Lab

Democracy Research Unit (DRU)

About the lab

The Democracy Research Unit (DRU) is a research group headed by Prof. Homero Gil de Zúñiga, based in the Political Science and Public Administration Area at the University of Salamanca.

More at:
http://acpa-usal.com/investigacion/democracy-research-unit-dru/

Featured research (22)

Prior research underscores the utility of political persuasion to sustain more engaged democracies and as a vital element in political campaigning processes. When citizens display increased openness to political attitude change, societies benefit as diverse viewpoints thrive, and less dissonant public spheres may be fostered. This contrasts with today’s contentious political and media environment. With political polarization on the rise, and new social media avenues enabling citizens to curate more diverse news consumption patterns, little is known about how this polarization influences the ability for citizens to be politically persuaded in social media environments. Relying on representative US panel survey data, this study seeks to shed light on this phenomenon by testing the effects of three distinct types of political polarization: Affective, ideological, and perceived societal. Panel autoregressive causal order regression and structural equation models clarify the direct and indirect negative role of polarization in predicting social media political persuasion. Theoretical implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are all discussed.
In recent years, there has been an increased academic interest revolving around the beneficial or pernicious effects of ideological extremity and (uncivil) political discussion over democracy. For instance, citizens’ ideological predispositions and higher levels of political discussion have been linked with a more active and vibrant political life. In fact, ideological extremity and uncivil discussion foster institutionalized political engagement. However, less explored in the literature remains whether such polarization and uncivil discussions may be related to unlawful political behavior such as illegal protest. This study contends that one of the main drivers of illegal protest behavior lies in online uncivil political discussion, specifically through the normalization and activation of further incivility. We tested this through a two-wave panel data drawn from a diverse US sample and cross-sectional, lagged, and autoregressive regression models. Mediation analysis was also conducted to test whether uncivil online discussion mediated the relationship between frequency of online political discussion and illegal protest engagement. Overall, we found that illegal protest was particularly associated with online uncivil discussion, while ideological extremity and other forms of online and offline discussions seemed to have no effect on unlawful protest over time.
In a world of polarized societies and radical voices hogging the public digital sphere, this thematic issue aims at identifying the different strategies of old and new social movements in the extremes of the political debates by focusing on the interplay between polarization, uses of the internet, and social activism. In order to disentangle these interactions, this thematic issue covers a wide range of political settings across the globe. It does so by studying: (a) how opposing activists discuss politics online and its implications for democratic theory; (b) how social media uses and online discussions foster offline protests; (c) how the media and state-led-propaganda frame disruptive and anti-government offline protests and how this situation contributes to polarization in both democratic and non-democratic regimes; and finally (d) how civil society uses digital tools to organize and mobilize around sensitive issues in non-democratic regimes.
In a world of polarized societies and radical voices hogging the public digital sphere, this thematic issue aims at identifying the different strategies of old and new social movements in the extremes of the political debates by focusing on the interplay between polarization, uses of the internet, and social activism. In order to disentangle these interactions, this thematic issue covers a wide range of political settings across the globe. It does so by studying: (a) how opposing activists discuss politics online and its implications for democratic theory; (b) how social media uses and online discussions foster offline protests; (c) how the media and state-led-propaganda frame disruptive and anti-government offline protests and how this situation contributes to polarization in both democratic and non-democratic regimes; and finally (d) how civil society uses digital tools to organize and mobilize around sensitive issues in non-democratic regimes.
Research on populist attitudes has bloomed in recent years, especially among political science and communication scholars. While this trend is undoubtedly positive to unravel what the causes and consequences of individuals' populism are, rapid accumulation of knowledge is also challenging, as numerous articles are published simultaneously using diverse theoretical, methodological, and data strategies. This systematic literature review considers all articles stored in the Web of Science and published in English that refer to populist attitudes, without time restrictions (N = 138). After a detailed reading of all articles, we focus on the most relevant findings considering populist attitudes both as dependent and independent variable. Main areas of consensus, disagreements, and guidelines for future research are considered.

Lab head

Homero Gil de Zúñiga
Department
  • Área de Ciencia Política y de la Administración
About Homero Gil de Zúñiga
  • I currently serve as Distinguished Research Professor at University of Salamanca (Spain), where I lead the Democracy Research Unit (DRU), as Professor at Pennsylvania State University (USA), and as Senior Research Fellow at Universidad Diego Portales (Chile).

Members (9)

Porismita Borah
  • Washington State University
Hugo Marcos-Marne
  • Universidad de Salamanca
Isabel Inguanzo
  • Universidad de Salamanca
Bingbing Zhang
  • Pennsylvania State University
Pablo González-González
  • Universidad de Salamanca
Zicheng Cheng
  • Pennsylvania State University
Emily Carty
  • Universidad de Salamanca
Rebecca Scheffauer
  • Universidad de Salamanca
Alberto Ardèvol-Abreu
Alberto Ardèvol-Abreu
  • Not confirmed yet
Manuel Goyanes
Manuel Goyanes
  • Not confirmed yet
Araceli Mateos
Araceli Mateos
  • Not confirmed yet