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Transferable Skills Seminar Series - The NaspRead Experiment - 17/05/2022

Seminar

Spreading and Making Social and Political Sciences Accessible.
The NaspRead Experiment

 

Francesco Zucchini             &           Giulia Riva
NASP - University of Milan                            Journalist
Director of NaspRead                                   
Editorial Assistant of NaspRead

 


Chair: Nicola Pasini
               NASP - University of Milan

 

17 May 2022, h. 14.30
Room B - NASP Graduate School
Via Pace, 10 - Milan
and on Zoom

 

Attendance in presence is mandatory for first-year Ph.D. students.

 

Abstract

A common idea about research findings in the social and political sciences is that they are too biased by researchers' values, interests, and political beliefs to be treated in the same way as those in "the hard sciences". Social and political research would have little to offer to an educated audience beyond what is already offered by everyday interaction with other people, news about current events, or even movies, theatrical plays, novels, or historical accounts.

These prejudices, beliefs, and misunderstandings hide from the general public the fact that becoming a scholar in these fields, just like in the natural sciences, requires long training. The hypotheses that guide scholars in their theoretical or empirical investigation must withstand the review of a community of researchers with different backgrounds, political preferences, values, and origins.

Naspread.eu is an "experiment" of online dissemination that aims to improve the scientific reputation of social and political research by bridging the gap between it and non-specialist readers, who nonetheless value the questions that drive this strand of scientific research and want to improve the public discussion and deliberation.

In this seminar, we illustrate the tools and techniques used to achieve these goals and the current and future challenges.

How do partisan governments serve the interests of all of the people -- including the interests of
citizens who did not vote for the winning party? One mechanism has been through competently
managing so-called "valence issues" -- that is, issues where nearly everyone agrees on the desired
outcome, such as lower crime or strong economic performance. In the contemporary U.S., it appears that the historically important valence issue of the economy is waning as a method of democratic
accountability. This is happening in two ways: First, among both in-partisans and out-partisans, the over-time fluctuations in government approval are decreasingly caused by shifts in attitudes about the economy. Second, both among in-partisans and out-partisans, economic attitudes themselves are
decreasingly a function of objective economic reality. Together, these suggest that economic
performance is less and less a means to hold governments accountable -- because neither in-partisans nor out-partisans reward or punish partisan governments for economic performance.

 

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