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Citizenship and Democratic Institutions

The Citizenship and Democratic Institutions cluster draws together researchers who address critical issues related to the multiple and contested meanings of local, national and global citizenship, and how diverse institutions, such as journalism and mass media, law, government, politics, the military and the market, influence civic engagement and social and economic well-being. Issues and debates that form at the nexus of citizenship and democratic institutions—fake news, mass incarceration, voter participation, public education—have received an enormous amount of public and academic interest across a broad array of disciplines and have attracted the attention of numerous funders. This comes at a time when public confidence in the institutions that support democracy is in the balance and when the public’s trust in the information they need to participate in democracy is critically low.

Traditional institutions, modes of operation and societal norms are undergoing various modes of challenge—some facing hard questions, others under assault. Inequality in educational financing, economic uncertainty, corruption in politics and the dissemination of fake news undermine confidence in government and democratic institutions. Questions related to the role of our military in the world and how we should act to best protect our national security abound. The criminal justice system strains under the weight of an unsustainable rate of incarceration fueled by structural inequality and the lack of reform. There is a need for interdisciplinary research both to make the criminal justice system work better for those within it and to provide alternatives to criminalization and incarceration. Likewise, our increasingly individuated digital environment poses challenges for the proper functioning of data-dependent public institutions from government to mass media. Dysfunction in our information environment threatens the ability of people to be able to trust what they read, hear, or see, and that is becoming a threat to the proper functioning of democracy itself. Phenomena such as social-media-generated disinformation are having corrosive effects on what people see as truth and on the ability of social movements to have an impact.

Members of this cluster will collaborate to create scholarship across disciplinary boundaries and generate important national and international discussions with an eye toward new socially beneficial solutions. Faculty in a broad array of schools and colleges will work at the intersections of existing strengths to address the pressing issues mentioned above. While various deep pockets of excellence exist within disciplinary and interdisciplinary spaces on campus, we see great opportunity to build connections across schools and colleges, not just within them.

The cluster is organized into three main areas: Journalism, Democracy and Citizenship; Law, Criminal Justice and Policy; and Democratic Institutions and Citizenship.

Primary Contacts

Journalism, Democracy and Citizenship: Regina Luttrell
Law, Criminal Justice and Policy: Lauryn Gouldin
Democratic Institutions and Citizenship: Andrew London

More than 60 faculty members are affiliated with this cluster.

Featured Scholars

Catherine Herrold, associate professor, public administration and international affairs
Emily Thorson, assistant professor, political science and senior research associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Carnegie Fellowship Recipients

Shana Gadarian (2021)
Thomas Moylan Keck (2019)
Jennifer Karas Montez (2018)

Recent Notable Awards

Edwin Ackerman, The Rise of Evangelical Political Parties in Latin American, Templeton Religion Trust

Julia Carboni, The Effects of Collective Giving Groups on Individual Philanthropy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (in partnership with the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Institute).

Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, A Second Look at the Health Effects of Military Service Using the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery as a Potentially Invalid Instrumental Variable, National Center for Health Statistics.

Genes, Education, Gene-Education Interactions in Obesity and Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.

Shana Gadarian, Public Responses to Novel Coronavirus: Race and Partisanship in a Crisis, Russell Sage Foundation, National Science Foundation, Cornell Center for Social Sciences COVID Rapid Grant.

Dimitar Gueorguiev, Retrofitting Leninism: Inclusive Authoritarianism in Modern China, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

Madonna Harrington Meyer, Hunger SNAPS: Food Insecurity among Older Adults: Qualitative Component, Russell Save Foundation Presidential Award.

Colleen Heflin, Food insecurity and chronic diseases in low-income older Americans: The role of SNAP receipt in medication underuse, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research.

Changing Patterns of Eligibility and Take up in SNAP and the Roles of Out of Pocket Medical Expense, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research.

Jennifer Karas Montez, Educational Attainment, Geography and US Adult Mortality Risk, National Institute on Aging.

Sebastian Karcher, Collaborative Research: Encouraging Open Law and Science, National Science Foundation.

Prema Kurien, The Incorporation of Religious Minorities in Canada and the U.S., National Science Foundation.

W. Harry Lambright, Forging a Climate Change Mission: NASA, Collaboration, and Sea-Level Rise, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Shannon Monnat (PI), The New York Opioid Court Treatment Enhancement Project, National Institute of Justice.

Building Drug Intelligence Networks to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Rural Communities: A Collaborative Intelligence-Led Policing Strategy, National Institute of Justice.

Understanding Opioid Risks in Rural and Micropolitan Communities: Economic Restructuring, Social Disorganization, and Local Responses, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture Food and Research Initiative (AFRI).

Robert Murrett (PI) andRobert Rubinstein (Co-I), IC Center for Academic Excellence: Syracuse University Adaptive, Diverse & Ethical IC Professionals: Partnership for Educational Results, Defense Intelligence Agency.

Tina Nabatchi, Participedia Phase Two: Strengthening Democracy by Mobilizing Knowledge of Democratic Innovations ("Participedia Project”), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Robert A. Rubinstein (PI), Corri Zoli and Tej Bhatia (Co-PIs), Culture and Language, Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis (HDIAC), Quanterion Solutions, Inc. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Amy Schwartz, School Choice Policy Research Center: A National Research Partnership to Improve School Choice for Disadvantaged Students, U.S. Department of Education

Ying Shi, Examining Underrepresented Students’ Access to and Gains from Selective Public High School Education, Russell Sage Foundation.

Merril Silverstein, Developing an Instrument to Assess Intergenerational Digital Communication by Older Adults: Expanding the Solidarity Model, Retirement Research Foundation.

Saba Siddiki, Research Coordination Network (RCN): Coordinating and Advancing Analytical Approaches for Policy Design, National Science Foundation.

Sustainable Urban Food (SUrF) Actions for environment, health equity and resilience at the FEW Nexus: Linking distributed agriculture, new technologies & behavioral nudges, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Illuminating 2020 Project, a data journalism project to study the 2020 Facebook political advertisements. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Devising Metrics for Assessing Echo Chambers, Incivility, and Intolerance on Twitter, Twitter.

Douglas Wolf, Paid Family Leave and Work-Eldercare Tradeoffs, Retirement Research Foundation.

Yael Zeira, The Ethnicization of Conflict: A Social Media Analysis, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.