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Bart Bonikowski

Bart Bonikowski

Harvard University
Fellow, 2018-19 Study #31

Bart Bonikowski’s research applies insights from cultural sociology to the study of politics, with a particular focus on nationalism and populism. During his time at CASBS, he will be working on a book about the characteristics, causes, and consequences of the continued rise of radical politics in the United States and Europe. The project combines his past work with new analyses of surveys, experiments, and large-scale textual corpora to examine empirical trends in the supply of and demand for populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. The central argument is that persistent cleavages between competing understandings of the nation are at the root of radical-right support. These cultural dispositions are typically latent in the population, but in historical periods defined by rapid structural change, they can take on increased political salience, enabling political actors to channel ethno-racial majorities’ sense of collective status threat into out-group resentment. The politics fueled by such sentiments threaten the stability of political institutions and inter-group relations in contemporary democracies.

Bonikowski is an associate professor of sociology at Harvard University, Resident Faculty at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where he co-directs the Research Cluster on Global Populism and the Future of Democracy. His research has appeared in the American Sociological Review, the Annual Review of Sociology, Social Forces, the British Journal of Sociology, the Brown Journal of World Affairs, the International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and a number of other journals and edited volumes. He received his PhD in sociology from Princeton University.

For more information, visit his faculty webpage