News & Events
"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about."
Those words of warning were written in 1992 by some 1,700 scientists including more than 100 Nobel laureates. Here we are, more than two decades later still talking, still drilling and doing very little to protect our precious planet from an economic system that prioritizes profits over the well being of Earth. Center Communication Civic Engagement for & David Barsamian May 19, 2015, 5.00 pm, Communications Building, Room 126
On April 8, 2015, CCCE director Lance Bennett was part of a panel about "The Politics of Global Climate Change" organized by the UW Political Science Department. Bennett addressed the question why it is so hard to strike a balance between the economy and the environment. The panel was held from 4.30 to 6 pm at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Karen Litfin and Aseem Prakash were the other faculty members who were part of the panel. Prof. Litfin, who specializes in global environmental politics, addressed planetary citizenship and the things we as individuals can do to be the change in a changing climate. Prof. Prakash, who studies international political economy, environmental issues and NGO politics, discussed the problems of elite politics that lead to climate inaction. There was a turnout of over 100 engaged and interested students.
John de Graaf spoke on 2/25 at a University of Washington luncheon on his experience as an advisor to the government of Bhutan, Gross National Happiness and other international indices of well-being and happiness, the issues inherent in using Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of economic success, and the importance of focusing on quality of life rather than growth as an economic goal.
CCCE director Lance Bennett and his team invited a group of local thought leaders to join the conversation about the Center's new project Rethinking Prosperity, which is a learning and civic engagement program to re-imagine, re-tool, and communicate new visions of prosperity. The group gathered at the University of Washington on January 28, 2015, to discuss different approaches to rethinking prosperity as well as potential civic engagement strategies, available resources, and possible partnerships. Anna Fahey (Sightline Institute), Christine Hanna (Seattle Good Business Network), and Laura Musikanski (Happiness Initiative) were among the present community leaders.
To learn more about Rethinking Prosperity click here.
On December 8, 2014, faculty and students from the Communication and the Political Science departments at the University of Washington joined CCCE to participate in a global conference call with David Korten and Otto Scharmer. Political activist Korten is the author of Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth (2015). Scharmer is an economist and author of Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (2013). With these books, the two visionary thinkers challenge the foundational assumptions of established economic thought and call for a dramatic restructuring of our economic narrative and institutions. The conference call participants discussed the following questions during the two-hour interaction: What role does narrative play in shaping economic life? How must the current narrative change if we are to have a viable human future and an economy that works for all, including Living Earth our home and source of nurture? What will it take to discover and establish a new narrative in the public mind?
This event was part of the Center's new project Rethinking Prosperity, which is a research, learning, and civic engagement program to re-imagine, re-tool, and communicate new visions of prosperity in a changing world. To learn more about Rethinking Prosperity, click here.
Join Rethinking Prosperity at the UW Center for Communication and Civic Engagement for this live call event:
SHAPING A NEW NARRATIVE FOR A NEW ECONOMY A conversation with David Korten and Otto Scharmer facilitated by Charles Holmes; via conference call.
December 8, 2014 11:15am - 1:00pm, Facilitated Call and Small Group Discussion 1:00pm - 1:30pm, Local Open Conversation University of Washington, Seattle, Communications Building Rm. 126 Register
What role does narrative play in shaping economic life? How must the current narrative change if we are to have a viable human future and an economy that works for all, including Living Earth our home and source of nurture? What will it take to discover and establish a new narrative in the public mind? If this is an exploration you are interested in please join us!
We invite you to join a MaestroConference conversation with two visionary thinkers, David Korten and Otto Scharmer, whose current books challenge the foundational assumptions of established economic thought and call for a dramatic restructuring of our economic narrative and institutions. Read more...
Rethinking Prosperity is a research, learning, and civic engagement program to re-imagine, re-tool, and communicate new visions of prosperity in a changing world. Our approach includes original research, new learning opportunities, and convening stakeholders. Bridging the classroom, research center, and civic arena, we seek new strategies for communicating economic, environmental and social policies that work better, for more people. Rethinking Prosperity is a program of the University of Washington Center for Communication and Civic Engagement.
On September 29, 2014, Prof. Lance Bennett delivered a public lecture on his recently published book The Logic of Connective Action at the University of Sidney. The lecture, which was part of an Australian Political Studies Association plenary session, was one of multiple lectures Bennett gave during his trip to Australia. An edited and condensed version of the lecture was published on The Conversation.
The Conversation is a collaborative effort among academics in a wide spectrum of fields to provide informed news analysis and commentary that is free to read and republish. The Conversation launched in Australia in March 2011, in the UK in May 2013, and in the United States in October 2014 as an independent news source that allows the research community and the public to engage with one another directly. The aim of the project is to rebuild trust in journalism, to increase the quality of public discourse, and to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues.
To join the conversation about Bennett's Connective Action, please click here.
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, renowned journalist and author David Cay Johnston visited the Center for Communication & Civic Engagement (CCCE). In the morning, Johnston spoke to students in CCCE director Professor Lance Bennett's 350 student undergraduate course "Media, Society, & Political Identity: The American Dream and the Crisis of Consumer Society" (POLS/COM 306). Later on the same day, he addressed a group of about twenty-five undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members from various departments, as well as interested citizens at a CCCE presentation in the Communication building. At both occasions, the author of several books on taxes and economic policy discussed the topic of his most recent book, which is entitled "Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality." In his talk Johnston explained how government policies subtly take from the many to give to the already rich few, creating a business aristocracy, which the Founders warned would ruin our republic and destroy liberties. He discussed the forces widening the chasm between the super rich and everyone else. Among those forces are, according to Johnston, the decline of unions and the shifting tax burdens. During both talks, Johnston touched upon a variety of topics, such as child poverty, corporate tax breaks, and the journalism profession. For decades, David Cay Johnston has been on the forefront of exposing and documenting these shifts in income and wealth distribution.
On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Amber E. Boydstun, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of California - Davis, presented a research project that she is working on with her colleagues Justin Gross (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Philip Resnik (University of Maryland), and Noah Smith (Carnegie Mellon University). The focus of the research project is framing, which is a central concept in political communication as well as a powerful political tool. Boydsun noted that the goal of the project is to develop a method to identify media frames within and across policy issues as well as to detect frame dynamics. Specifically, the research group is working to create a unified coding scheme for content analysis across issues, whereby issue-specific frames (e.g., innocence) are nested within high-level dimensions (or frame types) that cross-cut issues (e.g., fairness). In addition, they are developing methods for semi-automated and automated frame discovery aimed at both replicating manual coding and isolating patterns of frame evolution that might not be readily visible to human inspection. The talk was organized by the Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP) and sponsored by CCCE. Faculty and graduate students from a variety of social sciences departments attended the presentation.
On Wednesday, February 19, 2014, visiting exchange scholar Per Selle from the University of Bergen in Norway gave a talk entitled "The Origins of the Scandinavian Welfare State and Its Future in a Neoliberal World." Prof. Selle focused on the crucial role that civil society organizations played in the formation and protection of the Scandinavian welfare state. In addition, he discussed the impact that the increasingly prominent neoliberal thinking and market logic may have on the future of the Scandinavian welfare state. He argued that the Scandinavian civil society might not be able to buffer the dismantling of the welfare state as actively as it had helped to build it.
Per Selle is Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen and a Visiting Scholar at UW 2013/2014. His main research interest is voluntary organizations and political mobilization, environmental politics, the Welfare State, and the role of civil society in a democracy more in general. Over the last years he has also done extensive research on indigenous politics and especially on how the modern state adapt to this 'new" type of mobilization.
To download the flyer for the event, please click here.
It's a new year and with new faces in City Hall, PugetSoundOff.org is inviting youth, policy makers and invested adults to join in conversation on the newly designed civic voice platform, which launched on January 20th, 2014.
PugetSoundOff.org (PSO) provides a unique regional platform for connecting youth to their peers and community leaders while building technology skills and public voice. The platform was originally developed in 2007 by YTech in partnership with the City of Seattle Community Technology Program and the University of Washington Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (CCCE).
As Mayor Ed Murray leads the search for a new Police Chief and seeks to address important topics like transportation and the Sonics debate, he and other City officials will need the perspective of Seattle's young people and more importantly, a way to meet them where they are. Online!
Anyone can click on one of PSO's causes to see youth-proposed solutions around the topics of safety, neighborhoods, relationships, the environment and more. Within each cause, youth-led action projects come to life! PSO's most recent campaign, Youth Voices Against Violence, will be announcing the winners of its audio contest, where youth created original audio stories about keeping our community safe. The winner will receive $500 to continue their advocacy work and two youth will receive $250 awards of excellence.
"It is possible to make a difference when multiple people come together and stand up for what is right," says PSO intern Marleisha, 16.
PugetSoundOff.org invites all Seattle youth media organizations and advocacy groups to use the newly enhanced web tool for discussion, expression and action.
CCCE Director Bennett Publishes “The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics” with Colleague Alexandra Segerberg
Late modern democracies have undergone a historic shift. Citizens, particularly the youngest segments of the population, are moving away from established institutions, such as parties. This development leads to the question: How do such “fragmented, individualized populations, that are hard to reach and even harder to induce to share personally transforming collective identities, [...] mobilize protest networks from Wall Street to Madrid to Cairo” (28)? Together with his colleague Alexandra Segerberg, who is a political science research fellow at Stockholm University, CCCE director W. Lance Bennett addresses this fundamental question in the book The Logic of Connective Action, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.Read more >>
The Living Voters Guide won top prize in the Evergreen Apps Challenge. The crowd-sourced voter guide is a collaboration among CCCE, the UW Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Seattle CityClub. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation SocioComputational Systems Program. Read more about the project here. Read more about the prize in the Seattle Times blog and Geekwire.
Becoming Citizens Interns Engage Local Students with Civic Voice Curriculum
During Spring Quarter 2012, twelve University of Washington undergraduate students went into local middle and high schools as well as community centers to run the Becoming Citizens civic voice curriculum. The interns worked at Mercer Middle School, West Seattle High School, New Holly Community Center, and Rainier Vista Neighborhood House. In addition to weekly class sessions at the University of Washington during which the interns were trained to work with young people and discussed the latest scholarship on youth political engagement, the interns met with their students once a week at the school or community center that they were assigned to. On site, the interns ran a hands-on, community-issue curriculum that focuses on the use of digital media to help teens develop civic engagement skills and an effective political voice. Read more >>
Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy has awarded Philip Howard a fellowship year, beginning March 2012. The Center is a nexus of expertise in technology and engineering, public policy, and the social sciences and the Center's research, teaching, and public programs address digital technologies as they interact with policy, markets and society. Howard will be continuing his research on digital media and the prospects for democratization in the developing world.
With the political uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East in 2011, the CCCE's sister project the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam became a go-to portal for journalists and foreign policy experts. CCCE Associate Director Phil Howard also blogged for Reuters and the Huffington Post about the causes and consequences of what many now call the "Arab Spring."
- A State Department 2.0 Response to the Arab Spring
- Muslim Brotherhood Looses, Internet Wins
- Digital Media and the Arab Spring
- Who's Next?
Lance Bennett and Alan Borning (Computer Science) have received an award of $733,000 from the NSF Social-Computational Systems Program for a three-year project titled, "Socio-Computational Systems to Support Public Engagement and Deliberation."
The Swedish Research Council has selected Lance Bennett to hold the national Olof Palme Chair for 2010 (with return visits in 2011 and 2012). The Olof Palme Chair was created by the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) in 1987. Its purpose is to enable the Swedish Research Council to issue an annual invitation to an outstanding scholar from abroad to take up a visiting professorship at a Swedish university. Lance will be hosted by the Political Science Department at Stockholm University.
Lance Bennett talks on "Manufacturing Doubts About Science: How Media Spin Undermines Engagement with Public Problems" at the University of Washington Global Health Seminar, May 21, 2010. This talk was also given at Town Hall Seattle on March 9, 2010.
- Listen to or download the MP3 from the Global Health Seminar (13MB)
- Watch the Town Hall Seattle video
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
John de Graaf, moderator
Saturday, January 9, 2010
UW Communication 126
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett will talk about their book, "The Spirit Level: Why
Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger," on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. in CMU 126.
The evidence is overwhelming that more equal societies do better at almost everything we desire. Why do people in all the other rich nations and a few poor ones have longer, healthier lives? Why can so many other nations boast of more success in pursuing health and happiness, even though we account for half the world's health care expenses and its largest GDP?
The authors will discuss these questions and John de Graaf will moderate. John is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and advocate for a better society through such projects as "Take Back Your Time," "The Motherhood Manifesto," and "What's the Economy For, Anyway?"
The book is a best-seller in Europe and just released in the U.S. Some comments from reviewers:
"In half a page, The Spirit Level tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could." —Sunday Times UK
"The evidence, here painstakingly marshaled, is hard to dispute." —The Economist
"The argument is a powerful counter to any simple equation of social progress and the advance of GDP." —Financial Times
"Inequality is at the root of all of society's problems from violent crime to teenage pregnancy." —The Guardian
More information on the book and ideas is at http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/
This event is sponsored by The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement.
2009 CCCE newsletter released
The newsletter features:
- The Becoming Citizens program
- Civic Media Research at CCCE Leads the Way
- CCCE Hosts Media and Youth Leaders from Around the World
- Puget Sound Off Receiving Worldwide Attention
- CCCE’s New Blogging Curriculum for Teachers
- CCCE Serves as Model for New Illinois Center
Geoffrey Craig, CCCE Visiting Scholar
March 12, 2009
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
This colloquium investigates the "eco-makeover" lifestyle television genre through an analysis of the New Zealand program, WA$TED. The program involves an environmental audit of selected families and demonstrates how they could save money by minimizing energy use and reducing their carbon footprint. The presentation discusses the significance of the "ordinariness" of lifestyle television, its domestic focus, and the nature of the expertise of the program hosts and associated presenters.
The presentation considers the environmental and political significance of the rise of the "eco-makeover" genre and locates it within the more generalized prevalence of "makeovers" in lifestyle television. The analysis focuses on the moments of revelation, or epiphanies, that represent the climax of makeovers in lifestyle television.
Drawing on Latour’s actor-network theory, the presentation argues that the everyday epiphanies in WA$TED function through the revelation of the linkages between individual families, their everyday objects and practices, and the broader socioeconomic-environmental domain.
Geoffrey Craig teaches in the Politics Department at the University of Otago and he was previously the Mass Communication program chair at Murdoch University in Western Australia. In addition to his research interest in environmental communication he also conducts research on media and politics, and particularly media interviews and leaders' debates. He is the author of The Media, Politics and Public Life (Allen & Unwin 2004) and the co-author of Slow Living (Berg and UNSW Press 2006). He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming study of media coverage of the 2008 New Zealand election.
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
The elections are over, but the analysis of what has happened has only just begun. The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement & The Center for American Politics and Public Policy will sponsor a workshop that will focus on the role of old and new media in this historic campaign. In three presentations different scholars will give a preview on their research and ask for your input. Join us in the conversation.
- Covering elections abroad: How the EU press covered the campaign compared to U.S. newspapers? (Peter Van Aelst, visiting scholar at CCCE)
- The mediatization and framing of election news: The U.S. campaign on the broadcast news (Jesper Strömback, Mid Sweden University, visiting professor at the University of Florida)
- Digital networks and the viral campaign (Lance Bennett, Muzammil Hussain, Deen Freelon and Chris Wells, CCCE). Mark Smith (CAPP) leads the discussion.
Lunch will be provided to the first 20 participants.
"UW Insight: The Digital President"
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009
Johnson 102, UW Seattle
6:30 p.m. reception (refreshments served)
7 p.m. program, with Q&A throughout
Facebook. Twitter. Mybarackobama.com. Text messaging. The president-elect used all of these digital tools to devastating effect in the 2008 election. How did he do it? What strategic lessons can we learn from Barack Obama’s high-tech campaign? How might he deploy this online army of millions to govern? And does President Obama’s historic rise to the White House also propel social networking into the mainstream?
The answers to these important questions have a profound impact on the very near future of our democracy, as well as how we organize, communicate, and even do business in the digital age. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, describes it as a convergence between movement politics and business strategy. On the eve of the inauguration, join us for "UW Insight: The Digital President," for a dynamic, engaging conversation that seeks to put this digital revolution in perspective.
Open to the public, free admission.
- Prof. Lance Bennett, Political Science and Communication, on the digital tools.
- Kathy Gill, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication, on social media strategies.
- Brett Horvath, Social Media Strategist; Pickens Plan, YourRevolution.org, on youth voter registration and the future.
- Moderated by Hanson Hosein, Director, Master of Communication in Digital Media.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, The Center for American Politics and Public Policy, and the Communication Department Colloquium Series invite you to an upcoming talk of Prof. Stefaan Walgrave (University of Antwerp, Belgium). His talk is titled, "The political agenda-setting power of the media" (see abstract and bio below).
Monday, November 3
Noon to 1:15 p.m.
Lunch provided for the first 12 who arrive!
Abstract: Does mass media coverage affect the priorities of political actors (parliament, government, parties, president)? The lecture offers a tentative answer to that question. Media matter sometimes and sometimes they do not. Hence, research should focus on defining the precise circumstances leading to media impact or the absence thereof (one of the most important moderators of media impact, for example, are elections: in election times media have less impact). To that end, the lecture analyzes the available studies, proposes several methodological approaches, sketches a preliminary theory of media impact on politics, and tests parts of this theory based on a series of studies conducted mainly in Belgium but also elsewhere.
Stefaan Walgrave is professor in political science at the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on two domains: social movements (protest) and political communication. Within political communication, he has mainly worked on political agenda-setting. Drawing on a large agenda-setting project in Belgium he has published in journals including: Journal of Communication, Political Communication, Journalism Studies and Mass Communication Quarterly, and Comparative Political Studies. His study of political agenda-setting is now being extended to seven countries; from 2009 onwards comparative data will be available.
Colloquium explores gender in the Clinton and Palin campaigns
This election season has offered voters the chance to see two different campaign strategies from Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
Regina Lawrence and Melody Rose talked about these strategies during their presentation, "Playing the Gender Card? Media, Strategy, and Hillary Clinton’s Campaign for the Presidency," during the Oct. 6 colloquium. The colloquium was sponsored by the Department of Communication, The Center for American Politics and Public Policy, and the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement.
Lawrence is a professor at Louisiana State University and Rose is a professor at Portland State University. The two are collaborating on a book on the same topic.
Civic Learning Online workshop
CCCE will host a workshop about Civic Learning Online October 3-4 at the University of Washington Club. More information is available at engagedyouth.org.
2008 Election Seminar Series
Come and talk about the election!
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement and the Center for American Politics and Public Policy will be co-sponsoring a brown bag series on the 2008 elections. We have changed some of the dates to accommodate different schedules. Here is the revised schedule:
- Wednesday, September 17 in Communications 126 from 12:00-1:30
- Wednesday, October 1 in Communications 126 from 12:00-1:30
- Thursday, October 16 in Gowen 1A from 12:00-1:30
- Tuesday, October 28 in Gowen 1A from 12:00-1:30
- Wednesday, November 5 in Communications 126 from 12:00-1:30
Our first session is Wednesday, Sept. 17. Peter Van Aelst, from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, who is a visiting postdoc researcher at UW this year, will be presenting on “Covering Elections Abroad: How Europe Sees the U.S. 2008 Presidential Elections.” Lance Bennett and Mark Smith will be serving as discussants and will address how the election is being covered domestically within the U.S.
We aim to keep the formal presentations short to allow plenty of time for discussion, and we are ordering box lunches that will be free to the first 15 attendees. Come join us so that we can put our collective minds together to make sense of the twists and turns of the 2008 elections.
2008 CCCE newsletter released
The CCCE and its Learning Communities have been busy this year. The 2008 newsletter has the latest updates on:
- Becoming Citizens connects undergraduate interns with Seattle-area youth.
- What's the Economy For, Anyway? addresses quality of life, social justice and sustainability.
- Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston discussed big money, taxes, and how much of what we pay to the government goes to corporations and moguls during a Citizen Roundtable.
- CCCE is using grants from the MacArthur Foundation and Surdna Foundation to address what kinds of civic skills young people may be learning in online environments and to build advocacy skills training modules.
- Seattle youth commons Puget Sound Off is scheduled to launch in September.
- CCCE director Lance Bennett receives National Communication Association and University of Washington awards.
Cyberpolitics 2.0: An Interdisciplinary Colloquium
Friday, May 30, 2008
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement is proud to announce its lunch conversation for spring quarter. Come for the free lunch, stay for the cutting-edge graduate research.
Over the past 15 years, new technologies have fundamentally transformed the practice of politics worldwide. Social networking, streaming video, blogs, e-campaigns, and e-government are only a few of the tools that have emerged as fertile loci for research in this constantly evolving field. Departments as diverse as communication, information science, geography, political science, international relations, and public policy have brought a wide variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to bear on these issues, enriching the literature with interdisciplinary ferment. Whether you are a cyberpolitics expert or simply would like to know more about the field, we hope you will join us for a stimulating showcase of graduate research aimed at making scholarly sense of our digitally-augmented political landscape.The following graduate students will be presenting:
- Jessica Beyer, Ph.C., Political Science
"Apathy to Activism? Anonymous v. Scientology"
- Kris Erickson, Ph.C., Geography
"Personal Firewall: How hackers are re-imagining risk in the information society"
- Deen Freelon, master's student, Communication
"Managed Apprentices or Autonomous Agents? Assessing Online Civic Designs for Digital Natives"
- Sophie Namy, master's student, Jackson School of Int'l Studies/Evans School of Public Affairs
"Investigating Media Constructions of Migrants: Insights From Online News Forums in India"
Please RSVP to reserve yourself a lunch, and indicate if you would like it to be vegetarian. Non-RSVPers are welcome to attend but are not guaranteed lunch.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington is dedicated to research, the creation of citizen resources and student-designed learning experiences that develop new areas of positive citizen involvement in politics and social life. Our primary focus is to understand how new information technologies can supplement more traditional forms of communication to facilitate civic engagement. Through quarterly luncheons, the CCCE brings together faculty, staff and students to discuss their research on these themes.
David Cay Johnston
CCCE Citizen Roundtable
Thursday, May 1, 2008
7-8:30: Talk and Roundtable Discussion
The University of Washington Club
Targeting Iran: The Intersection of American Media and Foreign Policy
CCCE Citizen Roundtable
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Communications Building Room 126
CCCE newsletter for 2007 released
Which Way for the Northwest Social Forum? A dialog on cross-issue organizing
The Northwest Social Forum (NWSF) was organized over a 1 ½ year period, leading up to a planned weekend long event in Seattle, Washington. The World Social Forum was started in 2001 in Brazil, and local and regional Social Fora have become a significant positive force in global justice organizing by connecting activists and organizers across issues and geography, resulting in several movement coalition and actions. The NWSF would have been the second Social Forum in the US, following the Boston Social Forum. Concerns about process emerged 2 ½ months before the planned event, eventually resulting in the Indigenous Planning Committee's decision to pull-out of the Forum. The Film Planning Committee and Youth Planning Committee followed, and the main Planning Committee decided to cancel the event just 9 days before the event. Both the process and the call to cancel have resulted in a significant amount of criticism, but no formal process was undertaken to evaluate and move forward. The first US Social Forum is planned for June 27th - uly 1st, 2007 in Atlanta, and some effort is being made to organize regionally for the Forum in the Northwest. This report has collected and organized online organizing documents, survey results and interviews around 10 main themes that emerged through the process: organization, decision-making, race, conflict, technology, funding, geography, time, cancellation, and thoughts for the future.
Participants and readers are invited to contribute to a dialog around these themes and issues on the project's website, hopefully contributing to the development of further Social Forum organizing.
As a gathering of opinions by many of those most involved with the Northwest Social Forum this report is intended to foster a learning environment that may help future social movement efforts. This document has been published online, and an opportunity has been provided there for readers to discuss findings and future steps.
Transnational Advocacy Networks: Case Studies from Europe and the U.S.
Friday, April 27, 2007
CCCE continues to expand its focus on how communication can facilitate citizenship and civic engagement. The scope of this year's activities include: new research on the political impact of conventional journalism, investigations of how various digital information technologies facilitate citizen activism, the importance of the web in elections, and expanded initiatives to help young people connect with politics and government. Here are some of the highlights:
The research scene has been busy this year. An international team led by Kirsten Foot is completing a comparative analysis of the role of the Web in national elections in 20 countries across Europe, Australasia, and North America. Results from the European cases will be appear soon in a special issue of the journal Information Polity. Findings from the whole project will be published in The Internet and National Elections: A Global Comparative Perspective, edited by Randolph Kluver, Kirsten Foot, Nicholas Jankowski, and Steven Schneider, forthcoming from Routledge. A team headed by Lance Bennett is nearing completion of a book project on the dependency of the press on government spin during the Iraq War. A new project has just been funded to enable collaborating with Belgian and Canadian scholars on ways in which citizen activists are using new information technologies to engage more effectively in politics.
Civic Education Initiatives
The Center continues to be a place where research intersects with the learning experience so that students can apply what they learn in the classroom in the world around them. We are pleased with the number of students who continue to respond to our concerns about the precarious involvement of young citizens in our democracy. An important program in this area is Student Voices, a civic education project in the Seattle Schools that operates with generous funding from the Norcliffe and Charlotte Martin foundations. We are also in the early stages of expanding our civic education mission into community programs for young people, particularly kids at risk. The most exciting development in this area is a new project designing University of Washington student service internships to help place trained students in classrooms and community centers to facilitate youth engagement with their communities. This effort is part of a campus wide civic engagement initiative in partnership with the Harvard Campaign for Civic Engagement, which supports bringing our student leaders to Harvard twice a year to help coordinate this national effort.
CCCE Citizen Roundtable Lectures
Another exciting outreach program is our new CCCE Citizen Roundtable speaker series that draws top talent from the university to make presentations on timely topics to a growing group of interested community members and CCCE supporters. This year's series includes lively discussions of the problem of press dependence on government, the impact of fundamentalist religion on contemporary politics, the privatization of public space, the transformation of US foreign policy, and privacy and the internet. This series reflects our continuing commitment to building bridges between the university and the community.
Online Collective Action Symposium
We are also pleased to co-sponsor a campus symposium on Social Movements and Online Collective Action (February 10) drawing talent from a number of departments on campus and as well as invited guests. Danyel Fisher, a researcher in Microsoft's Community Technologies Group, will contribute insights based on his analyses of the ways that questions are answered, politics are discussed, and social support is given in online groups. Zack Exley, a political strategist with the DC-based communications firm OMP and director of the New Organizing Institute, a training program for online organizers in politics, will talk about lessons learned from his experiences as special projects director for the MoveOn PAC and director of online communications and organization for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.
As many of these activities are outside the normal range of things that foundations fund, we are also spending a good bit of time and energy developing supporters for CCCE. The speaker series has been an important energy source in this effort. We are also grateful for the support of a number of individuals, local foundations (Norcliffe and Charlotte Martin), and the Microsoft Corporation. This support makes our public service programming possible, and enables us to employ talented students at CCCE, who have demonstrated amazing leadership skills.
CCCE continues to be a lively and interesting place thanks to the involvement of many students and the support of our faculty affiliates. Thanks for your interest!
Privatization of Public Life
February 8, 2006
September 21, 2005
Overcoming Mainstream Media Spin: Exploring the Role of Independent Media
Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Media
Monday, May 23, 2005
Kane Hall Room 110
Admission free; donations accepted to support RTM's Seattle cable franchise campaign
Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watch group FAIR, is also co-author (with Norman Solomon) of The Wizards of Media Oz, and has been a distinguished media pundit with Fox and MSNBC, and a co-host of CNN's Crossfire. Former producer of the latter network's ill-fated Phil Donahue Show, Cohen also served in 2003 as Communications Director of the Kucinich for President campaign.
Once, mainstream news outlets transmitted controversy and debate. Today, they are increasingly the subject of controversy and debate which is a good thing, says Cohen: "People need to be skeptical of the news they get from the press, TV, radio and the Internet." Cohen offers tools to help news consumers separate media fact from media fiction, and to understand the trend toward tabloidism. "We live in the most media-dominated culture in the world," says Cohen, "with a shrinking number of giant corporations wielding unprecedented power over the public mind."
This event is presented by Reclaim the Media, and cosponsored by the Seattle Alliance for Media Education, the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, the Northwest Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, Newground Social Investment and KBCS. For more information, see www.reclaimthemedia.org.
Mini-Symposium: The Media & Iraq
Monday, April 11, 2005
3:30 - 5 p.m.
Spring 2005 Newsletter
Check out the spring 2005 newsletter.
Report evaluates ways of thinking about error in elections
- "In the Margins: Political Victory in the Context of Technology Error, Residual Votes, and Incident Reports in 2004"
In very close elections, the margin of error for the system of collecting and counting votes may be greater than the margin of victory for a candidate. In the report, "In the Margins: Political Victory in the Context of Technology Error, Residual Votes, and Incident Reports in 2004," we evaluate three ways of thinking about error in an election: technology error, residual votes, and incident reports. In 2004, we find seven states where electoral outcomes were certified even though the margin of error in that state's voting process was greater than the margin of victory for the declared winner Florida, Kentucky and South Dakota certified Republican Party candidates for the US Senate; electoral college votes in Iowa and New Mexico were assigned to Bush; electoral college votes in New Hampshire were assigned to Kerry; Washington state certified a Democratic Party candidate for Governor. In each case, the electoral outcome was legitimated by elections officials, not the electorate, because in very close races the voting process cannot reveal electoral intent. Public policy solutions are offered, such as run-off elections, standardized data reporting about error rates, and open source technology solutions.
CCCE Newsletter for Winter/Spring, 2004
Check out the 2004 CCCE newsletter.
CCCE Speaker Series
Doug Schuler on Civic Intelligence
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
3:30 - 5 p.m.
From global warming and disease to famine and war, humankind is faced with enormous challenges that won't go away. With our sophisticated knowledge and advanced technology, one might assume that we would be making progress on all these fronts. Yet, in many cases, the situation seems to be growing worse. Is there anything that people, working individually and with others, can do to help make progress on these problems? Or should we just count on others, presumably those with more insight, experience, time, and money, to take care of things?
Civic intelligence is a concept that is intended to help us better understand -- and improve -- society's collective problem-solving abilities or what Dewey called the "final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all." Although society employs civic intelligence already, society's need for collective problem-solving skills has never been more acute. My objective is to collaboratively construct a model or theory of "civic intelligence" that is useful for developing those skills and helping us pursue a more conscious evolution of our collective capabilities.
"While what we call intelligence may be distributed in unequal amounts, it is the democratic faith that is sufficiently general so that each individual has something to contribute, and the value of each contribution can be assessed only as it entered into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all." -- John Dewey, 1937
His article, "Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New 'World Brain'" was published in Journal of Society, Information and Communication, vol 4 No. 2
"What Do Presidential Primaries Mean?"
Thursday, April 22, 2004
3:30 - 5 p.m.
Come and hear Michael Schudson discuss the peculiar institution of the American presidential primary. What is the history of these strange things and how did they get to be so important? How they have evolved into singular media events that give journalists an occasion for providing a reading of American politics and society? This journalistic reading is partly instructive, particularly about regional and demographic diversities. It is also mythological: about "the grass roots" and about "presidential-ness" and other topics.
This brief opening presentation will be followed by a conversation with the audience on the role of the press in presidential election politics.
"A Research Agenda for an Institutional News Media"
Are the news media a governing institution?
Why does this matter?
How do we research an institutional media?
Although many scholars have argued for the institutional status of the U.S. media, research on the U.S. political system typically ignores the role of the news media in political processes and government operations. During "A Research Agenda for an Institutional News Media" Sparrow explains why the media need to be considered a political institution, and looks at the impact that this has on the investigation of news media that effectively amount to being a political institution.
Bartholomew Sparrow is the author of Uncertain Guardians: The News Media as a Political Institution (Johns Hopkins, 1999), From the Outside In: World War II and the American State (Princeton, 1996) and Our Shadow States: The Insular Cases and the Territories of the United States (Kansas, forthcoming). He is also the co-editor, with Roderick Hart, of Politics, Discourse, and American Society (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001). Professor Sparrow has received the Pi Sigma Alpha award for the best paper presented at the APSA annual conference and the Franklin L. Burdette Award for the best dissertation in public administration. He has received fellowships from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. He is an associate professor in Government at The University of Texas at Austin.
A Series of Events on Digital Network Analysis
Richard Rogers, University of Amsterdam
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, the Digital Media Working Group, and the Center for American Politics are pleased to announce a visit by Dr. Richard Rogers.
Dr. Rogers is an assistant professor in the Department of New Media Studies, University of Amsterdam and visiting professor in the philosophy and social study of science at the University of Vienna. He also advises Infodrome, the Dutch Government's think tank for the information society. He is the author of Technological Landscapes (London: Royal College of Art,1999) and editor of Preferred Placement: Knowledge Politics on the Web (Maastricht: Jan van Eyck Editions, 2000). Rogers is currently working on two projects: IssueAtlas.net, a piece of server-side software and a set of network maps about globalisation issues; and a book.
10:00-11:30 a.m. "Mapping Issue Networks on the Web: Methods, Techniques, Claims" Hosted by the Digital Media Working Group, Allen Auditorium
12:30-1:30 p.m. Discussion of technical aspects of Web analysis
Hosted by the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, 1st floor of Communication Building, across from COM 120
2-3 p.m. "The News from Genoa: The Web Issue Index of Civil Society" Hosted by the Center for American Politics and Public Policy, Gowen 1B
International Survey on Anti-War Protests
On February 15, 2003, millions of people joined protest marches against war on Iraq in many countries all over the world. Some commentators have called it the largest global protest ever. Why do people take part in such demonstrations? Where do they get their political information? Are demonstrators mostly seasoned political campaigners, or have the demonstrations mobilized many first-time protesters?
These are some of the questions being investigated by a team of American and European researchers in a cooperative survey project. The CCCE led the American contingent in this major empirical research effort. With the help of student volunteers, over 2,000 questionnaires were distributed to protesters at the New York, San Francisco, and Seattle demonstrations. A copy of the survey and description of the research can be found here.
Politics, The Press, and Free Speech: A Discussion of Current Issues from Public Records Reform to the Patriot Act
On April 18, a talk by Emily Erickson, Professor, Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.
SPIN 1.0 Meeting
The first meeting of the SPIN project was held in December, 2002. Billed as a "conversation with community organizers, culture workers, and media activists aimed at creating a Seattle Political Information Network," the meeting served as a fruitful brainstorming session for creating an interactive information and publicity system for community activists and issue advocacy networks. Distributed at the meeting was a SPIN 1.0 document detailing a vision for the project, a program for the meeting, and background information of participants. A SPIN 2.0 meeting is being planned for Spring, 2003.
Panel on Cyberactivism
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Communication Building, Room 126
Panelists: Sheri Herndon, Independent Media Center & Doug Schuler, Public Sphere Project & Seattle Community Network
Moderator: Lance Bennett, Professor, Political Science & Communication, UW
(Event co-sponsored by the Digital Media Working Group)
Forum on Comparative Journalism
Tuesday, October 8, 2002
CCCE is pleased to join the World Affairs Council, The Dart Center, the Russian and East European Program (REECAS) and the Department of Communication in sponsoring a roundtable discussion on issues facing journalists in East European democracies and the United States. University of Washington Faculty Roger Simpson, Jerry Baldasty and Lance Bennett will exchange perspectives with prominent journalists from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Poland. Topics include investigative journalism,economics and the news, journalists covering traumatic events, and the democratic role of journalism in different political systems. Open to the campus community. All are welcome to join in.
September 12-14, 2002
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) will hold their annual conference at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Fox News commentator, Bill O'Reily, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. For more details, please refer to the NAB homepage at http://www.nab.org/
September 10-15, 2002
Media democracy activist groups will host a community media convergence shadowing the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) radio conference at various Seattle locations. Amy Goodman of Pacifica's Democracy Now! and David Barsamian of Alternative Radio are keynote speakers. Planned for the week are panels, teach-ins and lectures - along with various forms of entertainment and culture jamming, such as a performance by Mark Hosler of Negativland. Events are organized around the theme of media democracy, including broadcast media ownership issues.
The event is sponsored by the coalition, Cascadia Media Alliance. From their mission statement: "The Cascadia Media Alliance is a coalition of independent journalists, media activists and community organizers in the Pacific Northwest, promoting press freedom and community media access as prerequisites for a functioning democracy."
Check out the comprehensive web site http://www.reclaimthemedia.org for in-depth descriptions and a schedule of the conference's events. Many of the conference's endorsers and associated allies are listed on our Media Democracy page.