Educating the Public on Evidence-based methods for improving inter-group civility.

Areas for Intervention

The sub-pages on this tab will each become a mini white-paper on a specific area, written by a political scientist or other expert, with links to relevant academic work. A theme on most pages will be that these problems are extremely complex, and that reform efforts have often failed or backfired in the past.

Our tentative list of areas to cover is:

1) Assisted Negotiation. Covers research on how to make negotiations work, when moral values and party loyalties make it difficult to reach optimal solutions.

2) Congressional reform. The Senate (and to a lesser extent, the House of Representatives) is broken. Here you'll find a variety of proposed reforms to bylaws and party rules, and our verdict on which ones are likely to work.

3) Cultural changes in the United States. Some sociologists have argued that many changes in public life are the result of demographic changes, such as the gradual disappearance of the "greatest generation" and its replacement by the "baby boom" generation. (e.g., Robert Putnam).  

4) The Media: The press has played a role in partisan debates — often an unsavory role — since the founding of the republic. On this page you'll find an analysis of how changes in the nature of political media — from newspapers to television to the internet — has influenced the civility of political dialog. [might cover: rise of cable news, especially Fox; televised presidential debates; social networking sites; rise of misinformation campaigns; political economy of media industry...]

5) Money: campaign finance reform, and responding to the Citizens United ruling.

6) Primaries, and Elections: The ways that states revise their electoral districts, hold party primaries, and hold general elections may have profound implications for civility within each state legislature, and for the civility of the people elected to the U.S. Congress. On this page you'll find an analysis of the many reforms that have been proposed or implemented. We'll also cover the role of money in elections

7) Redisticting. What are the alternatives to partisan control and gerrymandering?

8) Things you can do, as a private ciitizen:

Other [please suggest other topics, in the comments below]

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News and Links

A non-fighting faith, by Jonathan Chait, New Republic (argues against political civility)

Rising Rancor: One Nation, Divisible By Politics, at LiveScience.com, 11.1.10

–This page is maintained by Jonathan Haidt

Our goal is to educate the public about social science research on improving inter-group relations across moral divides.