Polarized Polities

PI: Jennifer McCoy

This project looks at recent examples of political and societal polarization in cases as disparate as Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Venezuela, South Africa, Greece and Hungary to ask: why does the arrival to power through electoral politics of previously excluded sectors sometimes result in new forms of exclusion, backlash and conflict, while in other cases the conflict management mechanisms of democratic politics appear to allow for peaceful inclusion?  When polarization reaches the societal level, impeding not only governance but also peaceful coexistence, what factors can successfully overcome it?  In a workshop funded by the International Studies Association March 14-15, 2016, the participants seek to identify commonalities of apparently disparate cases; explore innovative methodologies including new survey measures of societal polarization, neurological experiments, experimental surveys, and social media analysis; and potentially build a collaborative interdisciplinary and international research team for sponsored research proposals over the next three years.