Monday, November 13, 2017,
Roberts / SmithRobins

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Sociology Department for our colloquium series. On Monday, November 13, Josh Pacewicz, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brown University, will present a talk on “Trumpism before Trump: Party Polarization and Rust Belt Populism Reexamined.” The abstract follows:

Since the 1970s, American political parties and voters have diverged: politicians and party leaders have grown more polarized, while voters’ ambivalence towards the two parties and preferences for outside-the-beltway candidates has increased. This book explains this divergence by examining connections between urban and partisan politics, focusing especially on grassroots community leaders’ relationship with the two parties. Drawing on a comparative ethnographic community study of two rust belt cities in Iowa during the 2008 and 2012 election cycle, the book shows how Keynesian-era regulations created factions in urban politics and led community leaders to see partisan engagement as part of their public personae. After the 1980s, federal reforms re-oriented community governance around broad-based partnerships, which community leaders see as inconsistent with partisan engagement. The book argues that community leaders’ withdrawal from grassroots parties empowers ideologically-motivated activists, thus polarizing America’s political class and setting into motion dynamics like the Tea Party and 2010s-era populist campaigns.


Open to the Colby community only