Ongoing work at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) over the past several years identified the importance of access to socially relevant data in order for researchers to address large issues that…
From Our Programs
SSRC programs focus on scholarly innovation and border-crossing, deepening understanding of major public issues, and providing opportunities for social researchers. From Our Programs provides a window on current work at the SSRC, including intellectual breakthroughs and challenges; impacts on practice and policy; and the craft of organizing social knowledge production, dissemination, and use.
In light of the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, the Media & Democracy program has been forced to postpone two upcoming workshops until further notice. “News Coverage of US Elections,” which will address how changes in media, technology, and politics shape the way that elections are covered in the United States, and “Extreme Right Radicalization Online,” which will support research on the processes driving right-wing extremism and the distinct mechanisms by which such processes occur online, will be held later this year. As the program reorients toward an uncertain future, it offers this report on media and political change in historical context, the subject of a research workshop and public event held last spring.
In this report, Cole Edick—program assistant for the Anxieties of Democracy program—outlines the ideation and theoretical principles that served as the basis of conversation at a research workshop, held at IE University in Segovia, Spain, entitled “The Ideational Approach: Consequences and Mitigation.” Edick highlights five key challenges discussed at the workshop for the contemporary study of populism, among them: how to define populism, what unites populism across different political systems, and can social media inform the study of populism. Future endeavors assessing the modern ascendance of populism will benefit from this report, which contextualizes extant as well as ongoing research seeking to understand populism in varying contexts.
On April 25–26, 2019, the SSRC’s Media & Democracy program hosted a workshop on “Race, Gender, and Toxicity Online,” preceded by a roundtable featuring comments from leading scholars in this field. Senior program officer Mike Miller highlights key insights from the event, including how users do not simply leave their identities behind when they go online. The result for marginalized communities and women, whose identities tend to structure their political lives, can be disproportionate levels of hateful speech and vitriol. The roundtable participants—Zizi Papacharissi, Lisa Nakamura, and Catherine Knight Steele—explain how three stakeholders with significant influence over the content and form of online discourse—journalists, developers, and academics—can and should address its increasing toxicity.