasters (the 2008 Sichuan earthquake) and public health crises (SARS and COVID-19). Next, Huang examines the effects of state propaganda on public opinion in times of crisis, using a survey experiment of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in China in March 2020. Chen also examines how the CCP has responded to its post-pandemic legitimacy challenges using data from Communist Youth League propaganda and online forums. Finally, Carothers and Freedman expand beyond domestic response to show how the CCP has used the United States’ failures at home and abroad, including the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, to bolster its own legitimacy. In addition to a coherent focus on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on legitimacy in China, this panel brings together scholars that reflect the diversity of the field in terms of their institutional affiliation, rank, gender, and background.
Authoritarian Crisis Response in China
Alexsia Tiffanie Chan, Hamilton College
Why do authoritarian regimes sometimes respond more effectively immediately after a crisis than in the aftermath? After shoddily built schools collapsed during the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, why did local authorities cite earthquake safety as a reason to shut down migrant schools far from high seismic risk regions? This paper differentiates the state’s immediate reaction from longer-term policy responses and compares China’s responses to two types of crises: natural disasters (e.g., the Wenchuan earthquake) and public health crises (e.g., the SARS epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic). State capacity and centralization of power may generate an effective initial top-down response because the central government can quickly mobilize resources at the outset of a crisis. It argues, however, that effectiveness in helping those most directly affected varies depending on competing political priorities at the local level and broader systemic features of public service provision. Data are drawn from previous interviews with frontline service providers in healthcare and education and government officials, policy documents, newspaper articles, and other documentary sources.
The Enhanced Legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
Rou-lan Chen, National Sun Yat-sen University
The COVID-19 pandemic foresees two major emerging challenges to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): governance capacity and economic downturn. During this initial period, it posed suspicion of communist efforts to effectively enhance case ascertainment and the pandemic control. Furthermore, coronavirus intensifies China’s recessionary pressures as the global trend of de-Sinicization rises. However, the CCP has instead tightened its grip on power amid coronavirus outbreaks. This project aims at investigating in which way the Beijing authorities diverted public sentiments against the CCP. This study will conduct the content analysis on the propaganda of the Communist Youth League circulated on the China Youth Network to examine how authoritarian populism has gone hand in hand with an increase of the trust in Chinese government. Furthermore, this project will use text mining to explore the Baidu Tieba forum and see how the CCP manipulated xenophobic nationalism to consolidate the party rule.
America the Failure: Examining a Rising Narrative in Chinese State Propaganda
Christopher Carothers, University of Pennsylvania; Joshua Brent Freedman, Harvard University
Authoritarian regimes often use anti-American propaganda to rally public support for their rule. In recent years, anti-American propaganda has become increasingly frequent and strident in Chinese state media, but existing studies have not systematically analyzed how this propaganda portrays the United States and what that might reveal about how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to legitimate itself. Through an analysis of more than 1500 People’s Daily editorials that deal with the United States, we find that alongside propaganda narratives common in many authoritarian regimes, such as that America is a bad actor internationally and a danger to other countries or that America has bad values and is hypocritical about promoting its values, the CCP has also increasingly promoted a new or newly relevant narrative: America is weak and incapable of managing problems at home and abroad. This narrative, which is most prominent in official discourse on America’s handling of COVID-19, bolsters the regime’s legitimacy by making China look strong and effective by comparison. Our findings extend scholarship arguing that the CCP relies on “performance legitimacy” by showing that its propaganda also aims to build relative performance legitimacy—public support based on relative rather than objective accomplishments.
Blame Attribution in Authoritarian Regime: A Survey Experiment in China
When government fails, who do citizens blame? This is an important question in authoritarian countries with a centralized system, where the central government is responsible for almost all major decisions. Nonetheless, during public crises, local governments in many authoritarian countries seem to bear the brunt of public criticism. We argue that media play an important role in shaping public opinion through different framings, which are utilized by the central government to scapegoat local governments. To test our hypothesis, we designed a survey experiment, in which respondents were asked to evaluate both central and local government performance in the wake of a natural disaster. We manipulated the information provided to respondents, with some receiving messages blaming central government for any failure while others receiving media cues blaming the local government. We found that respondents in the former group are less satisfied with the central government while those in the latter group reported more positive evaluation of the central government. This framing effect is moderated by respondents’ level of education and pre-exposure to media. Our findings not only have implications for the study of heuristics and media framing under authoritarian context, but also shed light on why the central government in China have consistently y maintained a high level of trust among the Chinese public.
Co-sponsored by Division 52: Migration & Citizenship
Created Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos, University of Toronto
- (Discussant) Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos, University of Toronto
This panel sheds light on how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has generated new mechanisms and critical junctures in the governance of migration. Friederike Alm explores the impact of the global pandemic on migration politics – i.e., whether countries opened or closed their borders and access to resources to new migrants – using a comparative-historical analysis (CHA) of three democracies, Canada, France, and Germany. Gallya Lahav and Anthony M. Messina explore how COVID-19 has led to a similar creation of conditions as September 11, 2001, where nation-states create “special legal regimes” that are exclusionary and targeting of Muslim and Asian populations. Turning from a focus on government’s migration policy to government’s use of framing, Jan Kovar explores the framing of immigration in the Czech and Slovak parliaments between 2013 and 2021 to shed light on how party actors frame immigration in Central Europe, with a focus on framing around the refugee crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Taken together, the papers in this panel showcase how the pandemic has opened a new space for migration politics to vary across countries or for critical junctures to emerge within countries’ approaches to policy and framing.
COVID as a New Critical Juncture: The Pandemic Impact on Migration Politics
Friederike Alm, Goethe University, Institute of Political Science
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has generated a global dialectic of migration politics. While the virus knows no borders, governments’ immediate reaction has been to close theirs to contain the spread. In this paper I present insights on the impact of the global pandemic on migration politics based on a comparative-historical analysis (CHA) of three democracies, Canada, France, and Germany. Throughout the past two years, pandemic politics have had a significant effect on migration politics in the three democracies studied in this project, including an overall drop in immigration numbers, double standards in health measures for seasonal workers and the disruption of effective settlement policies for new immigrants. While this on-going research project encompasses a longer period, starting in 1945, in this paper I will focus on the way the global pandemic has acted as a new critical juncture for each country’s trajectory of migration politics. I am focusing on the connection between each country’s historical trajectory and their reaction to migration politics in the pandemic context. To investigate this question, I am drawing on a vast corpus of qualitative in-depth expert interviews which I have conducted with public servants, academics, and practitioners in migration politics across each country case (approx. 50, 15-18 per case). Each expert interview is between one and three hours in length and they contain information on all the countries’ historical trajectories in migration politics, including a question item on the impact of the global pandemic. Public perception seems to be that these three democracies reacted similarly to the pandemic, with variations coming from the measures deployed to curb further spread. However, my results indicate each countries’ pandemic impact on migration politics differed. In parts, these reactions were in line with their historical trajectory; sometimes they went against the progressive developments of more recent years. For example, reacting to the dramatic drop in immigration numbers, Canada ramped up its immigration target to an unprecedented number and introduced measures to regularize temporary migrants into permanent migrants. This effort is clearly in line with Canada’s immigration-as-nation-building approach, as well as Canada’s historical reliance on immigration for economic stability. In recent years, Germany’s immigration rules have become more liberal, welcoming more and more high-wage migrants into the labour market, slowly but surely converging with the Canadian model. However, Germany’s historically grown, muddled dispersion of integration measures across states, communes and municipalities meant that settlement politics were severely disrupted, leaving new arrivals neglected and without the necessary support in an already strained labour market. This development is surprising considering Germany’s increasing reliance on immigrants, but it is in line with Germany’s historical neglect of immigrants’ accommodation and needs. The data collection for the French case is currently on-going (disrupted by the pandemic), which is why insights for the French case will be included in the paper submission this summer. Considering that France is Europe’s oldest immigration country that has historically grappled with effectively managing migration, the insights gained in my research will be insightful. Critical junctures are times of societal crises which can shake up and rearrange political and institutional settings. In CHA research, critical junctures are decisive periods for research, in which historical change is manifested. With the pandemic being a recent and on-going event, it is difficult to make predictions on its long-term political and historical impacts. However, the emerging themes presented from my research lead me to argue that the pandemic will constitute a new critical juncture in migration politics for all three country cases. My analysis therefore contributes to a deeper understanding of diverging political developments in similar countries in times of pandemic crisis. It is too early to say whether the pandemic will alter each country’s historical trajectory regarding migration politics entirely, but its impact on migration politics will, without a doubt, be significant.
Framing Immigration in Central Europe during the Refugee and COVID-19 Crises
Jan Kovar, Institute of International Relation Prague
There is extensive research investigating the framing of immigration in the media, particularly focusing on Western Europe. Scholars recently directed their focus to Central European countries in this regard as well as immigration started to matte as a socio-political topic in the region. The immigration-framing literature generally documents that the media employ several main immigration (master) frames whose prevalence varies over time, media outlets, countries and following real-time events. Surprisingly given the societal role of political parties, much less research focuses on how political actors frame immigration. When scholarly interest is directed on political actors’ framing of immigration, it often relies on media data as a source to examine how framing of immigration differs across parties and time. There is yet much less research, and very little on Central Europe, that would examine party actors’ framing of immigration in an unmediated, direct manner. By focusing on the framing of immigration in all relevant plenary speeches in the Czech and Slovak parliaments between 2013 and 2021 (N = 2016), we try to shed light on how party actors frame immigration in Central Europe in such direct manner. On the descriptive level, we not only show that administrative, security, and cultural framing was the most prominent during the timeframe, but that the framing of immigration is generally negative and more so as the refugee crisis elapses. We also document differences between the refuge crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the decreased salience of cultural framing during the latter crisis. On the explanatory level, our regression analyses show that framing of immigration is related to party-level factors (party positions and government participation), individual-level factors (education and age) and content factors (migrant categories explicitly mentioned in a speech). Among the ideological determinants, the placement of parties to which a particular parliamentarian belongs on the GAL/TAN (socio-cultural) dimension of conflict has the largest effect size. For the content factors, it is most substantively interesting that immigrants from the MENA region, irregular immigrants and those with Muslim religious background are framed in significantly more negative security and cultural terms than other groups of immigrants (i.e., those from non-EU Europe and South East Asia, those with explicitly stated Christian religious background and those referred to as asylum-seekers).
Immigration, Integration and Citizenship: Elements of a New Political Demography
Adrian Favell, University of Leeds
The paper offers a critical review of the state-of-the-art in migration studies, in the light of new state centered restrictions on international mobility imposed by the COVID pandemic. The paper centers on a contrast between established comparative scholarship — elaborating progressive models of immigration, integration, and citizenship, that reflect the increasingly diverse, migrant-built societies of the North Atlantic West — and a new generation of work in the last decade, influenced by critical, anti-racist and decolonial theory, that rejects this “Eurocentric” liberal democratic global order and self-image. Establishing a bridge between older neo-Weberian approaches to immigration and sovereign nation-state building and newer (or revived) Marxist-Foucauldian accounts, it accents the state-power building effects of bordering, managing, and cultivating “diverse” national populations, and its ongoing governmental categorisation of citizens and migrants, nationals and aliens, majorities and minorities, as a key feature of neo-liberal “racial capitalism”. These issues have only intensified under the conditions imposed by the pandemic. The argument develops in relation to wanted and unwanted migration in advanced liberal democratic economies, “visible” forms of immigration versus “middling” forms of everyday cross-border mobility, and the limits of humanitarian arguments for open borders and expansive asylum rights. The paper sketches an alternate politics to the self-legitimating “political demography” of liberal democracy, relating the ongoing colonial power of ideas of immigration, integration, and citizenship, to the reproduction of massive global inequalities between “the West and the Rest”.
Why the Immigration Politics of COVID-19 Are like Those of September 11th
Gallya Lahav, Stony Brook University; Anthony M. Messina, Trinity College
This paper asks why the politics of immigration and human mobility during the COVID-19 health crisis in Europe and the United States closely parallel those of September 11th. Its central hypothesis is that both negative focusing events are illuminated by a security-driven threat politics paradigm that initially emerged during the post-Cold War period and which continues through the present (Lahav and Messina forthcoming). After specifying the main assumptions of the paradigm, this paper cites four major points of intersection between the politics of COVID-19 and September 11th. First, after decades of pursuing relatively open trade and immigration and human mobility policies, the liberal states capitulated to domestic pressures to close their economies and compromise many of the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens. Second, as occurred following the terrorist attacks of the early and mid-2000s, the COVID-19 crisis has precipitated a rhetorical assault by numerous political elites on liberal values and norms. Illiberal political rhetoric especially targeted Muslim and Asian populations in the aftermath of each focusing event. Third, both the pandemic and events of September 11th bolstered the liberal state’s decision-making authority and sovereignty and, in so doing, discredited the conventional wisdom among scholars of immigration that the latter has irreversibly declined. Both crises specifically motivated the liberal states to adopt special legal regimes, thus freeing them from the conventional decision-making process. Finally, differences in political party threat framing precipitated partisan dissensus regarding immigration and human mobility policy. After an initial period of inter-partisan agreement on the appropriate state responses to each crisis at the elite and non-elite levels, partisans of the political Right and Left eventually perceived the nature of and solutions to the threats each posed very differently. The paper draws upon a variety of sources of evidence, including comparative public opinion survey data and political elite discourse analyses, as well as policy tracing.
- (Chair) Ann Kathleen Heffernan, University of Michigan
- (Presenter) Nancy J. Hirschmann, The University of Pennsylvania
- (Presenter) Barbara Arneil, University of British Columbia
- (Presenter) Stefanie Reher, University of Strathclyde
- (Presenter) Monica C. Schneider, Miami University
- (Presenter) April A. Johnson, Kennesaw State University
- (Presenter) Lisa Schur, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
- (Presenter) Jennifer Leonor Erkulwater, University of Richmond
- (Presenter) Andrew Jenks, University of Delaware
Despite early contributions of scholars like Jacobus tenBroek, Harlan Hahn, and Deborah Stone, disability has received relatively little attention within political science. Indeed, according to Barbara Arneil and Nancy Hirschmann, “political science has actually fallen behind other disciplines in analyzing disability in our society” (2016, 1). At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light troubling assumptions about whose lives are worth protecting, while the high incidence of long-term sequelae of infection (so-called “long COVID”) presents the prospect of a significant increase in the number of people living with disabling conditions.
This cross-subfield roundtable brings together early-career and established scholars who center disability as an object of disciplinary inquiry. Together, we will consider the following questions: How might a more sustained consideration of disability contribute to, challenge, or transform existing approaches to the study of representation, participation, belonging, inequality, exclusion (among others)? Are there barriers to a more sustained focus on disability as an object of study, and if so, how might they be remedied? What does the study of disability contribute to our understanding of, and response to, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? And finally, how might we incorporate the study of disability into undergraduate and graduate curricula?
Co-sponsored by Division 58: Civic Engagement
Created Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Bobbi Gentry, Bridgewater College
- (Discussant) J. Cherie Strachan, Virginia Commonwealth University
This panel examines the ways that young people can become prepared for engaged citizenship through educational opportunities in schools as well as through the broader political socialization process. The papers focus on educating young people of color, students living in poverty, and young people at risk. The papers offer insights from curriculum interventions designed to foster inclusivity and close divides in civic engagement.
Political Socialization to Civic Engagement in Black Girls and Women
Teri F Platt, Clark Atlanta University
The political socialization of black girls in America is an understudied phenomenon that has implications for the broader political participation of black women who have demonstrated themselves to be a solid, and reliable voting group in national elections. This paper utilizes survey data and interviews with black girls aged 7-17 years and black women aged 18 and older to understand early political socialization processes and civic engagement activities. Evaluation of data using data analysis and theme identification aid in understanding the political socialization processes in black girlhood in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, that have produced this reliable block and I seek to map it on to the current political socialization process of black girls in the 2000s to the present.
Rethinking Inclusivity in K-12 Civic Engagement: School Participatory Budgeting
Tara Lynn Bartlett, Arizona State University
The unequal distribution of K12 civic education opportunities and meaningful civic engagement is well-documented. Schools in under-resourced communities are less likely to offer high quality civic learning opportunities than schools located in affluent districts. Moreover, unequal access to civic learning opportunities is noticeable along lines of race, class, and ability. Students of color, students from low-income families, and students with disabilities are afforded fewer opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices necessary for full participation in democratic life, from leadership and public speaking to deliberative competencies and political efficacy. In sum, these students are less likely to experience civic-oriented government classes, service-learning programs, democratic simulations, exposure to and discussion of current events, classroom environments open to dialogue and conversations. Through the ‘Matthew effect’, these inequalities widen over time. This civic opportunity gap creates uneven political agency and power and can be observed in different levels of civic participation, electoral engagement, influence on policy, political representation, and capacity for self-governance among adult populations. In short, students who engage in civic activities in school are more likely to participate as adults, and there is correlation between socioeconomic status, ability and race, on the one hand, and access to civic education opportunities and levels of lifelong political participation, on the other. In this presentation, we discuss an emergent, innovative approach to rethinking civic learning: school participatory budgeting (SPB). SPB is a civic pedagogical practice that simultaneously nurtures civic inclusivity, student engagement, and school democracy. In the last decade, SPB has been growing in different parts of the world, from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States to Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Scotland, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Romania, and Zambia among others. SPB is an offspring of participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic process in which communities make decisions on how to spend a portion of a public budget. PB started in 1989 in Brazil and is now being implemented in over 11,000 cities in all continents. Similar to PB, the SPB process is typically organized in five steps: 1) students propose ideas to improve the school community; 2) students transform these ideas into viable proposals by conducting research and considering impacts, costs and feasibility; 3) students deliberate on all viable proposals discussing pros and cons; 4) full student body votes on proposals to select winning projects; and 5) winning projects are funded and implemented, with the cycle repeated the following year. The SPB process focuses on creating a space for students to advocate through collective voice, increase civic and leadership skills, and build relationships. Several studies show SPB empowers students to lead as community problem-solvers and acquire skills and attitudes needed for lifelong active civic engagement. Additional research has shown SPB to open pathways to equitable civic learning opportunities and inclusionary civic engagement practices in schools. This includes a student steering committee representative of all members of the student community, accessible opportunities for participation, and school community-wide engagement. In 2013, one high school in Arizona was the first in the US to pilot a school-based PB process. Since then, Arizona has been at the forefront of SPB experimentation, innovation, and expansion. SPB in Arizona is now being implemented in over 50 public schools across 5 cities, involving upwards of 50,000 students every year. Our presentation shares findings from three distinct SPB processes taking place in Arizona. One SPB process is a district-wide initiative to redesign school safety in lieu of the nonrenewal of SRO (school resource officer) contracts. Another SPB process has adopted a purposeful, inclusive approach to include students with disabilities in every phase of the process. The final SPB process we discuss is one in which the district has utilized ESSER (Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief) funds in a community-driven process to address educational disparities spotlighted by the pandemic. Drawing on theoretical underpinnings of participatory democracy and a YPAR (youth participatory action research) approach, we describe our use of mixed methods in data collection and analysis in the SPB process. Data includes field note observations, document analysis, surveys, and interviews with different stakeholder groups (i.e. educators, students, school leaders, and parents). Additionally, we examine issues related to the design, implementation, and evaluation of these SPB processes.
Teaching Civic Engagement through Immersive Experience
Diana M. Owen, Georgetown University
The Center for Civic Education developed the Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics to provide an immersive educational experience in civics, American government, and political history for secondary school teachers and their students. The Academies were held as a residential, in person program during the summer of 2019 and took place virtually in 2021. Participants were recruited nationwide with preference given to those meeting high-need criteria. The program combined scholar lectures, small group interactive sessions, and field trips. This study examines the content and instructional strategies of the student Academies to provide context for assessing their effectiveness. The core question addressed is: To what extent did students attending the Academies gain knowledge, dispositions, and skills conducive to civic engagement? The Civic Education Research Lab (CERL) at Georgetown University conducted pre- and post-program surveys and semi-structured interviews of student participants. Findings indicate that students in both program years acquired substantial civics and history content knowledge, became more interested in and attentive to civic affairs, developed enhanced dispositions to engage in community and political life, and gained civic and media literacy skills. The effectiveness of the in-person and virtual student Academies was comparable on most key indicators.
Youth Voice: Bridging Intergenerational Divides in Civic Engagement
Kirstie Lynn Dobbs, Merrimack College
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many young people felt disconnected from on-the-ground engagement with their peers and society. School closures across Massachusetts also stymied the growth of students’ abilities to write, speak, and express themselves through various media. This was especially true in low-income areas and communities of color. Lawrence MA falls into this category given its per capita income is $20,858 (average in MA is $43,761), and about 77 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latinx. To fill these gaps, a team of interdisciplinary researchers at Merrimack College collaborated with a local community partner, the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA, on developing a civic engagement program that bridges young people’s interest in engaged citizenship with their writing, speaking, and team-building skill sets. This program is called Youth Voice. The purpose of Youth Voice is to support the empowerment of young people by sharpening their tools for enacting advocacy in their communities. The program participants are between 11-16 years of age and are recruited by the YMCA. As a result of this program, participants will be able to use their written and oral communication skills, participate in open-minded engagement with others, and express their voice using a variety of mediums (including art, music, and media). A sub-goal of the broad agenda is to equip students with digital literacy skills that help them navigate information on social media. Young people overwhelmingly receive their information via social media, which is potentially problematic in their participation in civic life given the widespread presence of disinformation and misinformation spread online. If young people do not develop critical thinking tools to navigate through and distinguish accurate information from mis/disinformation, they will remain particularly vulnerable to online manipulation and coercion. Through Youth Voice, young people will gain the ability to identify false information online, which empowers them to shape their ideologies and enhances their ability to form evidence-based opinions. The research team applies a mix-methods approach when evaluating the outcomes of Youth Voice. First, an anonymous pre-and post-survey designed to assess orientation towards civic participation and engagement will be disseminated to Youth Voice participants and Merrimack College student facilitators. The questions on the survey have been adapted from The Youth and Participatory Politics Panel Survey. The survey measures participants’ baseline for civic engagement before entering the program and their confidence in participating in politics and civic life after completing it. A follow-up survey will also be disseminated one year after completing the program to measure the long-term sustainability of promoting youth civic engagement. Second, an anonymous feedback form will be disseminated to students after completing the program. This form includes questions on a Likert scale and open-ended questions on components of the program, and questions gauging interest in future participation in the program. Feedback from this survey will be incorporated to enhance future programming. After completing the feedback form, students will participate in focus group discussions where interviewers ask the participants about the program and their feelings towards civic engagement. Third, investigators will review completed work by the youth each week to assess whether objectives are met. In our 2021 pilot study, about 21 percent of the participants identified as African American/Black, and 64 percent identified as Hispanic/Latinx. We found that the youth were 40 percent more likely to engage with an organization or a corporation trying to help their community, were 30 percent more likely to organize people to bring attention to an issue or get something changed and were 58 percent more likely to ask an adult for help in getting something changed in their community. The sample size in the pilot study is small (N = 11), but these results showcase the potential positive impact that Youth Voice could have on the empowerment of young people – especially in terms of community engagement and social justice activism among BIPOC youth in a low-income area. We also found that engagement between the youth and the Merrimack College undergraduates increased their trust in adults to help them advocate for social change. This paper presents data over a two-year program cycle (July 2021 and July 2022). The research will enhance our understanding of the best community-driven practices for growing young people’s capacity for democratic participation. The study also provides data on the efficacy of youth civic engagement programs in promoting the holistic development of BIPOC youth living in low-income communities.
Co-sponsored by Division 11: Comparative Politics
Virtual Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Scott L. Greer, University of Michigan
- (Discussant) Ellen M. Lust, University of Gothenburg
This panel addresses the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across several countries and regions, including Latin America, Southeast Asia, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. It includes five papers that investigate health behavior compliance, vaccine hesitancy and perceptions of vaccine safety, and the impact of vaccine distribution based on original survey data.
Vaccine Diplomacy: How COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Latin America Increases Trust in Foreign Governments by Julian Gerez (PhD candidate, Columbia University)
Can Endorsement by Politicians and Religious Leaders move the Needle on Vaccine Hesitancy? by Pauline Jones (Professor, University of Michigan)
Partisanship, Trumpism, and Health Behavior in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Panel Data by Thomas B. Pepinsky (Professor, Cornell University)
Non-Compliance as Dissent: Societal Roots of Compliance with State Regulation by Regina Smyth (Professor, Indiana University)
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Latin America & Trust in Foreign Governments
Julian Gerez, Columbia University; Sarah Zukerman Daly, Columbia University; John Marshall, Columbia University; Elena Barham, Columbia University; Oscar Pocasangre, Columbia University
The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines may have profound implications for international relations, in addition to global health. Vaccine scarcity in the Global South has created opportunities for vaccine-developing countries—including China, India, Russia, the UK, and the US—to improve their reputations in emerging markets. Leveraging a panel survey conducted in January and May 2021, we evaluate whether “vaccine diplomacy” affects trust in foreign governments among vaccine-hesitant respondents in six Latin American countries. We find that personally receiving a vaccine durably increased trust in the government of the country where that vaccine was developed. Furthermore, providing information about the aggregate distribution of vaccines within a respondent’s country increased trust in the governments of the countries where more vaccines were developed. These increases in trust—which are most pronounced for China—appear to reflect perceptions of a common good motivation. Vaccine distribution may then cultivate soft power that could further vaccine-developing countries’ foreign policy goals.
Can Endorsement Move the Needle on Vaccine Hesitancy?
Pauline Jones, University of Michigan; Anil Menon, University of Michigan; Allen D. Hicken, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Existing research, including work specific to COVID-19, suggests that vaccine endorsement by medical practitioners increases uptake. Yet, vaccine hesitancy persists even though health professionals have continued to widely endorse vaccination since the development of multiple vaccines to combat COVID-19 in late 2020. Could endorsement by other trusted leaders be utilized to decrease vaccine hesitancy, including the perception of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness? Although some studies suggests that trust in politicians and religious leaders can influence individuals’ health attitudes and behaviors, the evidence is mixed. Our study aimed to explore the potential added value of trust in politicians and religious leaders by testing whether their endorsement of the COVID-19 vaccine has a marginal effect where health professionals are already endorsing this vaccine. We conducted an online survey experiment with 6,000 respondents across five countries that share many key similarities but have varying levels of baseline vaccine hesitancy: Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey. Respondents were randomly assigned to either a control group that only included the endorsement of health professionals or one of two treatment groups that also included either the endorsement of politicians or the endorsement of religious leaders. We found that endorsement by either political leaders or religious leaders does not seem to further reduce vaccine hesitancy. Our findings suggest that medical practitioners may still be the first and best line of defense in terms of combatting vaccine hesitancy.
Partisanship, Trumpism, and Health Behavior in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Thomas Pepinsky, Cornell University; Shana Kushner Gadarian, Syracuse University; Sara Wallace Goodman, University of California, Irvine
A wide range of empirical scholarship has documented a partisan gap in health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, but the political foundations and temporal dynamics of these partisan gaps remain poorly understood. Using an original six-wave individual panel study of Americans throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that at the individual level, partisan differences in health behavior grew rapidly in the early months of the pandemic and are explained almost entirely by individual support for or opposition to President Trump. Our results comprise powerful evidence that Trumpism, rather than ideology or simple partisan identity, explains partisan gaps in health behavior in the United States.
Non-Compliance as Dissent: Societal Roots of Compliance with State Regulation
Regina A. Smyth, Indiana University
Global comparison demonstrates that Russia leads the world in non-compliance with public health policies designed to mitigate the effect of COVID-19. Viewed against, the centralized state capacity of the Russian regime, the inability to enforce public health regulations speaks to a gap in our knowledge of political behavior in strong authoritarian states. Rather than focus on state action or state capacity, this paper focuses on two societal factors that shape compliance with regulations: the social organization of enforcement and the culture of enforcement. These two factors focus attention on subcultures of compliance and non-compliance as well as norms associated with prosocial behavior: group identities and networks, beliefs, norms, values, and lessons past experiences. The empirical test of these theoretic propositions is based on a unique dataset of Muscovites whose previous compliance with state mandates have had a strong impact on daily life. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the limits of state regulation when it does not have the capacity to provide accurate information or challenge deeply embedded social norms designed to maintain distance between state and society.
Co-sponsored by Division 10: Political Science Education
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Patrick F. McKinlay, Morningside University
- (Presenter) Juan Carlos Huerta, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- (Presenter) Terry Gilmour, Midland College
- (Presenter) Renee B. Van Vechten, University of Redlands
- (Presenter) Mary A. McHugh, Merrimack College
- (Presenter) Marcus D. Allen, CUNY – Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
Introductory American Government and Politics courses (core curriculum or general education) are common across higher education institutions. There is a wide range of potential topics to discuss, material, and skills to include. In this presentation, professors representing a diverse range of institutions, will share their experiences about how they decide what to include to create meaningful courses for their students and promote student learning. The goal of this roundtable is to begin the process of developing resources and recommendations for professors teaching or those who may find themselves being responsible for teaching these courses.
Co-sponsored by Division 52: Migration & Citizenship
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Roya Izadi, University of Rhode Island
- (Discussant) Sabrina Karim, Cornell University
- (Discussant) Elizabeth L Brannon, Michigan State University
Women’s security is a vital component of peace and stability after conflict. The papers in this panel bring new insights and data into the scholarship on gender and conflict. Lee’s paper highlights the role of international audiences and leaders’ strategic deployment of accountability using an innovative dataset on domestic accountability and examines the contexts in which leaders respond to wartime sexual violence. Torres and Karim’s paper investigates the determinants of sexual violence in post conflict societies using novel neighborhood-level data. Vincent’s paper shows that post-conflict states can provide new opportunity structures for women conditional on the willingness and ability of political elites in incorporating security measures for women. Fox, Torres, and Karim’s paper introduces original survey data from members of security forces to test the concept of the gendered protection norm, the idea that men are the natural protectors, and that women and children should not be put in harm’s way. These four papers provide new and important empirical explanations for transitioning from conflict while taking into account gender and related issues.
Gender Justice for Whom? Strategic Accountability for Wartime Sexual Violence
Sumin Lee, Rutgers University
Why do some governments take accountability measures in response to wartime sexual violence during and after civil wars while others do not? In this project, I examine the relationship between international demands for gender justice and the domestic government’s decisions to address wartime sexual violence. I argue that conflict-affected governments strategically deploy accountability measures for wartime sexual violence according to the potential costs they face from the international community. When there are non-targeted demands for gender justice, legitimacy-seeking governments will deploy accountability measures to window-dress compliance with international norms and avert further domestic mobilizations. When the international community targets a particular state in demand of gender justice, conflict-affected governments, regardless of their legitimacy-seeking incentives, will deploy accountability measures to distance the leader from the entity that engaged in violence and restore the masculine authority of the government. However, I argue that they are likely to be selective in terms of who gets prosecuted in order to minimize the political costs of punishing soldiers during wars. Using an original dataset on domestic accountability measures for wartime sexual violence in conflict-affected African states between 1998 and 2018, I find empirical support for these arguments. This project contributes to the gender justice literature by constructing accountability as a strategic choice used by conflict-affected governments to win civil wars or restore legitimacy. It also conducts a first cross-national analysis of domestic accountability for wartime sexual violence, providing an empirical assessment of international efforts to end impunity for wartime sexual violence.
Political Elite Competition and Post-conflict Women’s Security
Taylor Vincent, University of Maryland, College Park
How do the legacies of conflict affect women’s security? The security of women, which is closely linked to the security of states, is an imperative concept for scholars of conflict, democratization, and gender studies to investigate. While there is extensive research on these ideas independently, there is little tying it together. We know quite a bit about the rise of women’s rights in the wake of large societal shifts and about how states transition into peace and democracy, but we know fairly little about how in the aftermath of conflict women’s security is shaped by these forces. I argue that conflict creates new opportunity structures in a post-conflict environment which can improve the security of women, but this is conditional on the willingness and ability of political elites in this new environment to incorporate pro-security measures. Using a cross-national dataset measuring women’s security in post-conflict states, I empirically test my claims about how political elites shape women’s security policies.
The Correlates of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Priscilla Torres, Duke University; Sabrina Karim, Cornell University
What are the determinants of sexual violence in the aftermath of civil war? While international initiatives, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, focus on addressing and preventing sexual violence in the post-conflict period, the academic literature on sexual violence focuses on its occurrences during war. We aim to close this gap by utilizing novel neighborhood-level data collection from One Stop Centers in post-conflict Liberia as well as existing data from the Liberian Census and the Liberian Demographic and Health Survey. We offer potential determinants of sexual violence in post-war Liberia. Using a Geographic Information System (GIS) approach, we disaggregate between relational characteristics and community-level characteristics, such as prior conflict exposure, to determine some of the correlates of sexual violence at the neighborhood level.
Lock Up Your Daughters! Experimentally Testing the Gendered Protection Norm
Sara Fox, University of Pittsburgh; Priscilla Torres, Duke University; Sabrina Karim, Cornell University
The gendered protection norm refers to the stereotypical belief – explicit or implicit – that men are the natural protectors of women and children, and that women and children should not be put in harm’s way. It is often the reason that women are kept away from combat and other violent situations despite their willingness and capability to use violence. In the context of peacekeeping operations, prior research finds that women are often deployed to missions where there is less risk of sexual violence and gender inequity is less pervasive (Karim and Beardsley 2013, 2017). Using a novel conjoint experiment, this paper will examine how the gendered protection norm manifests in security forces’ decision-making by asking the question: under what conditions do individuals prefer to deploy female peacekeepers? Through the use of survey data from members of security forces (members of the armed forces, police and gendarmerie) from a cross-national sample, we test several arguments by varying the level of sexual violence and peacekeeper deaths that an operation has experienced, the sex of a hypothetical peacekeeper, their years of experience, and the type of experience they have. The results of this paper have implications for peacekeeping effectiveness as well as for the exclusion of women in security more generally.
Co-sponsored by Division 59: Education Politics and Policy
- (Chair) Sigal R. Ben-Porath, University of Pennsylvania
- (Discussant) Meira Levinson, Harvard University
- (Discussant) Diana M. Owen, Georgetown University
This panel explores the role of schools in training democratic citizens. The papers explore different aspects of schooling, including the racial composition of the student body, whether the school is vocational or general, and the curriculum of civics education, to see which models best cultivate successful civic education. This panel relates to the APSA 2022 theme because it speaks to how we foster future political leaders and democratic citizens.
Engaged or Obedient?: Racially Differentiated Models of Democratic Education
Sarah Brown, University of Colorado Boulder; Tamar Malloy, University of Colorado Boulder
What role does the school play in the creation of citizens? Does the racial composition of a school affect the citizenship training students receive? Some theorists argue that schools in liberal democracies should be schools of equity and justice, where students learn to be engaged, participatory citizens (Allen 2016, Dewey 1916, Gutmann 1999, Laden 2013) Others contend that schools function primarily as disciplinary training grounds, producing future citizens who are docile workers and obedient members of society. (Bowles and Gintis 1976, Foucault 1977, Justice and Meares 2014) In this paper, we suggest that both models may exist, but on a racially-differentiated spectrum. To explore this hypothesis, we build an original dataset of school handbooks from a national sample of over 10% of U.S. public charter schools (n=862). Using Text as Data methods, we build a dictionary of terms related to “citizenship” in order to extract handbook passages where the schools discuss the concept. Descriptively, we find differences in the frequency with which terms appear in schools comprised of a predominantly white student body and schools where students are predominantly Black or Hispanic. Additionally, we code the handbook passages for the presence or absence of text that suggests normative values of democratic citizenship to discern whether schools communicate citizenship as active and engaged participation, or punitive obedience. Using this data, we claim that school handbooks in schools with a majority white student body approach the concept of citizenship differently from those with a majority Black or Hispanic student body. Our data shows that racial differentiation in U.S. schools extends to different models of citizenship education, and, relatedly, to different understandings of democratic participation. While school handbooks in majority-White schools suggest an engaged, participatory model of citizenship, handbooks in majority-minority schools suggest a punitive, obedient model of citizenship. We then return to the theoretical foundations of the project, to explore the potential impacts of racial differentiation on equity, deliberation, and participation.
Know Local: Rethinking Civic Education for Civic Competence
Abigail Dym, University of Pennsylvania
Civic education has resurfaced in our national dialogue as a potential salve to democratic backsliding and an essential tool for building non-partisan and competent democratic citizens. We need rigorous political science research to understand what is currently happening in the civic education landscape to inform how we can leverage innovative curricula to help young people feel knowledgeable, confident, and motivated to participate in U.S. democracy. This project engages youth participatory action research, focus groups, and a student survey with an embedded RCT to contribute to this democratic imperative. First, focus groups from summer and fall 2021 reveal high school students prefer to learn about local than national political content and believe more of it in their civics classes would motivate them to engage in politics. However, a pilot with a youth-generated political knowledge survey that includes local and national knowledge questions reveals students have low knowledge about broad traditional political facts and in fact know less about local than national politics, a likely product of nationalized K-12 curricula and social media, where many students encounter political learning. This is concerning given student claims that they are more motivated to be participatory when their political learning focuses on local politics and feels relevant to their daily lives. Second, between February and June 2022 over 1000 high school students in the School District of Philadelphia will take a political knowledge survey that includes the piloted local and national knowledge questions. Before taking the survey, students will also randomly receive one of four treatments. Each treatment is a short article that is identical except for the topic: either local political content that is directly relevant to student lives (schools and reopening during COVID in Philadelphia), local and less relevant (workforce mask mandates in Philadelphia), national and relevant (schools and reopening during COVID in the U.S.), or national and less relevant (workforce mask mandates in the U.S.). This RCT will test the impact of content on short-term factual recall, measured by specific test questions embedded in the survey. I hypothesize students are more likely to recall local and relevant information when they receive the first treatment, and that regardless of treatment students will have higher national knowledge scores on average, underscoring a disconnect between increasingly nationalized curricula and student demand for more local learning. Key outcomes will also include the relationship between knowledge scores, student demographics, political self-efficacy, trust in government, and civic engagement. This study has implications for research on political knowledge and participation as well as education policy initiatives to re-center schools as key sites of political socialization and civic learning that can help develop knowledgeable and engaged citizens.
The Leader in Me: Leadership Programs vs. Civic Education in American Schools
Christie L. Maloyed, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Many American states have mandated students take an American Government or Civics course to graduate high school. Typically, these courses focus on the structures of political institutions, historical figures, important dates, and a handful of key political concepts. Importantly, they rarely focus on the essential skills or habits necessary to function as a democratic citizen. To the extent that students encounter such lessons, it’s through extracurricular or supplemental leadership programs. One popular example of such leadership programs is Stephen Covey’s Leader in Me curricula. Adapted from his popular self-help work, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey’s program has been adopted as an addition to – or even a replacement for – civics curricula and supported by prominent community organizations like the United Way. I trace the contemporary proliferation of both mandates for government courses as well as supplemental leadership programs. Drawing from political theory and philosophy of education, the paper offers a critical analysis of the differences between the leadership skills promulgated in programs like Covey’s and contrasts those with civic habits. I argue the former approach provides an impoverished understanding of the obligations of democratic citizenship. By contrast, civic habits offer a more community-oriented and democratic approach to civic education.
- (Chair) Olivia Garcia, University of Texas at El Paso
- (Presenter) Ivelisse Cuevas-Molina, Fordham University
- (Presenter) Cristina Beltran, New York University
- (Presenter) Justin H. Gross, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- (Presenter) Valerie J. Martinez-Ebers, University of North Texas
- (Presenter) Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, Texas Christian University
- (Presenter) Tony Affigne, Providence College
In recent months, activists, journalists, politicians, and scholars have become increasingly concerned about systematic misinformation and calculated disinformation, being disseminated in Latino communities across the country. Voters are being misled and confused by the spread of conspiracy theories around COVID, the 2020 election, immigration policy, and other issues, with false narratives seeping into congregations of Spanish-speaking churches, talk radio, social media, and everyday discourse on the street.
This roundtable features political science scholars who are engaged in pushing back against disinformation using the tools, insights, and visibility of our research and public scholarship. Panelists and audience members will be invited to share effective responses, useful data, reports from the field, and other resources which can further counter attempts to undermine mobilization, solidarity, and empowerment in our Latino political communities.
Co-sponsored by Division 59: Education Politics and Policy
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) James Farney, University of Regina
- (Discussant) Jack Lucas, University of Calgary
This panel addresses the 2022 conference theme that focuses on training the next generation of leaders. The panel brings together papers that use a variety of methods to more accurately probe parent decision making around early childhood education and care and schooling. The richness of the methods in this panel – including conjoint analysis, public opinion surveys, and sentiment analysis combined with regression discontinuity – will work to inform political scientists and policymakers in education. All the papers address how inequality affects parental decision making, with two of the papers examining how those inequalities in decision making have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Competitive Parenting and Private Education Trends in Canada
Linda A. White, University of Toronto; James Farney, University of Regina; Sophie Borwein, Simon Fraser University
In this paper, we examine how patterns of income and income inequality influence Canadian parents’ stated and revealed preferences for primary and secondary private education for their children. Building on research on expenditure cascades (Levine, Frank, and Dijk 2010) and positional goods (Hirsch 1976), we hypothesize that both high- and more middle-income parents’ demand for private education will increase in the context of higher income inequality, as parents feel pressure to compete to secure relative advantage for their children, even though only top-earners have realized income gains from inequality. We examine our hypotheses in the context of the Canadian provinces, which we argue presents a hard test case for theories of competitive parenting and spending on private education, because Canada’s relatively un-stratified higher education system likely reduces the pressures parents feel to secure advantage for their children through the attainment of private education. Drawing on two sources of data—Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, and a 2019 public opinion survey of Canadian parents—we first show that higher-income parents express attitudes consistent with greater support for private education, and the economic purposes of education more broadly. Second, we show that these preferences relate to provincial levels of income inequality in Canada; despite Canada’s less stratified higher education system, in contexts of higher inequality, parents spend more on K-12 private education than at low levels of inequality, and this gap in spending becomes more pronounced as income increases, before dissipating among only the very highest income households.
Parents’ Material Conditions and Pandemic-Related School Decisions
Salar Asadolahi, University of Toronto
Parents around the world have faced tough decisions about their children’s educational plans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on public opinion survey data from four of Canada’s most populous provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec), this paper examines some of the factors that have affected parent choices regarding their children’s education plans from September 2020 to June 2021. Specifically, it examines the influence of parent’s material circumstances and their expectations of experiencing economic difficulty as a result of the pandemic on decision making around in-person versus remote schooling and public versus private education. It additionally examines differences in the patterns of decision making among parents in Ontario in particular compared to the three other provinces given the Ontario government’s offering of remote schooling on a voluntary basis for part of the year, and its closing of schools and mandating of remote learning for a longer period of time relative to other provinces.
Parental Stress and Child Care Preferences during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Samantha Burns, University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; Michal Perlman, University of Toronto
The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread disruptions in family life, closing workplaces and sending kids home from care and school. These disruptions introduced new, or exacerbated existing, pressures on families. Extant research has highlighted the immediate impacts felt by families in terms of increased stress, declining mental health, impacts on labour force attachments, and inequalities in child learning. In this paper, we explore the determinants of stress – as it relates to reported economic stability, work-care balance, and child wellbeing – among parents of young children during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (December 2020). Using a conjoint survey of parent preferences for ECEC, we find that these measures of parental stress impact the quasi-behavioural decisions of parents in different ways. Parents who report financial instability are more attuned to the availability of care, while those with greater stability are more attuned to the health measures (in particular, the masking policy) of ECEC environments. Parents who have less stress about the balance of work and family life, pay more attention to the type of care available – with stronger preferences for centre-based care. Meanwhile, parents who report relatively less concern about the social and emotional wellbeing of their children were more willing to choose no ECEC arrangements at all; when they made choices towards an ECEC arrangement, these parents were more attuned to the health measures of ECEC environments – favoring mandatory masking and strict sickness policies. These findings offer unique insights on Canadian parents’ decisions regarding their childcare arrangements during COVID-19 and implications for policies related to access to child care arrangements.
What Do Parents Say When They Talk about Child Care?
Adrienne Davidson, McMaster University; Ludovic Rheault, University of Toronto; Elizabeth Dhuey, University of Toronto
This paper uses a novel dataset of online Google consumer reviews of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the United States. Using a regression discontinuity design, we compare the content of reviews along state borders in states that have different levels of oversight and regulation of ECEC settings. We rely on automated textual analysis to examine what parents mention in reviews of ECEC providers in terms of themes such as safety, risk, quality, and choice. We use text-as-data with a comprehensive dataset of state-level ECEC regulations (accounting for variables such as the presence of unlicensed care arrangements, and staff-to-child ratios) to examine whether parental discourse varies based on the breadth and depth of regulation in various childcare settings. We find that parent reviews in states with less regulatory oversight over ECEC care arrangements exhibit more anxiety in their online reviews and engage more frequently in conversations about risk relative to parents in states with more robust regulatory regimes. This provides a unique vantage point on parents’ understanding of the quality of care their children receive as well as raising concerns about the quality of services children receive under weaker oversight regimes.
- (Chair) Brigid Callahan Harrison, Montclair State University
- (Presenter) Brigid Callahan Harrison, Montclair State University
- (Presenter) Michelle D. Deardorff, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
- (Presenter) Rebecca Anne Glazier, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
- (Presenter) Carah Ong Whaley, University of Virginia
In a post-pandemic Political Science classroom, educators are facing unprecedented challenges as they meet a new generation of students, whose attitudes, priorities, behaviors, and circumstances differ from previous generations. This panel will explore the differences between today’s Gen Z student and previous generations, including Gen Z’s reliance on technology and social media as the mechanisms of political socialization and information acquisition; the salience of specific issue priorities, including racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change; and the means by which these digital natives participate in the civic lives of their campuses, communities, and nation. The panel will also explore the impact of the political moments we are having on Gen Z, examining Black Lives Matter, national political polarization, how Gen Z has experienced the COVID-19 pandemic (including their impact on their education and mental health). The panel (consisting of department chairs) will also explore some best practices in creating a post-pandemic Political Science classroom that meets Gen Z students where they are and helps them make sense of the seemingly nonsensical political context that we are all navigating.
Co-sponsored by Division 10: Political Science Education
- (Chair) Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University
- (Presenter) Nasir Almasri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- (Presenter) Dana El Kurd, University of Richmond
- (Presenter) Justin Zimmerman, Northwestern University
- (Presenter) Rosalie Rubio, George Washington University
- (Presenter) Guillermo Caballero, Salisbury University
- (Presenter) Okiyoshi Takeda, Aoyama Gakuin University
There is a severe mental health crisis among graduate students in political science. Political science PhD students in the United States exhibit an unusually high rate of suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety among (Almasri, Read, and Vandeweerdt 2021).
This roundtable will begin a broader conversation in political science about mental health struggles among scholars in the discipline. It brings together individuals of different backgrounds and positions to expand upon their personal experiences with mental health struggles, to recommend strategies for managing mental health, and to share ideas for short- and long-term changes that the discipline might pursue to help improve the overall mental health of scholars.
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Ellen M. Lust, University of Gothenburg
- (Discussant) Steven Brooke, University of Wisconsin- Madison
Our panel brings together researchers forging new approaches to studying the evolution of political institutions both in historical perspective and in this contemporary moment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Embracing varied theoretical paradigms and diverse methodologies, the papers showcase the broad range of tools available to researchers seeking to understand how key political divides emerged and calcified in the region and how institutions are rapidly developing in the present. The papers explore how pro-male bias in media coverage continues to create gendered disparities within Tunisia’s parliament, how Turkey’s autocracy has become more entrenched as a result of often-ignored local-level contention, how education infrastructure in Turkey may have deepened the Kurdish insurgency and how colonialism fundamentally shaped contention between a nascent rural bourgeoisie and entrenched agricultural elites. Collectively, the papers on this panel will animate a vibrant dialogue on how processes of colonialism & state-formation have shaped contemporary processes of political struggle and institutional development in the MENA region.
Media Coverage of Female Politicians in Tunisia
Monica Komer, University of Wisconsin—Madison; Oliver Markus Lang, University of Wisconsin—Madison
Over the last decade, women’s political representation has nearly doubled in the Arab world. However, little is known about how female politicians are portrayed in local news media. Focusing on popular print news outlets in Tunisia, we offer one of the first large-scale content analyses of gender differences in news coverage of elected politicians in the region. We focus on news reports of politicians elected in Tunisia’s 2014 parliamentary elections, where women secured roughly 30 percent of seats. Our results show disparities in both the amount and type of media coverage afforded to male and female parliamentarians. We situate these results within a broader discussion of women’s actual behavior in parliament and the media’s role in shaping perceptions of female leaders in the region.
Rural Intra-Elite Conflict, Colonization and Demands for Power-Sharing
Allison Spencer Hartnett, University of Southern California
We study how the rising economic power of a disenfranchised elite can increase its demand for de facto power-sharing in autocracies, and how the distribution of de jure political power may be altered by colonial rule. We draw on evidence from Khedival Egypt to argue that rural social conflicts can also lead to meaningful demands for power-sharing in agrarian autocracies. Like many cases in the Global South, Egypt’s modern economic development was tied to agricultural commodity booms driven by a globalizing economy and industrial demand from the Global North. This changing rural economy shifted power relations between incumbent agricultural elites and the rising rural bourgeoisie, particularly with regard to control over agricultural labor. We argue that acute social conflicts over rural labor – particularly in agriculturally productive localities – resulted in more rural bourgeoisie demands for de facto power-sharing in formal political institutions in the precolonial period. Colonization may subsequently suppress the representation of the rising elites in its quest for political stability. In our analysis, we employ a wide range of novel data sources on Members of Parliament (MPs) in 1824–1923, parliamentary minutes from 1868–1882, and 19th century Egyptian census data on labor coercion. We qualitatively document the rise in rural bourgeoisie demands for power-sharing within the parliament prior to the occupation. We then show quantitatively that the distribution of political power was fundamentally altered by colonial changes to the legislature after the British occupation of 1882.
How Assimilative School Education Affects Insurgency in Areas of Ethnic Conflict
Asli Cansunar, University of Washington; Tugba Bozcaga, King’s College London
Education is a public service, assumed to be highly valued by citizens, allowing politicians to use it to reward their co-ethnics. However, nation-states have also used education to create loyal citizens. When states seek to nation-build by blurring ethnic and religious divisions, primary schools constitute a powerful institution through which governments can apply significant pressure on minorities to learn the dominant group’s language or adopt their religious beliefs, thus promoting a state-sponsored ideal of national identity. On the one hand, to the extent it decreases social inequalities along class lines, educational investments in ethnic minority areas may serve to reduce the grievances of minority groups and reduce the probability of ethnic insurgency. On the other hand, particularly centralized education based on national curricula in the majority group’s language —commonly used by nation-states to create a national identity and assimilate ethnoreligious minorities—may create a backlash effect and facilitate ethnic insurgency. This project will investigate the conditions under which assimilatory national public investments in ethnic minority areas induce violence. To examine this question, we leverage the spatial and temporal variations in education infrastructure and insurgent recruitment through a difference-in-differences design, focusing on the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. The data employed in this project includes an original longitudinal dataset on village-level education infrastructure, an original dataset on the ethnoreligious distribution of over 30,000 villages in Turkey, and a dataset that provides information on insurgents’ birthplace.
Competing at the Root: Local Contention and Politics in Hybrid Regimes
Huseyin Emre Ceyhun, Princeton University; Hani Warith
How do local-level dynamics affect the trajectory of competitive authoritarian and other hybrid regimes? The literature on competitive authoritarianism has decisively established the ways in which incumbent leaders within such regimes have strategized to undermine democracy. In contrast, there are few theoretical tools and sparse empirical evidence on the impacts of local officials on the trajectories of hybrid regimes. We argue that mayors play a critical role in shaping Turkey’s regime, showing that supply-side dynamics, mainly AKP mayors’ motivation for seeking higher office and political conflict between the AKP and their rivals, create incentives for local level actors to transform Turkey’s associational landscape. Employing municipality-level evidence, we show that a dogged competition between the Justice and Development Party (the AKP) mayors and their political rivals has transformed the associational landscape in Turkey. Leveraging a regression discontinuity design, we analyze close elections and show that religious associations proliferate in the wake of AKP victories. When the Republican People’s Party (the CHP), the main secular opposition party, manage to capture office, we observe a growth in business and commercial associations. In contrast, we find limited evidence on demand-based explanations. Supplementing our main results with interviews and descriptive statistics based on legislative data, we illustrate the importance of these local level changes to the dynamics of the AKP regime more broadly.
Co-sponsored by Division 52: Migration & Citizenship
- (Chair) Louis DeSipio, University of California, Irvine
- (Discussant) Athena M. King, Old Dominion University
This panel explores the importance of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of varying classes of migrants and on the organizations attempting to assist them. COVID-19 did not just impact national government’s responses to immigration, it also significantly shaped the experiences of exclusion and inclusion of migrants on the ground and at varying levels of governance. This panel brings varying approaches and levels of analyses to uncover the varying ways that immigrants, immigrant serving organizations, local governments, and public perception about immigrants, were all impacted by COVID-19. Jennifer Martinez focuses on the importance of farmworkers in the United States as “essential workers” and documenting how their translocal and transnational networks offered critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennie Schulze explores the reactionary politics at the national level and the COVID-19 pandemic places new strains on immigrant communities and service organizations, looking at new migration settlement in suburban and rural areas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Robert Courtney Smith and Andres Besserer Rayas analyze highly COVID-impacted undocumented, Latinx, immigrant families in New York City COVID epicenters to study the impact of New York’s 2.1 billion dollar Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) – one of the few funds set up to support undocumented immigrants who were excluded from national funds – the health and wellbeing of different groups of immigrant populations. Turning to public opinion about immigrants, Megan Dias and Gregor Sharp employ a novel survey experiment to test whether the travel restrictions and border closures experienced by millions of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic affected their empathy for immigrants and the immigrant experience and led to a change in their attitudes towards immigration policies.
Care, Information, and Trust among Farmworkers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jennifer Martinez, Portland State University
Farmworkers face many barriers to accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate information. Many remain unincorporated from everyday civic life in the United States and distrust government institutions due to the fear of deportation or workplace retaliation. Yet, even with surmounting uncertainty, this segment of the population continued to labor during the pandemic after being labeled “essential workers”. I explore how this group exchanged information throughout the pandemic to best support their family “translocally” and transnationally. The paper introduces the concept of care remittances as a lens by which to understand the long-existing information networks that activated throughout the pandemic as a strategy for subsistence, secure public goods, and sustaining the well-being of their transnational families and communities. Through 300 surveys and 48 in-depth interviews with Oregon farmworkers, I find farmworkers used a variety of information channels, information brokers and were active organizational agents in their communities as a way to best protect their families and deal with daily structural vulnerabilities aggravated by the pandemic. I challenge the narratives farmworkers are information-poor. Instead, I argue that as a consequence of institutional policies that continue to exclude farmworkers, their knowledge, and their contributions, credible information is based on confianza and compromiso, or trust and a commitment. Understanding these deep knowledge flows can shed light on how governments can improve their information practices to better reach, recognize, and serve this critical population underpinning our global food system.
City of Bridges: Welcoming Newcomers to Pittsburgh during Times of Crisis
Jennie Schulze, Duquesne University
Substantial research on immigrant integration has been conducted in gateway cities, such as New York or Los Angeles, however foreign-born populations have been growing more quickly in suburbs and rural areas of the United State (Williamson 2018, 2), demanding attention to how local responses shape immigrant experiences in these new places (Massey 2008).2 This paper, which is part of a larger book project that compares the experiences of refugee youth and service organizations across rust belt cities in the United States, focuses on the city of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s steel and coal industries attracted a variety of immigrants to the region around the turn of the 20th century, who have left their mark on the city’s landscape through its patchwork of neighborhoods that have retained their distinct ethnic character (Carpenter 2016). However, the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s resulted in significant outmigration, a challenge further complicated by significant demographic decline in the city’s working age population. In 2014, Mayor William Peduto launched the “Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan,” which aimed to overcome that demographic deficit by attracting immigrants and refugees to the region. Today, the city is home to a more diverse immigrant population that includes sizeable refugee groups from non-European countries and a small but growing Latino population. The integration of immigrant communities happens “in place,” demanding attention to the evolution of policies and programs to serve immigrant communities, and the varied experiences of immigrant groups in this new immigrant destination. The large Bhutanese refugee community has enjoyed considerable success in organizing themselves and supporting the integration of their members, however smaller African communities have found themselves isolated and struggling to access resources, challenges that have been heightened in the wake of restrictive national policies and the COVID-19 pandemic. Through in-depth policy analysis at the city and county levels, interviews with city officials and immigrant serving organizations, as well focus group interviews with immigrant and refugee communities, this chapter addresses three interrelated questions: 1) How have the size and settlement patterns of different immigrant groups evolved since the adoption of the “Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative? 2) How have the policies, programs, and strategies of city government and immigrant serving organizations evolved to meet the needs of new immigrant communities and to encourage their integration? And 3) How have reactionary politics at the national level and the COVID-19 pandemic placed new strains on immigrant communities and service organizations, and what are the best practices that have emerged to encourage immigrant integration during times of crisis. In addressing these questions, the paper problematizes the intersection of policy with the varied experiences of immigrant groups that call Pittsburgh home. In doing so, it pays particular attention to marginalized and understudied groups, including refugee youth and undocumented populations, to better understand the challenges they are facing, their perceptions of receptivity, and how more intentional programing can encourage their integration. Carpenter, MacKenzie, “Sounds of Home in the Steel City,” The Pittsburgh Foundation, Spring 2016, at https://pittsburghfoundation.org/sounds_of_home. Williamson, Abigail Fisher, Welcoming New Americans? Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation (University of Chicago, 2018). Massey, Douglas S., ed, New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration (New York: Russel Sage, 2008).
Do Cities Create Citizens? Examining the Effects of City-Level Programs
Megan Dias, University of Texas at Austin
This paper uses a unique dataset of city policies and programs across the United States to examine whether the work cities across the country are doing to promote naturalization, and support immigrants on their path to citizens, leads to more immigrants becoming American citizens. There are currently over 9 million immigrants living in the United States who are eligible to become American citizens but have not yet gone through the process of acquiring citizenship. Understanding why these individuals have not become citizens is important, as immigrant naturalization is closely related to immigrant integration. By becoming a citizen, immigrants become better integrated in the social, political, and economic fabric of the United States. For this reason, scholars and practitioners alike have expressed concerns at the low naturalization rates in the U.S. However, while the national naturalization rate is relatively low, there exists significant variation across the country. In some cities, only 30% of eligible immigrants have become citizens. In other cities, over 70% have naturalized. Extending arguments that are typically made about national governments to the local level, I argue that the policies and programs that city governments have adopted to promote naturalization help explain this variation. I measure city programs with an original dataset created from a survey of 102 city bureaucrats who manage city programs that promote and support the naturalization process for immigrants. I find that cities that provide robust supports to immigrants on their path to citizenship have higher naturalization rates, all else equal, than those that provide more limited supports. These findings show that cities are helping to create citizens, and this helps explain the variation in the naturalization rates across the country. These findings deepen our understanding of the factors that influence immigrant naturalization, and raise broader questions about immigrant integration, and the role of cities are playing in this.
The Impacts of the Excluded Workers Fund on New York City Undocumented Parents
Robert Courtney Smith, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, and Sociology, Grad Center, CUNY; Andres Besserer Rayas, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Our project studies the impacts of the New York State (NYS) Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) and New York City (NYC) Cash Payments Program (CPP) on undocumented parents and their mostly (91% in Smith’s prior NYS study) US citizen children’s food security, health, and wellbeing. We gain leverage to analyze how the EWF and CPP poverty reduction policies affect food security, health, and child well-being by: 1) the exclusion from the Pandemic Relief Acts (e.g. the CARES Act) of undocumented and many “undocumented adjacent” USC adults and children, creating populations who differ only on legal status or links to undocumented parents; 2) by the limited funding of the CPP and EWF, creating populations of otherwise like, eligible, undocumented families who got/did not get these payments; and 3) comparing impacts of COVID for families where no one got sick or had only mild symptoms, with families where someone has serious long haul symptoms, was hospitalized, or died from COVID. Prior research and strong ethnographic relationships with “El Centro” (pseudonym; an immigrant led nonprofit serving mostly undocumented immigrants and their families) enabled us to reach highly COVID-impacted undocumented, Latinx, immigrant families in NYC COVID epicenters who confront risk to food, health, and wellbeing (and are not reached, especially not via internet or phone surveys). El Centro members lived in COVID epicenters (1 COVID death/243 people v 1/1804 Upper East Side in May 2020). Most research on the Pandemic Relief Acts (PRActs) will study how the pandemic disproportionately affects Black and Brown families, but not analyze how lacking legal status or living with a parent who lacks status also harms children’s food security, health, and wellbeing. The 2.1 billion dollar Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) was created (7-21) by New York State to support undocumented families excluded from the PRActs and offered onetime payments of $3200 to $15,600 (funds ran out 10-21). NYS’s EWF is bigger than CA’s $125 million fund (or others in WA, CO, or DC). CPP was an emergency program funded by NYC and foundations, giving $1000 to immigrant families ineligible for PRActs, during the pre-vaccine, economic free-fall, mid-2020 pandemic phase. We posit CPP/EWF payments helped bolster income, prevent homelessness, and prevent cascading harms to children’s wellbeing. Our research design compares these outcomes for people who were eligible and got/did not get EWF and CPP payments over a planned multi-year study. We will also be able to compare impacts for those who did not get COVID, who got it but recovered fully, and those who have long-haul symptoms. We will report results since 2020 at APSA. Smith and Besserer analyzed El Centro’s 6000-member survey in the pre-vaccine pandemic phase (done 4-20 to 8-20), showing worst phase impacts. We are re-contacting respondents in the 6000-person survey to track changes over time in income (which fell from $503/week to $146/week by July 2020) and savings (fell to $0 in 7-20), perceived risk of homelessness (75% 7-20), reported recovery from COVID (38% reported COVID symptoms 2020. We are doing surveys, interviews, focus groups, and ethnography.
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Olga V. Shvetsova, SUNY, Binghamton University
- (Discussant) Olga V. Shvetsova, SUNY, Binghamton University
- (Discussant) Andrei Zhirnov, University of Exeter
This panel consists of research papers that address a set of question s linking political institutions, party systems institutionalization, and the way in which democratically elected governments behaved in responding to the public health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The threat of a public health disaster became apparent to the governments in all countries at about the same time, even though eventual peaks of infection occurred at different times in different countries. Public health policies were the primary method to reduce the spread of infection both before and after the vaccine development, albeit of greater importance during the Non-Medical Intervention period of the year 2020. The public health solutions to the crisis were first limited to things political, and later supplemented to a great extent when more virulent variants of the virus some into play. The government incumbents have put in place protective public health policies ranging from instituting lockdowns to requiring the wearing of face covers. Protective policies were socially and economically costly, while their benefits were hard to ascertain in advance, and were to be observed more in the long run if at all. The pandemic thus presented the political incumbents worldwide with a choice situation in terms of what if any public health measures they would enact. This panel asks and answers questions about the effects of political institutions and the condition of party systems at national and subnational levels on the strategic behavior of politicians in public health policy making.
Institutionalization, Partisanship, and Public Opinion of COVID-19 Policies
Julie VanDusky-Allen, Boise State University
A growing body of literature is finding that citizens in democracies throughout the world rate their government’s response to COVID-19 higher if the executive is their co-partisan. Yet the extant literature on party system institutionalization suggests that the strength of partisan identification varies from country to country, and therefore the impact of partisanship on citizens’ evaluations of their governments’ responses to COVID-19 should vary cross-nationally. We should expect party identification to have a minimum impact on citizens’ evaluations of COVID-19 responses in countries where party systems are weakly institutionalized and a stronger impact in countries where party systems are strongly institutionalized. Using data from public opinion surveys throughout Latin America, data from the V-Dem dataset on party system institutionalization, and data from a unique dataset on government responses to COVID-19, we examine whether partisanship influences citizens’ views of how well their governments handled the pandemic.
Party Systems and COVID-19 Policies in Federations: Nigeria and South Africa
Onsel Gurel Bayrali, Binghamton University
This study argues that integrated party systems increase the elite-level coordination during the pandemic based on the cases of Nigeria and South Africa. Integrated party systems refer to electoral and organizational linkages between regional and national party elites. COVID-19 pandemic presented a situation when public health policies were necessary but incumbents at national and sub-national levels of government preferred for these policies to be issued by the other. Federal governments, in particular, could out-wait their sub-national counterparts and avoid making costly policies. I argue that where party systems were more integrated, the federal governments did more during the pandemic. I use the data on Nigeria and South Africa, which I collected and curated as a part of a novel data set on government-specific Protective Policy Indices (PPI) from the Binghamton University political science department Covid-19 Policy Response lab. Evidence shows that weak partisan linkages among the Nigerian political elites increase the policy burden on regional governments compared to their South African counterparts and also lead to the overall weaker policy response in the course of the year 2020. Variation in the level of integratedness of regional party systems with the national party system alters HOW? policy makers’ decisions across jurisdictions.
Institutional Underpinnings of COVID-19 Policy Making in Europe
Ezgi Muftuoglu, Binghamton University
Chinese authorities identified the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in January 2020. By early March, there were over 4000 cases in Europe (Spiteri et al. 2020) and governments were starting to see the disease a serious threat. The novelty of the disease, along with the array of possible manifestations—with symptoms ranging from nothing at all to severe pneumonia and death—meant that scientific understanding and advice regarding best practices were sometimes ambiguous and often changing as the case load increased and data and understanding improved. Under such circumstances it is to be expected that policy responses should differ across countries, as policy makers struggle to evaluate available advice in the face of difficult tradeoffs. In hindsight, however, some fifteen months after Europe saw its first recognized case, the early and perhaps understandable differences in governmental responses to the pandemic look surprisingly persistent even as the available advice from national and international health authorities has converged and stabilized. This consistency in the range of responses—and their efficacy—over time suggests systematic underpinnings to policy making in times of crisis just as for policy making under more normal circumstances. To gain insight into the drivers of policy-making in the face of the COVID-19 threat, we examine breadth and severity of initial governmental measures to contain the disease from January through April 2020 in Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Spain. Initial analysis suggests that many of the usual suspects in institutional analysis—system type, electoral rules, and state territorial structure—provide little leverage on either government policy response or health outcomes. We focus here on coalition dynamics and in particular the interdependencies between ministries (and ministers’ parties; Alexiadou 2015) in pandemic policy making.
COVID-19 Policies and Outcomes in the United Kingdom and the United States
Ezgi Muftuoglu, Binghamton University; Michael Anthony Catalano, Binghamton University, SUNY
The COVID-19 pandemic response displayed a stark contrast in the capacity of unitary and federal systems to combat emergent crises. This institutional contrast played out in comparisons between the United States and the United Kingdom where, despite having national leaders who were overtly dismissive of COVID-19, the ability (or inability) of other levels of government to respond lead to variation in policy and public health outcomes. This paper tracks these policy and public health outcomes based on institutional variation in responses to the pandemic. We argue that the federal nature of the United States allowed state-level policymakers to enact “correct” policies when national-level policymakers did not, resulting in better public health outcomes. Meanwhile, the unitary government structure in the United Kingdom gave subnational policymakers little say in the pandemic response. Less effective policies by the national government could not be corrected in the United Kingdom, leading to worse public health outcomes compared to most of the United States.
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas
- (Presenter) Stephen Macedo, Princeton University
- (Presenter) Jonathan Collins, Brown University
- (Presenter) Will Reilly, Kentucky State University
- (Presenter) Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania
Pluralism dominated late 20th century U.S. political science (Merelman, 2003), and arguably politics, for better (Maranto, 2005; Truman, 1951) or worse (Lowi, 1979). In the 21st Century, academic fields and broader politics in western societies face serious challenges from both the partially populist right (Applebaum, 2021; Galston, 2018) and the postmodern left (Lukianoff & Haidt, 2018; Pluckrose & Lindsay, 2020). Here, we seek to model pluralistic dialogue in examining Critical Race Theory and related intellectual movements including the Pulitzer Prize Winning 1619 Project, and, as well as partially populist (though perhaps elite led) efforts in at least 28 states to restrict teaching of these approaches and their integration into k-12 public school curricula (Stout & LeMar-LeMee, 2021).
In many respects these sorts of education curricular controversies are nothing new, and arguably represent a healthy democratic system in which interest groups clash, ideas are debated, and in which federalism sometimes defuses conflict by permitting adjustment to local norms and values (Zimmerman, 2002, 2022). Arguably, what is new is the tendency for political activists on the left and right to simplify and intensify issues on social media, precluding negotiation and compromise, which center healthy democratic processes (Lukianoff & Haidt, 2018). These tendencies have no doubt been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced interpersonal contact in schools and other mediating institutions (works in Marshall, forthcoming 2022).
Here, we propose a roundtable to explore the 2021-22 debate over CRT, how it fits into our broader education policy traditions, and how to develop norms of dialogue and negotiation going forward. This fits with the broader meeting theme of attempting to rethink, restructure, and reconnect political discourse post-COVID.
We have assembled an outstanding, ideologically diverse collection of thinkers to discuss these issues. Richard Delgado is widely considered among the founders of CRT, and with Jean Stefancic recently authored the third edition of the acclaimed Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (NYU Press, 2017). Jonathan Zimmerman has written widely on the history of culture wars in public education, most notably Whose America: Culture Wars in the Public Schools (second edition, 2022 Chicago). Jonathan Collins has written widely on race and public education, including works in APSR and Political Behavior, and is a columnist for Education Week. Stephen Macedo has written widely on education, ethics, public policy, and law, and is the President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. Jeffrey Henig has written numerous books and articles on education policy and been elected a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Wilfred Reilly has written for both scholarly and popular audiences on a range of race and public policy related issues, emphasizing the importance of empirical approaches.
Co-sponsored by Division 54: Ideas, Knowledge, and Politics and The Society for Greek Political Thought
Unexpected world events have the potential to unsettle previously unquestionable socio-political conventions; COVID-19 is one such event. Quarantine orders and travel restrictions reintroduced us to a time of radical isolation, interrupting an era of seemingly limitless opportunities for personal interconnectivity and unmediated communication. What was once ‘normal’ is now called into question. The unsettled reality brought on by the pandemic may reflect enduring political issues and tensions. When times change and scholars must reconsider how they conceive of politics, it is fruitful to look to the past as much as the future. For better or worse, history serves as the testing ground of ideas, and the history of political thought its laboratory. Delving into classical understandings of
politics generates new insights into how political life was imagined in the past, and how it might be re-imagined as the new post-pandemic world unfolds.
This mini-conference brings together an intergenerational forum of scholars to consider the study and teaching of ancient political thought in a post-pandemic political science. Our twenty-nine participants come from varied academic backgrounds, represent seventeen institutions, and span four generations. Together, we seek to create a space for necessary conversations about the future of political theory, the history of political thought broadly, and how lessons from the past can help guide us through uncertain times.
We begin with our first panel, “Classical Reimaginations: Shaping Political Reality and Public Ethos.” These five papers discuss how the concept of political life was first developed in ancient Greece and Rome, including the ideals and contested notions of justice it raised, the practices underpinning public debate, and the private ambitions which public politics fomented or unleashed. Turning to Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and Cicero, the presenters explore not only the contours and content of the political sphere in the past, but also how ancient ideas about public life were taken up and transformed by later thinkers in the medieval and modern periods. Through reflecting on antiquity, the presenters will illuminate new possibilities for the ethics of discourse and ambit of political action as we seek to shape and re-shape the politics of the new, uncertain, post-pandemic reality.
We then turn to a roundtable on “The Plagues of Antiquity: Rupture and Continuity in Post- pestilence Politics.” Our participants explore the ways in which ancient thinkers responded to disease. Despite the advances in science and medicine we enjoy today, the start of COVID-19 forced us to confront the limits of human knowledge and the unpredictability of the natural world. This roundtable seeks insight into the ways that plagues destabilized and altered politics, as well as how the memory of such outbreaks influenced justifications for changes in state power, conceptions of desire and the good, and the relationship between science and society.
Our second roundtable, “Teaching Ancient Political Thought to (Post-)Modern Students,” addresses a challenge faced by all scholars of the history of political thought: making ideas of the past accessible and engaging in today’s classrooms. As avowedly critical modes of inquiry become more prominent among students, questions about the relevance of the ancient world to modern life, the necessity of theoretical learning, and the morality of engaging with ideas that challenge contemporary views about justice become louder. Educators must answer these challenges, encouraging students to interact with antiquity as something more than an onomasticon of elite men or a syllabus of errors. We must show that the classical world is neither the font of all wisdom, nor the headwaters of all folly. This roundtable discusses the tensions between critique and understanding, engagement and approbation, and theory as a living body and a historical phenomenon.
Finally, we conclude with our second panel on “Classical Reimaginations: Happiness, Longing, and Political Stability.” Hoping to offer reflections that might guide us through our current times, this panel investigates ancient conceptions of the relationship between politics, (in)stability, and the pursuit of our deepest longings. The five presentations consider Aristotle’s notions of happiness, Platonic eros, the impact of plague on Athenian society, and how lessons from the ancient world were transformed by later thinkers including Augustine, Lucretius, and Thomas Hobbes. By examining the many desiderata of politics, these papers explore the relationship between the desire for immortality, the quest for enduring happiness, and the basic drives of the human psyche.
Conference Organizers: Rachel Wagner, Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto; Joseph Dattilo, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto
Panel I: Classical Reimaginations: Shaping Political Reality and Public Ethos
Full Paper Panel
The public sphere undergirds political discourse, shaping what can be said, sought, and achieved by political actors. However, the public sphere does not arise ex nihilo, it is created, sustained, and shaped by political acts and discourse. A curious case of co-causality thus arises: how do actors shape the public sphere which in turn shapes their actions? The five papers on this panel help shed light on that question and discuss how the concept of political life was first developed in ancient Greece and Rome, including the ideals and contested notions of justice it raised, the practices underpinning public debate, and the private ambitions to which public politics gave rise. Turning to Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and Cicero, the presenters explore not only the contours and content of the political sphere in the past, but also how ancient ideas about public life were then taken up and transformed by later thinkers in the medieval and modern eras. Through reflecting on antiquity, the presenters will illuminate new possibilities for the ethics of discourse and ambit of political action as we seek to shape and re-shape the politics of the new, uncertain, post-pandemic reality.
- (Chair) Mark J. Lutz, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- (Discussant) Nate Gilmore, University of Texas at Austin
- (Discussant) John Wallach, City University of New York (CUNY)
An Appeal to Public Humanism through Plutarch
Rebecca Kingston, University of Toronto
In this paper, I offer reflection on the tradition of public humanism stemming in part from early modern reception of Plutarch (as presented in more detail in my forthcoming monograph Plutarch’s Prism: Classical Reception and Public Humanism in France and England 1500-1800). It could be suggested that more modern strands of political practice and reflection have often overshadowed that legacy with greater focus on procedures, institutions and means to best to measure the popular will. With a shift of focus in historical terms, I offer an assessment of key features of that earlier tradition in which the reception of Plutarch, as author of both the Lives and Moral Essays, played a central part.
The distinctive features of that earlier tradition of public humanism (for which figures such as Erasmus, More, Seyssel, Bacon and Montaigne were central) included attention to the special moral psychology of public life and the ways the character (or the isolated virtues) of public figures can be relevant to their exercise of public responsibility. It also included a sense of the enduring importance of a concept of public good for political life. I argue that certain distilled aspects of that tradition are worth both focusing on and retaining in the contemporary context.
Bridging the Divide: A Consideration of Justice in the Works of Aristotle and Hobbes
Shal Marriot, Carleton University
Is the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns still relevant to the history of political thought today? This paper will argue that although it provides an interesting framing for discussion, the debate itself has rested on assumptions, which when analyzed do not hold up to scrutiny. Particularly on the question of political obligations. I will begin by analyzing the works of the 19th century thinker who helped to popularize the debate in political science, Benjamin Constant. Constant articulated what he perceived to be the fundamental differences between ancient and modern
conceptions of liberty, in his lecture The Liberty of Ancients Compared with that of Moderns. Although Constant was not the first to engage in this debate, his remarks have had a significant impact on scholars, who continue to draw a bright line between ancient and modern political thought.
This divide has had particular focus on the question of what citizens owe to a political community. However, this divide is not as clear concerning the question of political obligation as has previously been thought. I subsequently turn to question the account Constant provides of the differences of political obligations by analyzing two of the foremost thinkers of ancient and modern political thought respective: Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes. By looking at how they conceptualize political society, as grounded in human nature, and the respective accounts of justice and the rule of law they detail in their political works, I will demonstrate how they share in common a crucial thread within political justice that issues a strong challenge to Constant. Although both thinkers have indisputable differences in how they understand political society, they both value the upholding of a particular standard of political justice within it, committing citizens to a standard of behavior towards one another. By demonstrating the way Aristotle and Hobbes share a sense of political obligation in common, political scientists will be better positioned to question other ways in which the division between ancient and modern political thought has obscured concerns which philosophers writing in
both periods shared and the relevance of those concerns to a greater understanding of the history of political thought.
Classical Thought and the Birth of the Political
Robert A. Ballingall, University of Maine
Why was the classical city so very good to think with? What if anything distinguishes the political thought that it inspired? The usual answer points to its utopianism. Classical thought seems uniquely preoccupied with the lofty ends implied by ordinary politics, especially as these culminate in the virtues. The moderns repudiate these “imaginary principalities,” or so the story goes, preferring to go directly to the effectual truth. The medievals meanwhile might remain utopians, but the bent of their political thinking would seem more otherworldly, even than Plato’s. Taking a broad view of the subject, I argue that this characterization, while roughly true, misses more basic—and in some ways more fruitful—features of classical political thought. These have to do with the very concept of the political and the political way of life. Drawing on a range of classical sources, I show that Greekthinkers in particular understood “the political” as the collective pursuit of a common good, to be distinguished from the self-interested domination of a despot or tyrant. But I argue that this understanding—though certainly “normative”—is not necessarily utopian. The good pursued in common by one city can require visiting evils on another. That which is believed to be good for the city can in fact be bad. And the very belief that something is good for the whole can be weaponized by mendacious parts. I suggest that it is these “realist” aspects of the political that classical thought especially emphasizes, not in spite but because of its basic normative understanding.
‘Naked’ Speech in Late Republican Rome
Rob Goodman, Ryerson University
This paper offers evidence for the existence of a distinctively populist rhetoric in the late Roman republic. My argument challenges claims that the republic was characterized by “ideological monotony,” in which populares and optimates alike gestured toward populist themes. On the contrary, I argue that we can trace the outlines not only of a popularis ideology, but of a popularis style—a style that is grounded in important, contestable assumptions about the relationship between orator and audience, and between the various institutions of republican politics. While attempts to reconstruct this style are hampered by the Ciceronian bias of the sources, I approach Roman populist rhetoric through a method of triangulation. If the relatively unknown variable is the speech of Cicero’s popularis or popularis-adjacent enemies, including Catiline, Clodius, and Marcus Antonius, the better-known variables are the rhetorical practices of Cicero’s somewhat friendlier rivals—in particular, the “Atticist” orators and Caesar. Cicero discusses the speech of all of these figures with a common conceptual vocabulary, centering on the idea that his enemies’ speech is nudus, or “naked.” Cicero consistently (if polemically) casts populist speech as lacking in artifice and control, more a product of nature than of human craft.
Cicero conceives of stylistic diversity as a means by which the orator demonstrates responsiveness to the audience—qualities that the populares evidently minimized through the pursuit of comparatively unaffected speech. Why would a politician intent on securing popular support want to minimize responsiveness? A refusal to accommodate can itself send a powerful signal: that the speaker’s identification with the people, as embodied in the popular assemblies, is so complete that no accommodation is required. Cicero, by contrast, strives to make visible the sheer difficulty of rhetorical responsiveness, drawing an analogy between “mixed speech” and mixed government.
The Corruption of Love: Books VIII & IX of Plato’s Republic
Max Morris, University of Toronto
Books VII and IX of Plato’s Republic detail the various stages of the degeneration of the regime and soul from their best condition (the Kallipolis and philosopher) to their worst (tyranny and the tyrant). However, a relatively recent trend has emerged in the scholarship that asserts the proximity between the tyrant and the philosopher. If tyranny is simply the inevitable conclusion of a process of degeneration, how can philosophy have anything to do with it? This puzzle is often either overlooked or incompletely resolved by those scholars who affirm the association between the philosopher and the tyrant.
In support of the general idea that the philosopher and the tyrant are intimately related in Plato’s work, I seek to resolve this puzzle by providing a genetic account of the corruption of the tyrannical soul. I argue that the origin of the corruption of the tyrannical soul is a set of social and political circumstances, rather than an inherently evil or licentious nature, as some scholars suppose. In other words, the tyrant is not naturally evil but is, rather, made evil. If we take seriously Socrates’ claim that only those with an exceptional, philosophic nature are capable of doing great good or great evil, his identification of the tyrant as “the worst man” indicates, conversely, that he is equipped with the best nature. This would seem to indicate that the tyrant-to-be has a natural eros for wisdom. Yet, all we read about the tyrant is that he is possessed by a “lawless” eros primarily for sexual gratification. Assuming that this constitutes an erotic transformation in the soul of the tyrant, I focus on three pivotal moments in it: first, the tyrant-to-be grows up under the laissez-faire instruction of his democratic father, who does not impose any moral strictures that his son is compelled to adhere to for fear of punishment or public shame; second, he is filled with hubris and the desire to satisfy antisocial appetites, such as cannibalism, by others who wish to use the boy to further their own political interests; finally, the public having arrogated political power to him, he orders the murder of some of his fellow countrymen. While radical freedom, an eros that frustrates the social order, and even hatred of one’s fellows may be associated with the philosopher, a well-ordered regime precludes their public expression, and this (paradoxically) prevents the transmutation of eros for wisdom into lawless sexual eros.
Panel II: The Plagues of Antiquity: Rupture and Continuity in Post-pestilence Politics
In this roundtable, our participants explore the ways in which ancient thinkers responded to disease. Despite the advances in science and medicine we enjoy today, the start of COVID-19 forced us to confront the limits of human knowledge and the unpredictability of the natural world. This roundtable seeks insight into the ways that plagues destabilized and altered politics, as well as how the memory of such outbreaks influenced justifications for changes in state power, conceptions of desire and the good, and the relationship between science and society.
- (Chair) Rachel Wagner, University of Toronto
- (Presenter) Daniel Schillinger, Yale University
- (Presenter) Larissa Atkison, Dalhouise University
- (Presenter) David Polansky, University of Toronto
- (Presenter) Daniel J. Kapust, Faculty, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- (Presenter) Lindsay Mahon Rathnam, Duke Kunshan University
- (Presenter) Clifford Orwin, University of Toronto
Panel III: Teaching Classical Political Thought to (Post-)Modern Students
This roundtable addresses a challenge faced by all scholars of the history of political thought: making ideas of the past accessible and engaging in today’s classrooms. As avowedly critical modes of inquiry become more prominent among students, questions about the relevance of the ancient world to modern life, the necessity of theoretical learning, and the morality of engaging with ideas that challenge contemporary views about justice become louder. Educators must answer these challenges, encouraging students to interact with antiquity as something more than an onomasticon of elite men or a syllabus of errors. We must show that the classical world is neither the font of all wisdom, nor the headwaters of all folly. This roundtable discusses the tensions between critique and understanding, engagement and approbation, and theory as a living body and a historical phenomenon.
- (Chair) Joseph Dattilo, University of Toronto
- (Presenter) Ryan Balot, University of Toronto
- (Presenter) Joel Schlosser, Bryn Mawr College
- (Presenter) Seth Jaffe, John Cabot University
- (Presenter) Ella Street, Cornell University
- (Presenter) Naomi T. Campa, University of Texas at Austin
- (Presenter) Bernard J. Dobski, Assumption University
- (Presenter) Matthew D. Dinan, St. Thomas University
- (Presenter) Lincoln Rathnam, Duke Kunshan University
Panel IV: Classical Reimaginations: Happiness, Longing, and Political Stability
Full Paper Panel
The COVID-19 Pandemic has revealed anew a maxim of political and social life that had nearly slipped from collective consciousness in the 21st century: instant gratification of our desires is not always possible. Disrupted supply chains cannot immediately satisfy every material whim; stay-at-home orders frustrate social spontaneity; fear of illness and death forces us to rethink our ambitions and desires. Hoping to offer reflections that might guide us through our current times, this panel investigates ancient conceptions of the relationship between politics, (in)stability, and the pursuit of our deepest longings. The five presentations consider Aristotle’s notions of happiness, Platonic eros, the impact of plague on Athenian society, and how lessons from the ancient world were transformed by later thinkers including Augustine, Lucretius, and Thomas Hobbes. By examining the many desiderata of politics, these papers explore the relationship between the desire for immortality, the quest for enduring happiness, and the basic drives of the human psyche.
- (Chair) Dan Schillinger, Yale University
- (Discussant) Zachariah Black, University of Toronto
- (Discussant) Abbie LeBlanc, Harvard University
“Felicity” and “Makarismos”: Hobbes on Happiness and His Ancient Sources
Erfan Xia, University of Toronto
This paper argues that for Hobbes, human happiness is achieved through our recognition of the limitation of the power of every one of us and entering a political society. According to Hobbes, what is good is what one happens to desire, and it vacillates with one’s changing desires. Without a conception of consistent or absolute human good, Hobbes nevertheless has a conception of happiness or a good life which we can find in his definition of “felicity” as continual satisfaction of momentary desires. Scholars take this conception of happiness to confirm their interpretation that the fundamental human pursuit in Hobbes is the pursuit of power after power, as they assume that accumulation of power is the only or best way to achieve continual satisfaction of momentary desires. This paper challenges this reading. Right after presenting his opinion on “felicity” in chapter 6 of Leviathan, Hobbes tells us there is a Greek word “makarismos”— “that whereby they signify the opinion they have of a man’s felicity”, a simple translation of which is “congratulation”. Through examining the cases of “congratulation” in Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, and Polybius, we see that the ignorant and the proud hold the opinion that happiness is to have ever more wealth and power while the moderate figures, who recognize the power of fortune and the limitation of human power either through wisdom or experience, expose the hybris underlying the understanding of happiness of the ignorant and the proud. As Hobbes calls our attention to these warnings against the hubristic and unrealistic pursuit of happiness as having ever more power, this paper proposes a different reading of the implication of Hobbes’ “felicity”. Continual satisfaction of momentary desires could be achieved by entering a political state where individuals’ desires are coordinated and shaped so that people do not need to overpower others to satisfy themselves.
Imagining Two Plagues: Hobbes, Thucydides, and Lucretius
Daniel J. Kapust, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thomas Hobbes’s first published work under his own name was his 1628 translation of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. A remarkable achievement on his part, Thucydides’ text – and especially Thucydides’ account of the plague that struck Athens in 430 BCE – deeply influence Hobbes’s writings, and his account of the natural condition of mankind in particular. Yet Thucydides’ account of the plague was not the only one Hobbes would have been familiar with, for he also knew Lucretius, at least by the 1640s. What does a comparative study of Thucydides’ Greek text and Lucretius’ Latin poem tell us about Hobbes’s thought? This question is the focus of this paper, which explores Hobbes’s imagination of the natural condition of mankind in his three systematic works – Elements, De Cive, and Leviathan – in light of these two plague narratives.
Platonic Eros vs. Augustinian Caritas: The Turn from Immortality to Eternity
Joseph Dattilo, University of Toronto; Rachel Wagner, University of Toronto
Throughout the history of political thought, longing has played a central role in conceptions of the human mind and moral psychology – with two of the most influential (and seemingly opposed) accounts deriving from Plato and Augustine. Platonic eros, as glimpsed throughout Symposium and Republic, stems from a lack which might be pacified through corporeal pleasure, political pursuit, or philosophy. The Augustinian account, by contrast, explicitly denigrates bodily longings in favour of divine love. In this paper, we compare Plato’s eros with Augustine’s two forms of love, cupiditas and caritas. First, we aim to elucidate the Platonic conception of eros as a mortal longing for immortality – arguing that within Plato’s account, this longing manifests in different ways, ranging from bodily desire to the love of wisdom which drives the philosopher. Moving from the philosophical to the theological, we turn to Augustine, principally asking whether his notion of desire or love is at all analogous to eros. Within Confessions and the Cassiciacum Dialogues, we see a connection between Augustine’s personal encounters with sexuality and his conception of divine love. Despite his denigration of bodily pleasure, and his stark differentiation between the two loves, we suggest that Augustine’s personal ascent from cupiditas to caritas might reflect the philosopher’s journey depicted in Plato’s Symposium. Caritas goes far beyond eros, however, in terms of the object it seeks; for Augustine, the immortal pales in comparison to the eternal. Moreover, we suggest that Plato and Augustine differ in the role free choice plays in the formation of worthy desires; for Augustine, all that which is chosen in the absence of divine grace is perverse, and caritas stems from something external rather than the human psyche alone. By contrast, Platonic eros emerges from the individual’s perpetual lack, rather than divine compulsion. We conclude in considering whether these differences regarding the role of lack and longing in his account of the human soul reflect Augustine’s larger departures from Plato and Greek political thought broadly.
Reconciling the Space between Us: Eros, Identity, and Sexual Ethics in Plato’s Symposium
Kelsey Gordon, University of Toronto
In Plato’s Symposium, each speaker gives an account of eros/desire that reflects their identity, be it as a beloved, a lover, doctor, comedian, poet, or philosopher, suggesting that erotic attachments participate in and inform our sense of self and who we are in relation to others. This includes how we evaluate and are evaluated by others, how we arrange our social relationships, and who gets to speak and when. Crucially, women are not present to speak in the symposium, yet one, Diotima, appears in memory and speech through Socrates’ retelling of her account of eros. Famously, Socrates claims that he knows nothing but erotics, and that he learned this wisdom from Diotima. Through these speeches Symposium reveals a series of theoretical and practical tensions that emerge because of differing erotic attachments. These tensions range from questions about the good possible in sexual relationships to the outright denial of the value of the embodied self by allowing eros to guide us to seeking value beyond human life. In this last instance, eros detaches from sexual, social, and cultural institutions, which raises an important question about whether allowing eros to guide us ultimately undermines the possibilities of living together, despite originating out of these very relationships. We see this detachment most clearly in the severed relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades, which leaves them separated in different spaces, Socrates in the metaphysical and Alcibiades in the physical. I conceptualize this erotic problem as disconnected space and suggest that the disconnection emerges when eros is singular in its pursuits. In this paper I explore the possibilities for reconciling these spaces by taking the gendered dimensions of Diotima’s speech seriously, emphasizing duality, movement, and transformation in her
account of eros.
Platonic Eros and the Desires of Consumer Capitalism
John Wallach, City University of New York (CUNY)
Desire has become highly politicized in the 21st century as media infused by capitalist, governmental, and social agents not only seek to make us who we are but are able to do so in deep and unprecedented ways – probably more significantly than traditional ideologies because of their reach inside our minds. In this respect, we have come full circle to Plato’s treatment of eros – which he and Athenians more generally understood as both a personal and political phenomenon. Drawing on Plato’s dialogues, particularly the Phaedrus and Symposium, I shall identify the principal characteristics of Platonic eros as a personal and political phenomenon and then put them in dialogue with contemporary concerns about the politics of desire. In addition to Plato’s works and their contextual significance, I shall bring other major Western political writers into this conversation – keeping in mind the inflection of their words by their historical contexts and ours – e.g., Augustine, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Marx, and Marcuse.
Co-sponsored by Division 32: Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Full Paper Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Pei-te Lien, University of California Santa Barbara
- (Discussant) Tyler Thomas Reny, Claremont Graduate University
Asian Americans, the fastest-growing racial group in the US, are exerting a growing influence on American politics, urging scholars to examine their political behavior. In addition, the dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic calls for renewed attention to deep-seated anti-Asian racism and its long-term political consequences. This panel brings together scholars whose works explore the factors that shape Asian American political behavior, ethno-racial identities, and the political implications of growing anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. In her paper, Tanika Raychaudhuri analyzes the process of political learning among Asian Americans, experimentally testing whether Asian Americans develop partisan views through political endorsements from peer networks. Jennifer Wu empirically assesses the implications of local demographics for pan-Asian racial identity and the downstream consequences of racial identification for political behavior. In their co-authored paper, Jae Yeon Kim, Joan Cho, and D.G. Kim explore the political underpinnings of pan-Asian racial identity, testing whether Asian Americans’ views toward home country politics and shared marginalized status influence feelings of group consciousness. Finally, Nathan Kar Ming Chan and Vivien Leung explore the political consequences of growing anti-Asian sentiments amid the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing the role of the racial attitudes in shaping Americans’ vote choices between 2008 and 2020. These papers draw on a varied range of theoretical perspectives, empirical data, and methods to explore questions at the intersection of racial identification, anti-Asian sentiment, and Asian American political behavior. Taken together, this research has important implications for understanding contemporary American politics.
The Effects of Peer Political Endorsements on Asian Americans’ Partisan Views
Tanika Raychaudhuri, University of Houston
Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial group in the US, are voting for Democrats at high levels. According to exit polls, most Asian Americans voted for Democrats in every presidential election since 2000. What explains Asian Americans’ vote choices? More generally, how do Asian Americans develop partisan views? I seek to answer these questions, developing and testing a theory grounded in partisan influence from peer networks. The theory, which I call “social transmission,” predicts that immigrants and their children develop partisan orientations through the diffusion of views from peers, rather than through the family. Using a survey experiment, I will explore whether political endorsements from peer networks have a causal effect on Asian Americans’ partisan attitudes. Specifically, I test whether learning that their peers support a political proposal attributed to either the Democratic or Republican Party makes Asian American college students express greater support for that party. In an experiment conducted on Asian American and non-Asian students at a public university, I will manipulate the partisan direction of policy statements about higher education and whether members of the respondent’s known peer groups endorse the message. The results will have important implications for understanding partisan acquisition and political learning among Asian Americans and other immigrant groups.
Local Determinants of Identity Salience and Political Engagement among Asians
This paper aims to understand the importance of one’s community in shaping one’s racialized and political identity. In particular, I examine local determinants and characteristics that explain how Asians in the United States come to understand the concepts of “Asian” and “Asian American” and the political consequences of the construction of these identities. I develop a novel measure of Asian group density in geographic localities, capturing the relative group size of Asians and the relative group size of Asian national origin groups in a given area. These measures attempt to capture the importance of community in contributing and structuring one’s political preferences. I combine these measures with existing survey and administrative data on Asian political attitudes and behavior to identify the relationship between one’s community and the salience of one’s pan-ethnic identity on affecting political behavior and attitudes. I aim to answer two questions. First, what are the underlying factors that potentially explain why some individuals identify more (or less) strongly as Asian. Second, how this might subsequently affect their political engagement and propensity to vote, particularly for an Asian candidate? This study contributes to prior work on Asian political behavior by identifying salient macro-level factors that potentially explain the variation in turnout rates among different Asian national origin groups.
How Home Country and Host Society Identity Politics Conflict
Jae Yeon Kim, KDI School of Public Policy and Management; Joan E. Cho, Wesleyan University; D.G. Kim, University of California, San Diego; Taeku Lee, Harvard University
In the United States, immigrants from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are conflated as Chinese by the Census bureau. These people have also been subject to the xenophobia that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies argue that sharing marginalized racial status would generate race-based group consciousness and political identity. We argue that the literature underestimates the extent to which these immigrants view host society through home country politics. We test this argument using a survey experiment on U.S. immigrants from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. We find weak evidence that priming marginalized racial status generates race-based group consciousness and political identity. By contrast, we show strong evidence that priming the differences of their home country regimes strengthens national or regional identity-based group consciousness and political identity. More importantly, when we used both stimuli, racial marginalization became substantially less critical to our outcomes of interest. The findings urge scholars to pay greater attention to home country politics to understand immigrant incorporation and their political attitude and identity formation in the host society.
Co-sponsored by Division 19: International Security
Full Paper Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Joshua D. Kertzer, Harvard University
- (Discussant) Sonal S. Pandya, University of Virginia
- (Discussant) Joshua D. Kertzer, Harvard University
Against the backdrop of growing nativism and racialized conflicts in countries around the world, IR scholars are beginning to contemplate the role of race and racism – long considered as purely domestic issues – in shaping foreign policies and key facets of international security. This panel contributes to the emerging scholarship on race and racism in international relations, with a focus on international security. We bring together scholars who advance diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to the subject, ranging from critical International Relations and qualitative case studies to the quantitative study of public opinion surveys and experiments. Zoltán I. Búzás theoretically engages how race factors into reputation costs in IR, exploring the role of concerns about appearing (non-)racist in shaping US nuclear policy in the 1950s and information campaigns during the Cold War. Yoon Jin Lee draws from insights in critical International Relations to discuss the theoretical and practical implications of racial underpinnings for democratic credibility. David Ebner explores the racial microfoundation of foreign security policy preferences, demonstrating the key role white identity and racial conservatism in shaping public support for U.S. defense spending. Finally, D.G. Kim highlights the increasing racialization of contemporary U.S.-China relations, with a focus on how the Chinese media discuss growing anti-Asian racism in the United States and the effects of such political rhetoric on Chinese public support for hawkish foreign policies.
Race and Reputation in International Security
Zoltan I. Buzas, University of Notre Dame
Do concerns about appearing racist matter in international security? What is the impact of such concerns, if any, on US foreign policy? These questions are especially timely in the context of the Black Lives Matter protests, the proliferation of white supremacist groups in the US, and increased Sino-American competition for allies in the Global South. International Relations (IR) has little to say about these timely questions even as it has examined similar reputational concerns, such as those about appearing irresolute. This paper combines the reputation literature in international security with interdisciplinary studies of race to articulate a racial reputational account that addresses these questions. It fleshes out the main elements of the reputational concern of appearing racist. It then explains how under specific conditions this concern shapes US foreign policy by (1) leading to rhetorical reputation management that aims to burnish the country’s racial reputation as anti-racist or at least non-racist; and (2) by providing incentives to refrain from behaviors seen as racist by the relevant audience. The paper illustrates these arguments in two case studies: the Korean War (1950-53) and the first two Taiwan Strait Crises (1954-55 and 1958). It shows that racial reputational concerns reinforced US nuclear non-use, because nuclear bombing was widely seen as racist in Asia after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These concerns also nudged US decisionmakers to launch information campaigns to improve the United States’ racial reputation, a key issue in the Cold War competition with Communists for Asian allies. The paper concludes with promising future research avenues.
Race, Culture, and Trust in Democratic Credibility
Yoon Jin Lee, Wellesley College Department of Political Science
Democratic credibility is considered a key aspect in signaling resolve in various strategic settings of interstate bargaining. The notion rests on political accountability and domestic audience costs that make backing down in salient international negotiations very costly to the democratic national leader. Building on incisive insights in critical International Relations scholarship, I argue that this belief in democratic credibility is strong and taken-for-granted in Western democracies, particularly within the Anglosphere, due to the higher levels of general trust in democracy and general distrust in authoritarianism. In democracies outside of the Anglosphere and in varieties of authoritarian regimes, where there are lower levels of general distrust in authoritarianism, the key variable of an actor’s resolve in interstate bargaining may not necessarily depend on self-governance and the democratic regime type. In this paper, I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of racial and cultural underpinnings for democratic credibility.
Race, Racism, and Public Support for U.S. Defense Spending
David Brooks Ebner, University of Delaware
The United States federal government budgeted $705 billion for defense in 2021 – outpacing its closest competitor, China, by nearly $500 billion. Despite a seeming lack of bipartisan consensus on virtually any other issue in American politics, our two major parties, along with the support of their voters, routinely agree to these large expenditures regardless of which party controls the presidency or congress. Politicians in the United States, by virtue of being a democracy, rely on the public to support spending a large portion of their tax dollars on defense. While studies find that majorities of Americans support current spending and defense policy, the story is more complex. This paper advances the argument that race and racism play a central role in shaping the attitudes and opinions of the American public. Using data from the ANES (1986-2020) I find that white Americans who express a strong attachment to their racial identity, those who believe their political fates are tied to other Whites, and those who reject racial progress are all significantly more likely to support high levels of defense spending. The findings of this study make significant contributions to our understanding of both white racial identity and public opinion regarding foreign policy in the world’s most powerful military power.
Anti-Asian Racism and Chinese Public Support for Hawkish Foreign Policies
D.G. Kim, University of California, San Diego
The recent rise in anti-Asian hate incidents in the United States has sparked debates on issues of domestic racial justice and deep-seated racism against Asian Americans. IR scholars have paid little attention to how growing anti-Asian racism might affect contemporary U.S.-China relations and more specifically, how the issue potentially shapes foreign policy discourses and public opinion in China. In this paper, I first investigate the way the government-sponsored media in China discuss growing anti-Asian racism in the United States. I focus on how Chinese elite rhetoric frames the issue as the manifestation of white supremacy and as the extension of U.S.-led efforts to contain the rise of an adversarial Asian power. Second, I field a series of survey experiments to assess the impact of such top-down political rhetoric on Chinese public support for hawkish foreign policies, ranging from Chinese military actions in the South China Sea to the expansion of Chinese military and economic influence in the Asia-Pacific. I also examine whether such messages influence the Chinese public’s ethno-racial attitudes, expressed as anti-White and ethnocentric sentiments and pan-Asian identity. The paper contributes to understanding the foreign policy implications of domestic racism and the increasing racialization of Sino-American great power competitions.
Co-sponsored by Division 32: Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Andra Gillespie, Emory University
- (Discussant) Christian R. Grose, University of Southern California
- (Discussant) Bernard L. Fraga, Emory University
Racial and ethnic minorities have historically been underrepresented in the United States’ legislatures. This fact has led academics and pundits alike to argue that the country’s racioethnic minorities would benefit from more co-ethnic representatives, a stance that essentializes the choices of these voters and tends not to differentiate between the ideology and behaviors of the representatives themselves. Taking the heterogeneity of minority electorates and officials seriously, however, means engaging in the process of questioning, deconstructing, and extending seminal theories of race and ethnic politics in the United States. When is descriptive representation relevant in determining vote choice among racioethnic minority voters? How do politicians signal their commitments to their racioethnic group? Are some descriptive representatives preferable to others when it comes to the representation of racial and ethnic minorities’ interests and priorities?
This panel brings together five papers that employ novel approaches towards advancing and adding nuance to our understanding of the intersection of race, voting behavior, and elite behavior by focusing on Black voters and politicians. In his analysis of Black voters, Sparrow documents their joint preferences over ideological and descriptive representation, offering a new theoretical perspective on when and why race becomes relevant in the formation of preferences over candidates. Smith adds to this narrative and argues that Black voters are acutely aware of candidate viability and electability in early contests when voters are more likely to be strategic. How, then, do Black candidates respond to voters’ preferences for representatives? Wamble suggests that candidates’ capacity to signal their fitness is limited by innate characteristics. He shows that Black voters perceive female candidates as more committed to prioritizing the group’s interests once in office. Rendleman demonstrates that Black candidates are responsive to the composition of the electorate when deploying racialized rhetoric. Focusing on primaries, her work shows that the self-presentation of candidates is dependent on district and contest characteristics – which has implications for general election behavior and activities once in office. Finally, Stout, Mondragon, and Garcia look beyond the campaign and examine how elected officials’ online appeals to Black voters translate into the introduction of racially focused legislation. They show that racialized messaging is most predictive of Black officials’ legislative activities. Taken together, these papers offer new insights on when race matters to racioethnic minority voters, and the implications that has for the behavior of co-ethnic politicians.
The Limits of Racial Cues
Kevin Sparrow, Emory University
In primaries and other nonpartisan elections, voters must rely on identifiers other than party to select a candidate. I introduce the theory of bounded congruence to explain when a shared ethnic identity does and does not influence vote choice. According to this theory, black voters in majority-minority districts value co-racial representation over ideological congruence when choosing between white and black candidates. My original research design and survey allow me to test for voter preferences in both descriptive representation and political ideology. The results indicate that African American voters have a preference for descriptive representation, but it is not as universal as predicted. In some instances, black voters will support a white candidate who is more ideologically proximate to themselves, but when candidates present the same ideologies, black voters will support the co-racial candidate. These findings suggest that ideology plays a larger role in a voter’s electoral choice than previously expected.
Electability Politics: How and Why Black Americans Vote in Primary Elections
Jasmine Smith, Duke University
How do Black Americans make vote choice decisions in primary elections? This project investigates Black voting behavior within primary elections, as extant literature that focuses on the racial and partisan considerations that guide Black voting behavior omits an understanding of how Black Americans navigate this important step in the electoral process. In this project I suggest that Black Americans are highly strategic voters and vote for the candidate that is perceived to be the most electable. I then suggest that because strategic voting influences decision making in primary elections, Black voters often forego candidates that fulfill their desire for racially descriptive representation to elect a candidate that is, by their collective estimation, likely to defeat the Republican candidate in the general election. Through a series of observational and experimental tests, I show that Black voters rely on considerations about electability to guide vote choice in primary elections. This work has strong implications for under- standing Black voting behavior and the ways in which candidates can win the Black voting bloc in primary elections.
Too High a Bar?
Julian Wamble, George Washington University
Currently, descriptive representation literature lacks a mechanism that explains how Black voters perceive a candidate’s gender when assessing their preferability, and why it matters as some research has shown. Drawing on work that engages the relationship between social dynamics and Black political behavior, I argue that Black individuals’ expectations for Black women in social contexts influences their expectations for Black women politicians. Using an experimental test of approximately 4,200 Black people, I find that Black women candidates are perceived, by both Black women and men, as being more committed to prioritizing the group’s interests than Black men, which leads to more positive evaluations. These findings expand our understanding of descriptive representation by showing how the gendered dynamics within the Black community affect the pre-existing and strong preference that Black voters have for their representatives.
Race and Self-Presentation on the Campaign Trail
Hunter Rendleman, Harvard University
The classical literature in political science argues that candidates will strategically present and identify themselves with particular groups to win on election day. However, for more innate identities like race, gender, and sexuality, candidates that belong to traditionally minoritized groups seem to be disadvantaged in their capacity to converge to the identity-preferences of the median voter. In this paper, I introduce a novel dataset consisting of the web communications of over 600 Black Congressional candidates from 2006 to the present to show how race is deployed on the campaign trail. Using a within-candidate difference-in-differences design, I show that candidates use less explicitly racialized language when the electorate is likely to be whiter, more heterogeneous, and the risk of backlash higher. Not only do the findings of this paper extend our understanding on the campaign styles of racial minority candidates, but I also provide empirical support for spatial models of candidate behavior.
Put Your Money Where Your Posts Are
Christopher T. Stout, Oregon State University; Jennifer Garcia, Oberlin College; Karina Mondragon
In this study, we explore whether there is a link between members of Congress’ introduction of legislation around Black issues and the number of racial issues they post about in their official Twitter and Instagram pages. Given the audiences of the platforms which tend to be younger and more progressive, we suspect that most Democratic members will make appeals to African Americans on Twitter and Instagram. However, not all members of Congress will follow through with these appeals with legislative activity. Instead, we suspect that the link between these posts and actual representation in terms of introduction of legislation will be strongest among African American legislators. To test our hypothesis, we use the content analysis of over 200,000 Tweets along with over 10,000 posts for the first 6 months of the 117th Congress. We then connect this data to all bills introduced in the first 6 months of 2021. Ultimately, we find that while social media posts strongly predict the introduction of racially focused legislation, this relationship is strongest for Black members of Congress.
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) W. R. Nadège Compaoré, University of Toronto
- (Discussant) D.G. Kim, University of California, San Diego
We propose a panel under the conference theme “Rethink, Restructure, and Reconnect: Towards A Post-Pandemic Political Science” on the topic of racism in international relations. Scholars have increasingly called attention to the neglect of race in international relations scholarship (Anievas, Manchanda, and Shilliam 2014; Bhambra et al. 2020; Zvobgo and Loken 2020). Critics argue that core international relations theories were developed from “white” perspectives rooted in structural power asymmetries and racist assumptions about concepts like anarchy and sovereignty (Rolim 2021; Sabaratnam 2020). Racist ideas played an important role in early 20th century international relations scholarship, illustrated by The Journal of Race Development, which was renamed to later become Foreign Affairs, a leading journal for policy-oriented international relations scholarship (Vitalis 2017). These legacies came to be neglected as explicitly racist theories fell to the wayside and the subfield increasingly sought to portray itself in objective, scientific terms.
It is time to take racism in international relations seriously in line with the conference theme of rethinking and restructuring political science. Our panel will feature three papers that reassess conventional, race-neutral narratives of international relations and seek to push forward a new research agenda on how race continues to shape important aspects of the world order and IR scholarship. As the conference theme notes, the discipline is in dire need of research on “pressing societal issues related to equity, inclusion, and social justice in democracies to a peaceful international order.” Our panel directly addresses this gap and moves the discipline forward.
The papers in our panel reflect remarkable theoretical and methodological pluralism which are nonetheless unified in emphasizing the importance of accounting for race and racism in international relations scholarship. The Andrews paper tackles white supremacy in the study of international relations and the persistent erasure of non-Western perspectives. Chu, Schwartz, and Blair examine the intersection of racist beliefs and the use of weapons of mass destruction using novel survey experiments. Lipscy and Zhou argue that institutionalized racism has been a neglected feature of the architecture of international institutions and use statistical analyses and case studies to demonstrate persistent bias in favor of white-majority states. Our participants reflect diverse perspectives in line with the conference theme and the substantive topic of the panel. Among other things, six out of eight participants are BIPOC and originally from five different countries. Current academic institutions in three different countries are represented.
Legacies of Empire and the Erasure of Non-Western Contributions to IR
Nathan Andrews, University of Alberta
Over the past few decades, there have been intense debates around the lack of diverse perspectives and approaches in International Relations (IR). Some of these discussions have critiqued the permanence and privilege of certain ideas propounded primarily by Western (Anglo-American) scholars that have become central to both IR theory and practice while others have examined the blatant amnesia, erasure, and racism that result in the neglect of non-Western perspectives as useful contributions to knowledge. This paper undertakes a thematic review of these existing contributions to critically reflect upon some of the reasons why IR has maintained a distinct characterization as a Western discipline. In particular, the reflection is broken down into three key themes that emerge from the existing scholarship which cut to the core of why we are still exploring avenues for a discipline that needs to reflect diverse worldviews and become representative of the world it attempts to explain. These themes include 1) the issue of knowledge validity in IR; 2) the problem of white supremacy, racism and the challenge of black internationalism; and 3) the repetitive motif that informs IR pedagogy. Considering that these three identified themes have been discussed in the extant scholarship and yet with limited success in substantially transforming the ‘state of the field’, the novelty of this contribution lies in further synthesizing and foregrounding them as part of ongoing discourses on the non-Western IR movement. Also, the paper explores some ways through which the momentum gained on the potential diversification, pluralization, and decolonization of IR can be sustained over time.
Race and Public Opinion on Nuclear Weapons
Jonathan Art Chu, Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania; Joshua Schwartz, Harvard Kennedy School; Christopher William Blair, University of Pennsylvania
When considering the possibility of a nuclear conflict with China in the context of the Vietnam War, Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, “Many Asians seemed to see an element of racial discrimination in use of nuclear arms; something we would do to Asians but not to Westerners.” How does variation in the public’s racial views and the racial identities of targets impact support for nuclear use? Although extant literature has analyzed a myriad of factors that impact support for nuclear use, there is a notable gap when it comes to the impact of racial identity and beliefs. We hypothesize that people will be more supportive of nuclear use against out-group and non-white racial targets. We also expect individual-level racial resentment and attitudes will moderate this dynamic. To test these hypotheses, we utilize survey experiments embedded in public opinion polls fielded in the United States in two studies. The first study examines the black versus white target identity in a hypothetical scenario relating to nuclear development in Angola. The second study examines how Asian resentment may potentially affect opinions about a hypothetical conflict between the US and Russia versus China. Our results will contribute to the literature on the nuclear non-use norm specifically and humanitarian norms more broadly.
Institutional Racism in International Relations
Phillip Y. Lipscy, University of Toronto; Jiajia Zhou, University of Toronto
The role of race in international relations has received increasing attention, but it has been challenging to measure racism or its variation over time. We examine institutional racism in international relations by considering how international organizations structure and perpetuate racial hierarchies. We do so by examining racist language and membership patterns in international organizations. The data and case studies suggest a decline in formal racism but persistent informal racism. Based on our original data, racism expressed openly in the founding charters of international organizations is both relatively uncommon and has declined over time. However, membership patterns suggest a persistent bias in favor of white-majority countries: 1) white-majority countries continue to be overrepresented as inception members of newly formed organizations; 2) even after controlling for a variety of potential confounders, organizations that overrepresent white-majority countries tend to admit new white-majority members and face disproportionate exit of non-white-majority members. The findings suggest that scholarship on international organization, regime complexity, and institutional contestation need to pay greater attention to race.
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University
- (Presenter) Robbie Shilliam, Johns Hopkins University
- (Presenter) Desmond King, University of Oxford
- (Presenter) Jeanne Morefield, University of Oxford
- (Presenter) Chloe Thurston, Northwestern University
- (Presenter) Terri E. Givens, McGill University
- (Presenter) Joseph E. Lowndes, University of Oregon
- (Presenter) Debra Thompson, McGill University
- (Presenter) Jessica Blatt, Marymount Manhattan College
Over the past decade, multiple crises have called into question the democratic stability of the United States. White nationalists have joined a right-wing populist resurgence seeking to roll back the institutional foundations of multiracial democracy as the United States becomes ever more racially and ethnically diverse. The increasing visibility of anti-black police violence and racist violence more generally in 2020, gave rise to the largest anti-racist demonstrations and mass protests in a generation. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have intensified these racial fault lines and further fractured the demos.
Political Science – the discipline best suited to analyzing and problem solving these phenomena – possesses no clear and convincing analytical tools with which to respond effectively to these events. Some suggest Political Science is unfit for this purpose because of the discipline’s problematic racial history. At the time of its founding in the late 19th century, Political Science provided a eugenicist justification for the very hierarchies and segregations that are now under scrutiny. After World War II, political scientists rejected eugenics and instead focused on defending democracy against totalitarianism. In doing so, they relegated racism to an ideological/irrational phenomenon and thus extraneous to the core concern of the discipline – the exercise of power.
Understanding our current crises explicitly as crises of political power exercised through racism requires nothing less than a paradigm shift. Every indicator we have suggests we are at the beginning of a new epoch. This new epoch requires new citizens, and if not new disciplines, renewed disciplines.
A number of scholars in the four major subfields (Jessica Blatt, Michael Hanchard, Charles Mills, Bob Vitalis) have addressed this in book length monographs. In this roundtable we wish to use these and similar works as a jumping off point to begin a conversation on how to restructure the discipline in a substantive fashion.
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair & Discussant) Jurij Toplak, University of Maribor
Constitutionally exogenous factors such as population growth, urbanization, wealth (and inequality), and scientific/technological advances require the rearticulation of the scope and definition of individual rights and government powers. This is not unprecedented. Advances in technology such as the telephone and surveillance devices resulted in a judicial reconsideration of privacy notions such as “search and seizure.” Economic changes and the great depression resulted in fundamental changes in the U.S. Supreme Court’s approach to property rights. Currently, the pandemic is forcing nations to reconsider religious freedom and conscientious objection. Finally, the internet has so amplified the viral power of speech that nations are now struggling to draft revenge porn laws that are not overbroad.
The panel resonates ideally with the conference theme “Rethink, Restructure, and Reconnect: Towards A Post-Pandemic Political Science.” The post-pandemic world will be (already is) characterized by disruptions caused by these factors. The panel is comprised of a multinational, interdisciplinary group of faculty representing law, political science, English, and linguistics who hail from five countries and four continents. We will draw upon diverse perspectives to addresses these challenges specifically regarding the regulation of speech and how political science must grapple with what will be a new world order.
Civil Rights v. Civil Liberties
Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law
While conservatives and liberals generally invoke the U.S. Constitution for different political ends, they have increasingly converged in prioritizing a civil liberties approach over a civil rights approach to constitutional rights. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, civil liberties and civil rights describe distinct and, in some cases, mutually exclusive concerns. The civil liberties approach to constitutional rights emphasizes individual rights and the need to protect them from the interference of the government; the civil rights approach emphasizes group
Mitigating Global Inequalities in Online Speech Harm
Janny Hiu Chi Leung
The rise of private powers in the governance of public speech has raised concerns about how basic rights should be protected in a digitally connected world. Although market forces alone have evidently failed to create a safe environment for speech, it is not clear what regulatory response is appropriate. State-based solutions typically involve criminalizing certain speech, or imposing liability on intermediaries for such speech that its users generate. The international human rights regime also exerts pressure and provides guidance, which at times conflicts with obligations that states impose on social media platforms. Drawing particular attention to the uneven distribution of online speech harm across speech communities and to existing practices of content moderation, this paper evaluates the promise and limitations of national and international approaches to mitigating such inequalities.
Is Legitimate Regulation of Social Media Possible?
Carissima Mathen, University of Ottawa
With each passing month, the drumbeat against social media and, especially, ‘Big Tech’, grows louder. While technology has kept much of the world spinning during a pandemic, increasing numbers of people believe that many social ills can be laid at its feet. The concerns have produced calls in numerous countries for regulation and control – up to and including dismantling the platforms altogether. Much of the debate, though, involves a striking amount of ‘magical thinking’ – hand-waving away the immense problems of scale, the considerable benefits of free digital services and the dangers of expecting non-state actors to prioritize the public good. Starting from the premise that liberal democracies require some modest agreement about the goals of public policy, I interrogate what ‘legitimate’ regulation of digital communication might look like and what might make that possible.
Does Free Speech in the Digital Age Require Authoritarian Protection?
Mark E. Rush, Washington and Lee University
In The Perilous Public Square, Daphne Keller offers the following comment about regulating speech on the internet: “To outlaw [the kind of hate speech proliferating across the internet], we would need different substantive laws about things like hate speech and harassment. Do we want those? Does the internet context change First Amendment analysis?” (p. 214). I contend that the answer to Keller is an unqualified “yes” and that judges must not hesitate to incorporate “contextual change” into their jurisprudence. In this paper, I use freedom of speech as a case study of the need to strengthen government in order to protect liberal freedoms. I will draw upon the work of Mary Anne Franks (Cult of the Constitution), Genevieve Lakier (numerous articles on contemporary speech), Ran Hirschl (City, State), Ross Mittiga (American Political Science Review January 2022), and others to argue that constitutionally exogenous factors such as population growth, urbanization, wealth (and inequality), and scientific/technological advances require the re-articulation of the scope and definition of individual rights and government powers. I argue that this change necessitates a recalibration of notions of liberalism to enable governments to take the steps necessary to protect all citizens from speech-based harms arising from what continues to be a liberal, market-based, laissez faire approach to free speech. This is not a new claim. John Stuart Mill acknowledged the need to restrict freedom when the external cost of its exercise harmed others. Contemporary critics argue that empowering government to constrain free speech smacks of authoritarianism. But it does not. Such hyperbole is grounded on antiquated visions of society that no longer apply to a world that is much more crowded, technologically advanced, and threatened by challenges of a global scope that was unheard of in Mill’s day.
Co-sponsored by Division 25: Public Policy
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Leah A. Murray, Weber State University
- (Discussant) David E. Campbell, University of Notre Dame
Aside from health care, no other sector of society has been more affected by the COVID pandemic than education. After all, K-12 education is premised on revealing one’s thoughts, expressions, and feelings to peers and teachers in classrooms, yet the pandemic demands masking and social distancing. Where were K-12 achievement outcomes trending prior to the onset of the pandemic? What effects have various virus mitigation policies had on student socio-emotional outcomes in different types of schools? During the pandemic, enrollments rose in various schools of choice, including religiously conservative private schools. What effects do such schools have on key civic outcomes, relative to schooling in government-run public schools? More generally, are private school choice programs and private schooling threats to or instruments of the conveyance of democratic values to citizens in the U.S. and globally? These are the vital questions examined by these papers. Paper 1 applies a principal-agent perspective to a fresh examination of changes in K-12 student achievement over the past 50 years. It reveals that achievement has grown steadily over the half-century, a “Flynn effect,” with growth varying in interesting ways by educational domain, age, ability level, race, and SES level. These patterns are similar for the U.S. and internationally, suggesting that universal underlying causes are driving them. Paper 2 focuses on the pandemic and its effects on student socio-emotional outcomes. Drawing from national survey data, it examines variance in parental perceptions of the socio-emotional condition of their school-age children based on school factors such as instruction modality, schooling sector, stage of the pandemic, seriousness of community spread, and partisanship of the region. Paper 3 examines concerns surrounding conservative Protestant schools fostering various forms of intolerance. Drawing on fresh survey data, it finds that students educated in conservative Protestant schools demonstrate average intolerance levels that are statistically equivalent to their public-school peers. Finally, Paper 4 examines the perennial concern of the effects of private schooling on civic outcomes more generally. It uses meta-analytic techniques to identify and consolidate the empirical findings from the population of studies on private schooling and a wide range of civic outcomes involving tolerance, political participation, civic knowledge and skills, and community involvement. Collectively, these four papers will tell us much about the challenges faced in K-12 education and the prospects for public policies to improve achievement, socio-emotional, and civic outcomes of the next generation of citizens. The panel Chair and discussants will provide insights based on a wealth of experience in the field, in the case of senior scholars Jennifer Hochschild and David Campbell, and a fresh view, in the case of junior scholar Ursula Hackett.
Fifty Years of Student Achievement: Agency and Flynn Effects; Ethnic Differences
M. Danish Shakeel, University of Buckingham; Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University
We use the principal-agent model to interpret the efforts of policy makers to elicit information about the rate of educational progress by U. S. student cohorts since 1971. Principals (policymakers) disagree as to whether U. S. student performance has changed over the past half century. To inform conversations, agents administered seven million psychometrically linked tests in math and reading in 160 survey waves to national probability samples of cohorts born between 1954 and 2007. Estimated change in standard deviations (sd) per decade varies by agent (math: -0.10sd to 0.27sd, reading: -0.02sd to 0.12sd). Consistent with Flynn effects, median trends show larger gains in math (0.19sd) than reading (0.04sd), though rates of progress for cohorts born since 1990 have increased in reading but slowed in math. Greater progress is shown by students tested at younger ages (math: 0.31sd, reading: 0.08sd) than when tested in middle years of schooling (math: 0.17sd, reading: 0.03sd) or toward the end of schooling (math: 0.06sd, reading: 0.02sd). Young white students progress more slowly (math: 0.28sd, reading: 0.09sd) than Asian (math: 46sd, reading: 0.28sd), black (math: 0.36sd, reading: 0.19sd) and Hispanic (math: 0.29sd, reading: 0.13sd) students. These ethnic differences generally attenuate as students age. Young students in the bottom quartile of the SES distribution show greater progress than those in the top quartile (difference in math: 0.08sd, in reading: 0.15sd), but the reverse is true for older students. Moderators likely include not only changes in families and schools but also improvements in nutrition, health care, and protection from contagious diseases and environmental risks. International data suggest that subject and age differentials may be due to moderators more universal than just for the United States.
Religiously Conservative Schools and Democratic Citizenship
David Sikkink, University of Notre Dame
School choice policies that include private schools have focused attention on the public purposes of government funding of elementary and secondary education, and whether religious schooling, particularly evangelical Protestant schools and homeschooling families, can fulfill the goals of democratic education. Religiously conservative schools may foster Christian nationalism, intolerance of diversity, inability to engage productively across social and ideological differences, and authoritarianism. These theories fail to consider changes in the place of schools in society that impact civic socialization, including the relation of evangelical Protestant schools and civic life, and increasing diversity in the goals and strategies of teachers and parents in religiously conservative schools. This paper investigates school sector differences in several outcomes of civic and political orientations, assessing graduates’ support for Christian nationalism and authoritarianism, as well as investigating ideological consistency across sectors. Using national samples of Americans, including the Cardus Education Survey, findings reveal little impact of religiously conservative schools on Christian nationalism or ideological conformity. The paper concludes that students in religiously conservative schools would not be better participants in a democratic society if they attended traditional public schools or if school choice policies did not include private schooling. It proposes that school choice plans should foster a structurally pluralist model of school organization that would model a democratic public square in a society of diverse moral communities.
A Meta-Analysis of Private Schooling Effects on Civic Outcomes around the Globe
Patrick J. Wolf, University of Arkansas; M. Danish Shakeel, University of Buckingham; James David Paul, University of Arkansas; Jessica Goldstein Holmes; Alison Heape, University of Arkansas
Political theorists long have debated which types of schools are more effective in forming democratic citizens. Theorists from Plato through Aristotle, Alexis de Tocqueville, Horace Mann, John Dewey, Amy Gutmann, Alan Wolfe, Jennifer Hochschild, and Stephen Macedo have written about the civic purposes of education and the responsibility of schools to inculcate civic values and skills in the country’s youth. A strong assumption running through much of this work is that government-run public schools are more effective than private schools at promoting civic values including political tolerance, political participation, civic knowledge, and community involvement. The “publicness” of government-run public schools is a necessary condition, or at least an inherent advantage, for schools to promote civic-minded citizens, they argue. Few of these theoretical claims are grounded in empirical evidence for support, despite dozens of quantitative studies of the effects of various types of schools (government-run public schools, public charter schools, Catholic parochial schools, Evangelical Protestant schools, secular private schools, etc.) on the civic outcomes of young adults. Moreover, Barry Bozeman reminds us that “publicness” is a matter of degree and not kind, as “all organizations are public.” We conduct a statistical meta-analysis of the effects of private schools, relative to government-run public schools, on various civic outcomes. Using robust variance estimation, we determine if private schooling generally produces higher or lower levels of civic outcomes in students, all else equal. We proceed to use meta-regression to identify possible mediators and moderators of the effects of private schooling on civic outcomes.
Framing on Facebook: Adapting School Lunch Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Anne Whitesell, Miami University; Clare Brock, Texas Woman’s University
The disruptions caused by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic have been well-documented. The decentralized nature of America’s education system meant that as Congress was passing legislation and federal agencies were issuing waivers to federal requirements, states and localities were responsible for implementing policy change. In addition to changing the learning modality for millions of children, school officials were also forced to rapidly adapt a variety of nutrition assistance programs that serve millions of food insecure children across the nation. Political and environmental characteristics have a strong impact on the way that localities frame their policy implementation approaches. In other words, while the agenda is set outside of the districts, local officials have considerable leeway in how they frame the implementation of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The characteristics of the student population, the geography of the school district, and the relationship between the state and local departments of education may all influence how districts conveyed changes in school nutrition programs to the community.
We assert that, while the implementation of changes to the NSLP and SBP were constrained by top-down directives, the framing of these changes was controlled by street-level school officials. The paper argues that on-the-ground administrators are responsive to their district characteristics and strategic in the framing they use to roll out policy changes that are often beyond their control. To test this, we analyze Facebook posts from school districts in three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) to ascertain how those local characteristics affected the framing of school nutrition programs during the pandemic. These states are particularly useful case-study selections because they are reasonably similar demographically and geographically, particularly in terms of the student population they serve, but offer variation in their political environment. As of March 2020, Ohio had a Republican governor and legislature; Pennsylvania had a Democratic governor and Republican legislature; and Virginia had a Democratic governor and legislature. We also selected specifically for school-year reopening plans. The state of Ohio recommended multiple modalities upon reopening, while Pennsylvania and Virginia required multiple modalities. We also consider the community-specific characteristics of the districts in these states.
Early results suggest that urban and rural districts are far more communicative about school nutrition programs on Facebook, when compared with suburban districts. This suggests that the portion of eligible students a district serves has considerable impact on the efforts officials expend to communicate important policy information to the school community. Understanding street-level policy framing, particularly on social media, offers valuable insight into the factors that motivate local administrators to communicate important policy information; and the ways that these local officials can use their own understanding of the communities they serve to communicate with and more effectively serve target populations.
Co-sponsored by Division 59: Education Politics and Policy
Virtual Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Rob Reich, Stanford University
- (Discussant) Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas
- (Discussant) Robert Mickey, University of Michigan
This panel looks to intellectual history, normative theory, and survey research to ask whether academic and pedagogical freedom is at risk, or whether concerns about censorship and academic freedom are overblown. In exploring these possibilities, the presenters consider the role of k-12 educators (Cloward paper), the experience of social science college faculty (Liu and Cox papers), and the history of conflict over book banning (Koganzon paper). These papers relate to the APSA 2022 theme “Rethink, Restructure, and Reconnect: Towards A Post-Pandemic Political Science” in that they explore how and whether educators at both the k-12 and college levels can teach and write freely, allowing them to adequately, in the words of the theme statement, “produce and teach leadership and accountability.”
Politics in the Classroom: Justifying Teacher Authority and Discretion
Joseph Cloward, Stanford University
K-12 educators can quickly find themselves the subject of public debate when they take the wrong stance on controversial political issues in the classroom. Tense debates over masking, virtual schooling, and vaccine mandates have only made classrooms more politically fraught. Granting teachers discretion in the way they approach controversial issues is just one aspect of the authority the public delegates to teachers. How much discretion should we give teachers to discuss controversial issues and what is the nature of a teacher’s authority? The common-sense view encourages teacher neutrality and sees teachers as vehicles for delivering democratically approved curricula, but this view quickly proves untenable given the myriad politically relevant decisions teachers must make in their day-to-day practice. Researchers in education have addressed this problem as a pedagogical matter, but rarely consider the role of the teacher within a democratic political system in which the state mandates compulsory education. Democratic theorists, on the other hand, have much to say about the proper ends of education and how we collectively enact them, but say relatively little on the individual teacher’s role in making decisions within that process. This paper offers a cautious defense of the political discretion of K-12 teachers by developing a political theory of teacher authority. Teacher authority is in part similar to the public authority we delegate to other agents of the state, like bureaucrats, social workers, and police officers. Each of these officials is a citizen in a web of relationships with other citizens, including those they directly serve and those to whom they must give an account of their service. Teachers are unique, however, because their role makes them answerable both to young citizens who are not yet politically active and to parents, who themselves bear unique responsibilities. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s writing on education, I argue that teachers possess and exercise authority in their classrooms by virtue of their professional expertise, their institutional position, and their role as responsible intermediaries between their students and the broader society. I argue that the state can better fulfill its goal of preparing children for democratic citizenship by allowing teachers to exercise political discretion, within certain bounds. A teacher’s exercise of political discretion is a legitimate use of her authority when she offers justification to students and community members and observes the constraints Gutmann proposed for democratic education: nonrepression and nondiscrimination.
Academic Freedom and the Virtual Space
Shan-Jan Sarah Liu, University of Edinburgh; Katarzyna Kaczmarska, University of Edinburgh
Academic freedom has been under threat across the world, ranging from the United Kingdom politician declaring critical race theory to be dangerous to Brazilian politician instructed students to film and report teachers expressing views opposed to President Bolsonaro. Such a threat has only exacerbated as most of the higher educator has moved research and teaching to an online space. Using a survey of over 1,000 academic faculty in the social sciences and arts and humanities across universities of Scotland, this article examines how faculty experience academic freedom since the pandemic started. Our preliminary analysis shows that multiple factors shape the way academic freedom is threatened or preserved in the academic community. On the contextual level, the university academic freedom policy enables faculty to exercise academic freedom while individual factors, such as one’s rank and race, encourage faculty to self-censor in order to protect one’s job security and career interests. The study offers important implications on how academic freedom is currently experienced by scholars, as well as how the higher education sector can work together to ensure that all members of the academia community have the safety and privilege to teach and research without self-censorship or external political pressure.
There’s No Such Thing as a Banned Book: Authority and the 1970s School Book Wars
Rita Koganzon, University of Virginia
As political battles over school curricula between parents, public educators, and school boards heat up across the country once again, we might wonder why such conflicts have been so resistant to resolution over the past half-century. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled in Pico v. Island Trees that students have a “right to read,” and boards and parents cannot remove books from classrooms and libraries, a ruling which should have resolved the question, but in fact did nothing to limit the challenges mounted against school districts. This paper re-examines the Pico decision and the public debates in the 1970s between children’s book authors, educators, and parents that led up to it to examine why that decision was so ineffective, and the way that the initial framing of the conflict over school curricula continues to fuel ongoing debate today. Drawing on newspaper and magazine coverage, scholarly and professional publications, and the arguments presented in the federal courts that led up to the Pico decision, this article excavates the intellectual history of the school censorship debate. The debate began with the advent in the late 1960s of a new genre of adolescent literature, often called “young adult” (YA) books, and the conscious effort on the part of its authors – writers like Judy Blume, Richard Peck, and others – to transforms cultural understandings of coming of age, and to substitute their books for the moral authority of what they saw as unenlightened parents. Although YA books were far from universally embraced by parents, they did find a receptive audience in librarians and educators, whose writings from this period I turn to next to show how professional educators saw YA books as pedagogical vehicles for an analogous project to press the secondary literature curriculum into the service of moral reform. When faced with pushback from parents and boards against this project, YA writers and professional educators changed the terms of their battle for educational authority into a legal debate about the rights of children against censorship, not only obscuring the nature of the conflict, but undermining the very pedagogical authority they sought in the process. I conclude by examining the confused way that federal courts in the 1970s responded to this conflict between parents and school boards on one hand, and writers and educators on the other, and considering how the underdeveloped result of this decade of litigation and public conflict reflects a broader crisis of authority over children in American education. This essay challenges the prevailing narrative about “banned books” in schools. I argue that, with respect to children and adolescents, there never was any such practice as what we popularly call “book banning,” at least not by any conventional standard of censorship. Building on the recent historical work of scholars like Campbell Scribner and Richard Arum, who have examined how conflicts over authority have been transmuted into battles over rights in other aspects of schooling, I argue that such “book banning” should more properly be understood as a transformation and displacement of the much broader twentieth-century contest between professionals and parents over who has the final authority in children’s education, a contest which persists to this day. Understanding book banning in this light both explains its stubborn persistence despite supposed illegality, and more importantly, it reveals the self-defeating nature of the move to cloak adult authority behind the banner of students’ rights.
Academic Freedom and International Branch Campuses
Gloria S. Cox, University of North Texas
Academic Freedom and International Branch Campuses: The Effects of U.S.-Sponsored IBCs on Academic Freedom International Branch Campuses (IBCs) have proliferated in the early twenty-first century so that there are now about three hundred, including 86 that are sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities. IBCs are located all around the world, in free states and otherwise. How does academic freedom, that most cherished value of higher education, fare in IBCs? In 2020, Freedom House issued a special report that expressed concern about international branch campuses being located in authoritarian states and the effects on academic freedom. The Freedom House report assessed IBCs on a worldwide basis, while this paper focuses just on the IBCs that are sponsored by colleges and universities within the United States. My paper first identifies the types of encroachments on academic freedom that are most likely to occur at international branch campuses, and then establishes a typology of those infringements of academic freedom for future investigation.
Full Paper Panel
Division 31: Women and Politics Research
Co-sponsored Theme Panel
- (Chair) Robin L. Turner, Butler University
- (Discussant) Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, Baruch College, CUNY
- (Discussant) Sean Yom, Temple University
Women of color often are treated as “space invaders” to the political science discipline (Alexander-Floyd 2015). Violating the unstated disciplinary norms of cisgender white manhood, our bodies are perceived to bias our research and reduce its generalizability. These perceptions are particularly fraught for women of color scholars who engage in comparative qualitative or interpretive research. Not fully at home among relatively women-friendly but overwhelmingly white comparative qualitative/interpretive scholars nor with U.S.-focused feminist women of color scholars, we must navigate between multiple subfields of this heteropatriarchal white supremacist discipline. Our “outsider-within” location in comparative qualitative/interpretive political science poses distinctive challenges but also presents the opportunity for novel insights on politics, the subfield, and the discipline. Our experiences can and should inform how the discipline works towards a more equitable, inclusive, and just post-pandemic political science. The diverse set of women of color qualitative scholars use autoethnography to map how each author navigates comparative politics and other subfields while also carving out possible spaces of belonging and imagining a more just and inclusive future for political science.
Never Fully Belonging, Always at Risk of Violence: Women of Color Perspectives
Natasha Behl, Arizona State University
Why do we find pervasive racial and gendered violence in the academe when universities are committed to meritocracy and diversity? Why are women of color severely underrepresented in political science, despite the discipline’s decades long commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion? I use an interpretive approach, particularly autoethnography, to explain the persistence of gender- and race-based inequality and to challenge longstanding policy prescriptions for achieving equality and inclusion. This analysis demonstrates that conventional policies, such as mentoring and networking, perpetuate the very inequalities they are ostensibly designed to remedy because these policies are themselves tangled up in intersecting power relations. In this essay, I critically examine the primary tools of othering that I experienced while mapping the mechanisms—racial, gendered, and epistemic oppression—that cause unequal belonging in political science. Through an autoethnographic account, I provide insight into the difficulty of diversifying political science, highlight some of the factors that cause women of color to (in)voluntarily exit the profession, and identify writing as an act of survival and resistance. These insights can and should inform political science as it strives for a more just future.
Reflections on Multiple Consciousness and Space Invasion in Comparative Politics
Robin L. Turner, Butler University
“Being a problem is a strange experience, —peculiar even for one who has never been anything else,” W.E.B. du Bois observed in Souls of Black Folk. His observation resonates more than a century later for those positioned as problematic “space invaders” in comparative politics, in the discipline, and in the academy. This paper illuminates how heteropatriarchal white empiricism shapes these fields through an autoethnographic account of my peculiar experiences as an African American cisgender woman and qualitative comparative politics scholar. I argue the multiple consciousness arising from this vantage point presents a conundrum. On the one hand, being a space invader may facilitate critical analysis of the discipline, of the political phenomena we study, and of our positionality and how it shapes our data. On the other hand, our insights are less likely to be accepted as credible because our capacity as knowers is suspect. Space invaders who engage in the open, active reflexivity interpretivists call may find it diminishes rather than buttressing the trustworthiness of their work. This conundrum arises from heteropatriarchal white empiricism and needs to be addressed in working towards a better, more robust post-pandemic political science.
Do as I Say, Not as I Did? Being a Unicorn in a Tough Job Market
Erica Townsend-Bell, Oklahoma State University
I am often asked to share how I came to the work I do. It is a question familiar to many but in my case the “How (in the heck) did you come to work on Uruguay” (and on intersectionality to boot!) also serves as the equivalent of the “Where are you really from?” question. My answer is well refined by now, but the genesis of the question is that it is odd, and perhaps misguided, to attend to such a presumably narrow and ungeneralizable case. This perception holds regardless of the broader theoretical and empirical engagements on race, gender, and intersectional politics that my research has helped to illuminate. I concede that my research trajectory is odd in some ways, because it has required me to chart my own path in ways that are not clearly viable for up-and-coming scholars to follow. I engage a practice of autoethnography to examine the role that timing, and networks played in the evolution of my career path, and their impacts on the advice I might give to younger scholars who seek to follow into a discipline that remains hostile to engagement with a real diversity of questions, methodological approaches and people.
“Don’t You Just Study Filipinos? How Is This Political Science?”: Reflections
Ethel Tungohan, York University
Within Political Science, where quantitative/positivist approaches are still the norm, women of colour are largely still seen as “space invaders” (Alexander-Floyd 2015). Those of us who do qualitative and interpretive research face added pressures. We have to navigate the dual pressures of proving, first, that women of colour are legitimate members of the discipline and second, that qualitative/interpretive approaches are valid research approaches. Despite the emergence of more research proving the gendered racism that women of colour academics face (see, e.g., Michelson & Lavariega Monforti 2021) and the increasing prominence of the interpretive methods subfield in Political Science, my experiences show Political Science largely remains resistant to diversifying membership and methodology. In this paper, I share my reflections on recent experiences navigating peer review and the political science job market to illustrate the challenges of being a woman of colour using qualitative/interpretive methods when researching Filipino migrant communities. Using comments that I have received from anonymous peer reviewers and from political science job search committees as the starting point of my analysis, I highlight how conventional political science tropes regarding objectivity, parsimony and generalizability still influence how political scientists evaluate scholarly merit. In my case, my presence within the subfield of Canadian and Comparative Political Science, where women of colour are still in the minority (Canadian Political Science Diversity Task Force 2018), and my use of interpretive and socially-engaged research methods mean that I constantly have to navigate oftentimes loaded questions regarding ‘fit’ and ‘rigour.’
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Peter John Loewen, University of Toronto
- (Discussant) Wendy H. Wong, University of Toronto
- (Discussant) Simone Chambers, University of California, Irvine
Reliance on digital platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams has been deepened by the outbreak of a global pandemic. This panel engages with the need to theorize and measure the impacts of platforms on governance and governments and explores existing strategies from across the political science literature to begin this work. Online services like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google search have, for many, become integral to everyday life. Correspondingly, the companies that provide these services have become ubiquitous. These multinational platform companies are, among other things, essential communication infrastructures, arbiters of freedom of expression, and distributors of information. Platform companies are governors. At the same time, they are subjects of governance, targeted by states, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations. Such governance efforts include restricting the collection of data about users (e.g., EU’s GDPR, the Global Network Initiative), limiting applications of artificial intelligence (e.g., banning facial recognition in law enforcement), and challenging the concentration of market power in a small number of organizations (e.g., US antitrust suits). Perspectives in political science regarding functional and hybrid governance, algorithmic governance, transnational corporate governance, the role of policy networks, and democratic theory have much to contribute to this emerging area of research and policy.
Who Governs in the Digital State?
Information technologies (IT) have always played a central role in government. They shape and reinforce the organization and management of the public sector. Information and data, and technologies that allow for their collection, analysis and application, are also key policy resources that determine the extent to which a government can effectively design policies and deliver services. Yet, the centrality of IT to governance has long been neglected both in the political science sub-field of public administration and by public administrators themselves. Private sector actors have been more conscious of the centrality of IT to the activities of governing and have since the 1980s benefited from widespread IT outsourcing and consulting contracts to become influential and well-remunerated private governors of public sector IT infrastructures. Repeated high-cost failings of government IT projects, and a growing recognition of the benefits of modern design practices, have inspired a counter-movement which from 2010 onwards has attempted to curb government reliance on private technology firms and management consultants, and instead to build in-house public sector digital capacity. Focusing on Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, this paper evaluates the extent to which this counter-movement is succeeding to limit the private capture of public sector IT, especially in light of the urgent demands for digital capacity ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper reports on public servants’ testimonies about the role, power and influencing tactics enrolled by private technology and consulting firms and analysis of government contracting patterns on pandemic-related initiatives (e.g. contact tracing applications, vaccine booking systems, and benefits delivery). Beginning from the premise that those who govern public sector IT become de facto governors of government processes writ large, the paper’s analysis appraises how accountability and power within the digital era state is distributed across public and private actors and contributes new insight to the literatures on public sector accountability and corporate capture, digital government reform, and the role of private technology firms in contemporary democracy.
Platform Sovereigns: Contact Tracing Applications and the Power of Big Tech
Jamie Duncan, University of Toronto; Alexandra Martin, University of Toronto
Can a smartphone app cure a pandemic? During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen attempts to turn our smartphones into public health surveillance tools in our pockets through the use of exposure notification (EN) applications. This paper examines the introduction of the Google-Apple Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing (GA-PPCT) protocol as a case of coercive policy diffusion. We ask: how did we go from learning of the novel coronavirus to the implementation of a far-reaching network of interoperable EN apps within mere months? We demonstrate how the infusion of technological solutionism with emergency public health responses contributed to the ongoing erosion of state authority to act upon problems defined as technical by bureaucrats and the private “expert class” of big tech. Drawing on nascent literature in platform governance as well as established research on policy transfer and New Public Management, we contend that understanding technology policy diffusion requires recognizing how such platforms govern through the provision of global standards. We investigate the confluence of demands for rapid public health measures and the control of smartphone platforms by two companies. We show how the private development of the publicly-deployed GA-PPCT protocol enabled its rapid global spread. This case study also shows us the dangers of overreliance on technical solutions for problems that are not only medical, but social and political in nature. Narrowly framing exposure notification apps using discourses of privacy allowed Apple and Google to form temporary strategic alliances with privacy advocates in academia and civil society. Such alliances heightened the perceived legitimacy of their coercive approach to engaging with state authorities, some of whom wished to pursue alternate technical tools. Conversely, the strategic redefinition of political problems as primarily technical issues can also serve the priorities of states. By accepting the expert authority of the GA-PPCT in setting technical parameters for EN applications, states benefit from a narrowing of policy alternatives and expedition of desirable policy outcomes–in this case by enabling EN apps to function more efficiently on consumers’ devices and ensuring the interoperability of EN applications across devices and national boundaries. Approaching privacy as a technical good encourages solutions oriented toward product design and customer experiences allowing states to not only outsource functions but also accountability for their efficacy. To understand the role of private influence and expertise in the development and roll out of EN apps in Canada, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, we analyze technical and policy documentation as well as executive communications related to these apps from March 2020 through November 2020 to observe how the GA-PPCT framework was adopted, challenged, and implemented. Our contribution is twofold. Firstly, we document how the self-constraining impulse toward smaller government has allowed for the emergence of new forms of private sovereignty and technocratic governance exemplified by Google and Apple’s capacity to impose global standards such as the GA-PPCT. Secondly, as a consequence of this novel form of authority, we propose that research on technology policy diffusion requires a theoretical lens informed by platform governance, which can account for how states and platforms co-exist as governors-that-are-governed on a global scale.
Assessing Global Regulatory Responses to Facebook’s Political Harms
Swati Srivastava, Purdue University
As governments around the world mobilize to rein in Big Tech, researchers lack high-quality systematic data for comparative assessment of state responses. This paper analyzes the robustness of over 900 global regulatory responses for effectively targeting Facebook’s political harms of mass surveillance, speech management, information pollution, and behavioral conditioning. The research is drawn from an original database of 4,315 major Facebook incidents since the company’s founding (2004) until February 2021. Instead of running keyword searches through automated text analysis, student coders carefully read over 50,000 news reports to extract government responses to Facebook’s incidents ranging from inquiries, hearings, and proposals to legislation, lawsuits, and administrative rulings. The paper groups the regulatory responses under three themes – privacy, anti-monopoly, content moderation – and analyzes their scope and strength using an inductively derived coding scheme modeled after the OECD’s Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance. The research makes two contributions. First, it maps a fuller spectrum of Big Tech regulatory scrutiny beyond high-profile legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation and jurisprudence such as the Right to be Forgotten. Second, it identifies major regulatory gaps for developing and enforcing solutions to counter Big Tech’s power in a transnational context.
User Revolts on Digital Platforms
Sverrir Steinsson, George Washington University
This paper proposes a theory on the sources of institutional change on digital platforms. I argue that digital platforms show different levels of responsiveness to users, businesses and the state over time. Early on in a digital platform’s life, the platform is highly sensitive and responsive to the demands and needs of users, thus giving the users an opportunity to strongly shape the institutional characteristics of the platform. The unique power of the platform’s users stems from platforms’ unique business model whereby the value of the platform lies primarily in its ability to build a network. As the platform increases the size of its network, it becomes more sensitive to pressures by businesses (through boycotts) and the state. At the same time, the power of users decreases, as collective action problems become more severe and exit threats become less credible. Users who disapprove of the platform’s policies thus try to influence the platform by pushing for organized business boycotts and encouraging state intervention rather than through user revolts. The threat of user revolts has a temporal significance. They matter early on in a platform’s life but become less consequential as the platform grows in network size. I demonstrate this by examining institutional changes on Facebook, Wikipedia, Digg, and Reddit.
Co-sponsored by Division 3: Normative Theory
Full Paper Panel
- (Chair) Juliet Hooker, Brown University
- (Discussant) Catherine Lu, McGill University
In recent years, it has become increasingly common for problems to be described as “structural.” Academics, journalists, politicians, and activists alike speak of “structural racism,” “structural inequality,” “structural violence,” and “structural injustice.” In 2020, the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which laid bare so many underlying disparities, and the large-scale protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd, which called attention to the pervasiveness of state violence against Black people in the US, forced many—some for the first time—to confront the structural nature of problems they may have previously seen as isolated misfortunes. This recent trend, made possible by the work of activists and existing scholarship, provides political theory with a unique opportunity to contribute to the conceptualization of both the problem of structural injustice in its current instantiations and possible responses.
This panel attempts to take up this opportunity by addressing a number of interrelated questions. What makes a particular injustice structural? What understandings of action and power underlie theories of structural injustice? Is agency possible according to a structural model? What is the relationship between individuals and the structures they inhabit? What would it mean to take responsibility for structural injustice? What obstacles exist to addressing structural injustice? What strategies do activists use to overcome those obstacles? Is structural transformation possible?
Building upon the work of feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial thought, the papers in this panel, contributed by both senior and junior scholars, demonstrate the possibilities for political theory to combine rigorous theorization of highly abstract concepts with discussions of concrete contemporary problems. Clarissa Hayward’s paper “Power: A Structural View” examines structural power relations and the challenges involved in attempting to change them, using race relations in the United States as an emblematic case. Mara Marin, in her paper “How to Think of Action as Structural,” considers the “socially structured” character of political action and the centrality of publicity and uncertainty to an account of structural change. Anjali Mohan’s paper “Structural Proximity” asks how conceiving of individuals’ relations to injustice in terms of what she calls “structural proximity” may affect how we respond to it, using examples such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, police killings in the United States, and human rights abuse in Burma/Myanmar. Jennifer Rubenstein, in her paper “Emergency Politics as a Strategy for Addressing Historic and Structural Injustice Against African-Americans,” explores how anti-racist activists, including Ida B. Wells, William Lloyd Garrison, Martin Luther King, and the Movement for Black Lives, have deployed, to varying extents, both emergency politics and structural understandings of racism in their advocacy. Together, these papers, and contributions from the panel’s chair Juliet Hooker and discussant Catherine Lu, will undoubtedly generate a lively and productive discussion regarding the profound structural dimensions of injustice and the challenges and tensions that arise in attempts to respond to it.
Power: A Structural View
Clarissa Rile Hayward, Washington University in St. Louis
In this paper, I use the case of racial relations of power in the contemporary United States to show how attending to the mutual constitution of social structure and social action helps us understand both why power relations can be exceedingly difficult to challenge and to change, and also how people sometimes succeed in transforming them. I begin by considering the logic and the limits of what I characterize as a classic, agent-centric approach to conceptualizing power. I then turn to three characteristics of social power, understood in more structural terms. First, power has no mastermind; it does not wear the face of a powerful agent, who controls and directs it. Second, power shapes action, not only by prohibiting and constraining human actors, but also by habituating them. Third, power has a protean quality; social structures intersect with and reinforce one another in ways that shift and mutate over time. In the paper’s final sections I take up the questions of how people change structural power relations and how a structural view of power can enrich political accounts of responsibility.
How to Think of Action as Structural
Mara Marin, University of Victoria
In spite of theorizing injustice as structural, theorists of structural injustice tend to rely on an individualist social ontology when raising normative questions about the actions that could be taken to dismantle structures of injustice or when theorizing resistance. I make this argument through a discussion of Cudd’s (2006) view of resistance and Young’s (2011) view of responsibility and the mechanisms of denial of responsibility. For both of these authors, social change originates in (the right) individual actions and represents the fulfilment of the intentions with which these actions are carried out. I argue that this tendency can be traced to a picture of action that is both empirically inaccurate and politically limiting. It is empirically inaccurate because it assumes the social world to be predictable and ignores the “socially structured” character of political action. In doing so, it makes invisible precisely those features of political action that enable agents to bring about social change, which in turn limits our political imagination. Political action is socially structured in the sense that it is constituted by the available cultural meanings, practices and material things that jointly constitute a society’s social structure. This feature of action, I argue, is central to the ability of action to create social change. I theorize this feature of action by drawing on Sewell’s (1992) conception of structure as the duality of schemas and resources and his view of agency as enabled, not only constrained, by the structure. On Sewell’s view, social change is made possible by the acts of interpretation – of both schemas and resources – that are part of the normal functioning of structures, as these acts of interpretation can introduce new and unpredictable organizations of power. I make two modifications to Sewell’s view. First, I argue that the interpretation of schemas or resources takes place in and depends on a public. The public of one’s actions determines whether one’s action is an enactment of a pre-existing cultural meaning that preserves the structure or a new, transformative action. Consequently, the meaning of one’s action, and thus the action’s ability (or inability) to transform the prevailing organization of power, depends on one’s public, not primarily on the agent or her intentions. Therefore, secondly, agency should not be understood as a type of control. Rather, agency, especially the aspect of agency that relates to social change, should be understood as a function of the contingency and unpredictability that action can introduce into the social reality. Given that the meanings of one’s actions depend on their (potentially multiple) publics, publics that confer them one set of meanings rather than another, agents are not in control of the effects of their actions. However, this lack of control is not a failure or absence of agency. On the contrary, it is precisely in virtue of this lack of control, in virtue of the unpredictability that it can introduce that action is able to introduce social change.
In this paper, I argue that the contemporary move to think structurally about injustice has had several advantages. It has allowed us to identify patterns that were previously under-appreciated, take note of the explicitly human sources of many problems, and move away from a myopic focus on the culpability and intent of those allegedly producing harms toward an appreciation for the impacts they have on others. At the same time, I show how structural discourse can sometimes work at cross-purposes with its goals, giving rise to what I call the cog problem. The notion of structure and particular structures can themselves become reified, reducing people to their positions, portraying them as unthinking cogs in a machine they did not design and cannot change, while at the same time implying that some people, often the “impartial” academic, can escape their positionality, observing the functioning of the whole machine. What these tensions help to reveal, I argue, is the need for new ways of conceptualizing the relationship between the individual and structures, one that can incorporate the insights of existing theories of structural injustice, without denying the possibility of human action to address the harms it seeks to alleviate. To meet this need, I propose structural proximity, a term I coin to capture the connection between individuals and those that they impact through structures. Using lessons from the “structural turn,” structural proximity is not a measure of culpability and is unconcerned with the intentions of the actors. Structural proximity accommodates varying types and degrees of connection, eschewing overly restrictive unidirectional, linear notions of temporality and causality. Furthermore, understanding oneself as structurally proximate to a harm is more than just an intellectual exercise, it is an embodied, material, and affective relationship. While our position within structures limits what we individually can understand about them, collectively we can map out the structures we are imbricated in, and in doing so, learn how to better take responsibility for the harms we are structurally proximate to and identify other actors who are especially structurally proximate to harms we and others are experiencing. In doing so, we may open up new possibilities for holding ourselves and others accountable.
Using Emergency Politics to Fight Structural Racism in the U.S.
Jennifer C. Rubenstein, University of Virginia
Whether one’s paradigm example of emergency is the contagious pathogen, the drowning toddler, or the ticking bomb, emergency politics typically focuses on finding and implementing immediate solutions to urgent threats: the pathogen must be contained, the toddler rescued, the bomb disarmed. Emergency politics as we usually conceive of it directs attention to the present and immediate future, not the past; it alleviates symptoms rather than identifying and fixing underling structural problems. Nonetheless, progressive political movements working to address longstanding structural injustices, such as structural racism, regularly utilize emergency politics to achieve their aims. For example, they use emergency rhetoric, demand that governments and other official bodies recognize structural issues as emergencies, and they demand that exceptional means be used to address structural issues. In this paper, which is part of a larger book project about progressive social movement emergency politics, I ask: how, why, and to what extent do activists fighting structural racism against Black people in the United States weave together (1) emergency politics and (2) attention to historic and structural injustice? More specifically, I ask: what is so compelling or useful about emergency politics that anti-racist activists deploy it, despite its seemingly poor fit for their purposes? When and how do anti-racist activists stretch, mold, reconfigure—and find functional alternatives to— emergency politics? To answer these questions, I analyze the intense emergency and emergency-adjacent rhetoric of Ida B. Wells in The Red Record and William Lloyd Garrison in The Liberator (as well as the latter’s explicit defense of this rhetoric); Martin Luther King’s discussion of well-timed surgery in Why We Can’t Wait, which I read as an alternative to emergency rhetoric, and the dozens of declarations stating that racism is a public health crisis issued by cities, towns, and states in the wake of the George Floyd protests and Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. (Perhaps surprisingly, these declarations often mention historic injustice and structural issues, but only rarely reference acute emergencies such as hate crimes [Mendez et al 2021]). Finally, I examine the Movement for Black Lives, which emphasizes historic and structural injustice and draws on some elements of emergency politics but incorporates little or no explicit emergency language or framing. In examining these deployments, reconfigurations, and complete or partial rejections of emergency politics, I find that emergency politics can be combined with attention to historic and structural injustice far more than familiar paradigms of emergency politics (e.g., the pathogen, drowning toddler, and ticking bomb) suggest. However, emergency politics is not the only way that progressive political movements enjoin others to urgent and exceptional action and forbearance.
Co-sponsored by Division 48: Health Politics & Health Policy
Full Paper Panel – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Philip B. Rocco, Marquette University
- (Discussant) Colleen M. Grogan, University of Chicago
- (Discussant) Eric M. Patashnik, Brown University
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an important opportunity to rethink and restructure the public health and health care sectors of both the Global North and Global South. In order to improve policy responses to future public health emergencies, as well as to repair and improve the health care systems that have been (further) fractured by the pandemic, it will be necessary to critical assess and learn from the factors that have shaped the often failed and fragmented response to COVID-19. In their paper, Rozenblum, Greer, and Jarman investigate why the well-established and well-funded public health agencies of France and the United States were sidelined in policy discussions at the exact time their expertise and input was most needed. In mapping out the role of public health professionals and institutions during COVID-19 in France and the United States, the authors find that the advice of public health professional was ignored by policymakers because public health professionals lacked adequate policy tools and occupied a contested professional domain. Kuo and Kelly investigate the comparative COVID-19 policy response across counties and regions with California. In moving beyond a consideration of formal state and public health capacity, Kuo and Kelly argue that the more robust policy response of the Bay Area was, in part, a product of partnerships between state and community-based actors. Drawing on the concept of “embedded autonomy,” Kuo and Kelly reconceptualize public health capacity and consider it within broader issues of state capacity and democracy. In their paper, Trujillo and Motta theorize how vaccine hesitancy and the politically contentious nature of vaccines during COVID-19 may “spillover” into the post-pandemic era and increase negative attitudes towards childhood vaccine mandates, elective adult vaccines, as well as vaccines still in development. In finding that such spillover effects are present, Trujillo and Motta also consider how strategic communication may encourage future vaccine uptake. Finally, Vitale examines the complex interaction of national social policy and international interventions during COVID-19. In focusing on the Haitian-Dominican border, Vitale finds that diverted resources, unstable funding structures, hidden or misaligned donor priorities have kept some populations in intense precarity. The transnational and national pandemic response has produced ill health through fragmenting and financializing the health care sector.
Strange Defeat: Knowledge, Delegation, and COVID-19 in France and the U.S.
Sarah Denise Rozenblum, University of Michigan; Scott L. Greer, University of Michigan; Holly Jarman, University of Michigan
Making an issue “above politics” is a tremendous political victory. The establishment and maintenance of such claims to expertise and intellectual monopolies in different policy areas are a goal and a source of political contestation in many policy fields, from central banking to trade policy to public health. Constraining a policy agenda and scope of conflict to the concerns of a particular intellectual community is an act of politics- delegation- and shapes politics. What does it take to establish organizational and professional dominance of a policy area? Drawing on the sociology of knowledge as well as the comparative politics of delegation, we argue that generalist politicians will delegate authority to specialists, such as an organized profession or expert agency, when the profession combines an established professional domain with organizations under their control which control key policy tools. Our cases are two ambitious but different public health professional projects in France and the United States that were both sidelined by their executives in a crisis seemingly tailored to the expertise of public health agencies and experts. The United States and France faced COVID-19 after making large investments in communicable disease control, with both governments maintaining prominent public health agencies, but in both countries, their public health agencies and professionals were sidelined by the executive exactly when they faced an unprecedented public health crisis. We use data from governmental and international policy documents, from the scientific literature, and secondary source documents to map out the role of the public health profession and institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic in France and the United States. In both cases, their ability to contain the scope of conflict was limited by a contested professional domain and limited or no control over key policy tools. As a result, generalist policymakers were free to ignore their advice, and in both countries frequently did.
State Capacity and Public Health: California and COVID-19
Didi Kuo, Stanford University; Andrew S. Kelly, California State University, East Bay
On March 17, 2020, six counties in the Bay Area jointly issued the nation’s first shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Cities and states across the United States quickly followed suit, with varying degrees of success. Public health officials have been critical in setting policies, enforcing behavioral and non-pharmaceutical interventions, and communicating with the public. This paper explores the determinants of public health capacity, distinguishing between formal institutional capacity (ie budget, staff) and informal embedded capacity (ie community ties, insulation from political pressures). It argues that informal embedded capacity is critical to public health capacity, but difficult to measure empirically. It concludes by relating public health capacity to broader issues of state capacity and democracy.
COVID-19 Vaccination “Spillover” Effects onto Post-pandemic Vaccine Hesitancy
Kristin Kay Lunz Trujillo, Northeastern University and Harvard University; Matthew P. Motta, Oklahoma State University
Even amid the unprecedented public health challenges attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, opposition to vaccinating against the novel coronavirus has been both prevalent and politically contentious in American public life. In this paper, we theorize that negative attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination might “spillover” to shape confidence and participation in post-pandemic vaccination programs for years to come. In a nationally representative longitudinal survey of American adults across 2021 we find that — consistent with our theoretical expectations — people who opted to forego COVID-19 vaccination, who are more hesitant toward the COVID-19 vaccine, who endorse COVID-19 misinformation, and who oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandates, subsequently tended to become more negative toward childhood vaccination mandates and toward elective adulthood vaccines. In a separate series of cross-sectional surveys, we also show that these findings extend to the rejection of vaccines that are still in development (e.g., Alzheimer’s and personalized cancer vaccines), which highlights both the substantive scope and robustness (i.e., because these vaccines are still in development, attitudes toward them cannot possibly be confounded by personal vaccination experiences) of COVID vaccination spillover effects. Interestingly, while we find that vaccine spillover effects are more common on the ideological right, both the longitudinal and cross-sectional data suggest that those who hold (or come to hold) negative views toward COVID-19 vaccination are equally likely to express opposition to downstream vaccination programs, irrespective of partisan persuasion. We conclude by discussing how Americans’ personal, and often deeply political, experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic may shape public health outcomes for years to come. We also consider how strategic political health communication might attempt to encourage vaccine uptake in the future.
Neoliberal Health: Sub-Citizenship during COVID along the DR-Haitian Border
Lucia Vitale, University of California, Santa Cruz
This paper takes up the complex health systems of the Global South, which are comprised of important and revealing interactions between national social policy and international intervention. It highlights how COVID exposes the fragmentation and financialization of healthcare by showing how “biological sub-citizenship,” or the ways in which neoliberal policy becomes embodied as ill health, becomes real. While this embodiment occurs in distinct ways depending on where a particular health event originates—for example, from public-private partnerships, from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or from international aid agencies—the cumulative outcome is that local populations, often women heads of household, must constantly navigate between the myriad of healthcare providers in order to piece together some semblance of primary healthcare for themselves and their families. The Dominican-Haitian border represents a rich opportunity to illuminate not just interactions between international interventions and national policy, but also to observe the meaningful categories of citizenship and how regimes of sub-citizenship are determined. Using empirical evidence from rural areas along the border, this article uses a multiscalar approach to analyze how transnational and national pandemic responses land locally to produce ill health through fragmenting and financializing the health sector. It finds that diverted resources, unstable funding structures based on donations, and hidden or misaligned donor priorities all land locally and keep certain populations in situations of intense precarity. By presenting routinized, everyday examples of health system navigation from the local scale, this paper hopes to push forward timely conversations on how neoliberal health policy at the transnational and national scales debilitates progress towards primary healthcare for all.
Co-sponsored by TLC at APSA
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Carah Ong Whaley, James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, James Madison University
- (Presenter) Elizabeth A. Bennion, Indiana University South Bend
- (Presenter) Lauren Cohen Bell, Randolph-Macon College
- (Presenter) J. Cherie Strachan, The University of Akron
- (Presenter) Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, University of South Florida
The erosion of democratic norms, institutions and values, both in the U.S. and globally, decline of faith in political institutions, and increasingly violent and divisive political climates in the United States and around the world raise many questions about the state of political learning and civic engagement. How can political science contribute to building the agency of students to address the most pressing challenges facing democracy and society by leaning into politics? What are intentional innovative practices political science can contribute to institutional approaches to educating for democracy?
In this roundtable, political science faculty will discuss how they are addressing an array of institutional and contextual challenges to political learning and civic engagement. They will discuss where civic engagement work is happening and where it SHOULD be happening on campuses, as well as the benefits to higher education of our political learning and civic engagement work.
Panelists will also share how faculty can approach pedagogy and praxis. As state legislatures are increasingly imposing or seeking to impose restrictions on teaching and learning, panelists will interrogate how faculty and staff should think about what risks they are willing to take and what tradeoffs they should consider in making evaluations to take on political issues in the classroom or through campus-wide initiatives. With the rise in extreme politics and political violence, panelists will also address what faculty can do to prepare students to respond to escalating threats and violence. Participants will also reflect on how they conduct political discourse that accommodates different beliefs and promotes free inquiry and free speech while minimizing harmful rhetoric that makes students, especially women and students of color, feel unsafe in the classroom and on campus.
Karen Kedrowski at Iowa State University wrote in the March 2022 PS Spotlight that APSA leadership should continue to promote civic engagement as a disciplinary priority and to develop best practices, rewards, and recognition for departments to use to integrate civic engagement work specifically into their tenure and promotion documents. Panelists will offer insights into how faculty and staff build a portfolio for tenure and promotion that creates synergy between research, teaching, and service.
Co-sponsored by Women’s Caucus for Political Science
Roundtable – Livestreaming Session
- (Chair) Dara Z. Strolovitch, Yale University
- (Presenter) Elizabeth A. Sharrow, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- (Presenter) Deondra Rose, Duke University
- (Presenter) Alison Gash, University of Oregon
- (Presenter) Julie L. Novkov, University at Albany, SUNY
- (Presenter) Nadia E. Brown, Georgetown University
- (Presenter) Stella M. Rouse, University of Maryland, College Park
- (Presenter) Pei-te Lien, University of California Santa Barbara
June 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a landmark federal policy that bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” in American education. This panel brings together leading experts in political science on the politics of sex and gender in public policy to discuss its uneven legacy.
Over the past fifty years, the implementation of Title IX has dramatically altered educational and athletic opportunities in American education at all levels. Yet evidence of gendered inequalities remains. What are the intersectional stakes of this gendered public policy for cisgender and trans girls and women? For non-binary and genderfluid people? How and why have the benefits of Title IX accrued to some marginalized groups and not others? What role does public policy play in shaping collective identities, individual opportunities, and systems of both inclusion and oppression? How have the gendered politics in and around Title IX shaped our understandings of the meanings of sex itself? How might the questions we bring to bear on evaluating the policy’s legacies shape possibilities for its political future?
Scholars on this roundtable will share their research expertise on public policy, gender and sports, #MeToo activism, race and gender in higher education, transgender and LGBQ+ inclusion more generally. We will reflect upon and evaluate the status and future of gender politics in light of Title IX.
Co-sponsored by Division 7: Politics and History
- (Chair) Carol Nackenoff, Swarthmore College
- (Presenter) Gary M. Reich, University of Kansas
- (Presenter) Ethan Blue, University of Western Australia (M204)
- (Presenter) A. Hunnewell Frost, American University
- (Presenter) Julie L. Novkov, University at Albany, SUNY
- (Presenter) Carol Nackenoff, Swarthmore College
Fears of danger and contagion coming from outside the U.S. have shaped American politics in important ways—not only in battles over the extent of executive authority in fighting COVID or other infectious diseases or in borderlines between federal and state authority. At various points in American history, unwanted immigrants and undesirable citizens have been treated as if they posed existential threats to the body politic — threats to what it means to be American (a meaning that also changes). This panel brings together authors of four books on immigration published in 2021 in law, history, and political science that look at some less examined historical and contemporary dimensions of exclusion and who has, and has had, the authority to exclude. Authors will discuss and explore each other’s contributions and seek areas where removing undesirables compares to other types of casting out (where policies may copy perceived policy successes in other arenas). We will develop questions and issues for discussion in advance that will allow us to think about dealing with unwanted immigrants in relation to American political development. Some authors explore efforts to expel, deport, imprison, denaturalize, and strip certain Americans of their citizenship. Amanda Frost, Professor at Washington College of Law, American University, in You are Not American: Citizenship Stripping from Dred Scott to the Dreamers (Beacon Press), and Ethan Blue, Senior Lecturer in History at University of Western Australia, author of The Deportation Express: A History of America through Forced Removal (U. California) examine citizenship stripping or denial and forced removal through stories about the unwanted. Blue’s study is the first to study deportation trains that made circuits around the nation, gathering up “undesirable aliens” identified by their poverty, criminality, mental illness, or radicalism, and conveying them to ports for exile overseas. Gary Reich, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Kansas, brings another often-ignored dimension of the politics of immigration to the fore, namely, immigration federalism and an examination of how some states enact more punitive immigrant policies while others are more likely to treat immigrants as de facto citizens—what explains this variance? In The Politics of Immigration Across the United States: Every State a Border State? (Routledge), diverging demographic trends among the states are shown to help fuel polarization over immigration. Quite a few dimensions of immigrant incorporation or exclusion happen at the state level. Finally, Carol Nackenoff (Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Swarthmore College) and Julie Novkov (Professor of Political Science/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Rockefeller College, University at Albany), in American by Birth: Wong Kim Ark and the Battle for Citizenship (Kansas) consider ways in which different branches of the federal government exert certain kinds of control over unwanted immigrants and explore claims about the power to end birthright citizenship after Wong Kim Ark. There are many kinds of reminders that citizenship can be experienced quite differently for those seen as not really American, and that it may offer fewer protections than one might expect. We will set aside time for engagement with audience members.