The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a nonpartisan center for advocacy, research and policy. NICD Chat is a podcast that includes episodes about NICD programs, research, and topics related to civil discourse and politics.
Emily Sydnor is assistant professor of political science at Southwestern University who has recently published Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility from Columbia University Press. This episode explores the book and its implications for political discourse and the issue of incivility--and whether it is good or bad for democracy.
The majority of Americans think that politics has an “incivility problem” and that this problem is only getting worse. Research demonstrates that negativity and rudeness in politics have been increasing for decades. But how does this tide of impolite-to-outrageous language affect our reactions to media coverage and our political behavior?
Disrespectful Democracy offers a new account of the relationship between incivility and political behavior based on a key individual predisposition—conflict orientation. Individuals experience conflict in different ways; some enjoy arguments while others are uncomfortable and avoid confrontation. Drawing on a range of original surveys and experiments, Emily Sydnor contends that the rise of incivility in political media has transformed political involvement. Citizens now need to be able to tolerate or even welcome incivility in the public sphere in order to participate in the democratic process. Yet individuals who are turned off by incivility are not brought back in by civil presentation of issues. Sydnor considers the challenges in evaluating incivility’s normative benefits and harms to the political system: despite some detrimental aspects, certain levels of incivility in certain venues can promote political engagement, and confrontational behavior can be a vital tool in the citizen’s democratic arsenal. A rigorous and empirically informed analysis of political rhetoric and behavior, Disrespectful Democracy also proposes strategies to engage citizens across the range of conflict orientations.
Order the book from Columbia University Press: https://cup.columbia.edu/book/disrespectful-democracy/9780231189255
This episode of NICD Chat is a lecture by Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University. She spoke at the third biannual NICD Research Convening that took place September 26-28, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Mercieca's talk, entitled "Is Our Public Sphere Under Attack?," explored weaponized rhetoric and its impact on American political discourse.
Dr. Mercieca writes about American political discourse, especially as it relates to citizenship, democracy, and the presidency. She has published two books about political rhetoric: Founding Fictions (University of Alabama Press, 2010) and The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency (Texas A&M University Press, 2014). Her third book about Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and demagoguery is forthcoming and is expected to be published in 2020. For more on her scholarship, visit https://www.jennifermercieca.com.
This is a special episode of NICD Chat, rebroadcasting an interview between Becky Margiotta of the Unleashing Social Change podcast and Cheryl Graeve of NICD.
Racial, political, and generational division are not new concepts. We’ve been faced with the repercussions of division for as long as the human race has existed, but is it possible to bridge those divides?
Today’s guest, Cheryl Graeve, works hand-in-hand with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to actively encourage others to participate in creating a more respectful and understanding space by initiating conversation.
Cheryl talks about the platforms in which they use to connect individuals and the process of integrating listening and dialogue skills. Join Becky Margiotta in this interview to hear more about how we can all learn to peacefully celebrate each-others’ differences.
You can also listen to this podcast, along with many other episodes about leaders making social change on the Unleashing Social Change podcast. Each episode is an interview with a "badass social change leader and learn the ins and outs of what they’re doing to make the world a better place. This podcast will help you feel optimistic that we can make a difference and give you practical tips about how to go about doing so in a big way."
For more on Revive Civility, visit: https://www.revivecivility.org
For Using Conversations to Bridge Any Divide, visit: http://www.unleashingsocialchange.com/2019/08/13/05-using-conversations-to-bridge-any-divide-with-cheryl-graeve/
For all the episodes of the Unleashing Social Change podcast and to learn more, visit: http://www.unleashingsocialchange.com/
NICD Chat - A dialogue between former NICD Executive Director (now Emerita) Carolyn Lukensmeyer and former White House Chief of Staff Thomas F. McLarty III. They speak about their shared time in the White House during the Clinton administration and the importance of working together, a sentiment McLarty wrote about in an op-ed called "The Case to Stop Campaigning and Start Governing."
You can read about McLarty's speech at George Washington University referenced in the podcast here.
NICD Chat with Lewis Diuguid, a long time member of The Kansas City Star’s editorial board who stepped down from that position in October 2016. To follow Diuguid, visit https://twitter.com/diuguidlewis.