Racial Inequality, Pandemic, and Democracy: COVID-19 and Unequal Citizenship in Times of Crisis

Awarded Scholars:
Nathan Kelly, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Jana Morgan, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Project Date:
Feb 2021
Award Amount:
$37,630

Co-funded by JPB Foundation

Political scientists Nathan Kelly and Jana Morgan will consider how exposure to information about structural inequality influences people’s thinking about governmental processes, practices, and policies. They hypothesize that structural inequality and lack of policy action undermine confidence in governmental institutions and policies and weaken support for democratic values and practices. They will field a survey experiment to address the following questions: 1) How does encountering structural inequality influence the ways people think about the democratic system, the processes and outcomes it produces, and their place in it? 2) To what extent do government actions that combat or reproduce inequalities serve as antidote or accelerant to the consequences of marginalization? They seek to understand how racialized hierarchies shape respondents’ experiences and understandings of politics, and how policy responses can counteract or intensify the attitudinal consequences of these hierarchies.

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