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RSF Bulletin

New Book: The Government-Citizen Disconnect

Americans’ relationship to the federal government is paradoxical. Public opinion regarding the government has plummeted to all-time lows, with only one in five saying they trust the government or believe that it operates in their interest. Yet, more Americans than ever benefit from some form of government social provision. Political scientist Suzanne Mettler (Cornell University) calls this growing gulf between people’s perceptions of government and the actual role it plays in their lives the “government-citizen disconnect.” In her new RSF book The Government-Citizen Disconnect, she explores the rise of this paradox and its implications for policymaking and politics.

Drawing from a survey which probed Americans’ experiences with 21 federal social policies—such as food stamps, Social Security, Medicaid, and the home mortgage interest deduction—Mettler shows that 96 percent of adults have received benefits from at least one of them, and that the average person has benefited from five. However, being a beneficiary has little positive effect on people’s attitudes towards government. Mettler finds that shared identities and group affiliations are more powerful and consistent influences. In particular, people who oppose welfare tend to extrapolate their unfavorable views of it to government in general. Patterns of political participation further exacerbate the government-citizen disconnect, as those holding positive views of federal programs have lower rates of involvement with these policies than those holding more hostile views. As a result, the loudest political voice belongs to those who benefit from social policies but give government little credit for their economic well-being, seeing their success more as a matter of their own deservingness.

Research from The Government-Citizen Disconnect has been profiled in Pacific Standard and cited by the New York Times, SF Gate, and the Washington Post. An op-ed by Mettler based on research from her book was also recently published in the New York Times.

Read more or purchase a copy of the book.

RSF Launches New Grants Management System

RSF is now managing all applications and grants through Fluxx, a cloud-based platform designed to make the grant process more transparent and easier to navigate for applicants, grantees, and external reviewers. All applicants must now apply for funding through the RSF Fluxx portal and all grantees will be required to submit reports through the portal. In the near future, external reviewers will also use the portal to submit their reviews.

If you are a previous RSF applicant or grantee, you will receive a separate email with your RSF Fluxx username and instructions on how to log in and access the RSF Fluxx portal within the next few hours.

All first-time applicants who plan to submit a letter of inquiry for the August 20, 2018, funding deadline should create an account no later than August 13, 2018. To register in Fluxx, you may need information from the research office at your organization. Please follow the application guidelines on our website.

Read more about using Fluxx here.

RSF Trustee Mario Luis Small on the Importance of Qualitative Research

In a recent lecture titled “Rhetoric and Evidence in a Polarized Society,” sociologist and RSF trustee Mario Luis Small (Harvard University) points out that over the last twenty years, there has been a marked increase in media outlets that knowledgeably draw from or rely upon quantitative social science research to interpret current events. These range from “data journalism” sites such as 538 to verticals like The Upshot in the New York Times. However, Small argues, there has not been a corresponding increase in qualitative literacy among the media and the public. In an interview, Small summarizes some of the points from his lecture and discusses the importance of qualitative research in a deeply polarized society.

Read the interview and the lecture.

New Research Grants Approved at June Board Meeting

At their June 2018 meeting, the Russell Sage Foundation's board of trustees approved six new grants in the Future of Work and Social Inequality programs, and three new grants in RSF’s special initiatives on Immigration and Immigrant Integration and the Social, Economic, and Political Effects of the Affordable Care Act.

View the full list of new projects.

Funding Opportunities: Future of Work; Social Inequality; Behavioral Economics; and Special Initiatives

RSF is accepting letters of inquiry until August 20, 2018 at 2pm ET/11am PT in the Future of Work, Social Inequality, and Behavioral Economics programs, and in the special initiatives on Non-Standard Employment, Integrating Biology and Social Science Knowledge, and the Social, Economic, and Political Effects of the Affordable Care Act.

View all funding deadlines and application guidelines.

RSF Books Win American Sociological Association (ASA) Awards

Cycle of Segregation: Social Processes and Residential Stratification (2017), by Maria Krysan (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Kyle Crowder (University of Washington), has received three section awards from the ASA: the 2018 Oliver Cromwell Cox award from the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities, the 2018 Robert E. Park Award for Best Book from the Community and Urban Sociology Section, and Honorable Mention for the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Race, Gender, and Class Section. Read more about Cycle of Segregation or purchase a copy.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox (2015), by Jennifer Lee (University of California, Irvine) and Min Zhou (University of California, Los Angeles), has received Honorable Mention for the 2018 Outstanding Book Award from the Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility Section of the ASA. The book is also the winner of three previous ASA—including the 2016 Pierre Bourdieu Award, the 2016 Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award, and the 2016 Asia and Asian America Section Book Award—and the winner of the 2017 Association for Asian American Studies Award for Best Book in the Social Sciences. Read more about The Asian American Achievement Paradox or purchase a copy.

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