Populism, Political Contention, and the Crisis of Democracy Symposium

This symposium, held in early March 2018, brought together scholars from Europe and America to consider populism and its relationship to the contemporary communication ecology. We did so with two driving questions in mind: (1) How has growing polarization and fragmentation in the media ecology, as reflected in partisan media, broadcast content, political advertising and social media, contributed to ideological and partisan political divides? (2) Under what conditions does the flow of information in the media ecology encourage citizens across the ideological spectrum to retrench into increasingly homogeneous sub-clusters that amplify highly partisan messages of party leaders and political pundits? The scholars hosting this campus event (Kathy Cramer, Lewis Friedland, Dhavan Shah, Michael Wagner, and Chris Wells) examined parallel questions by gathering social network, survey, and qualitative data on contentious politics in Wisconsin.

Below are videos of the different conversations held throughout this two day Symposium:

Listening Technologies for Understanding Public Opinion

Declining Democratic Responsiveness and Linkage in the US and Europe

The Politics of Contention: Communication, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy

Communication and the Crisis of Democracy: Institutional Decline, Disinformation and the Rise of the Radical Right 

Overview of the Wisconsin Project