This project examines how social science ideas become public ideas, and in doing so it develops a sociology of public social science. The project asks, what are public ideas and how do they come to be? More specifically, how do journalists and other mediators between the academy and the public use social science ideas? How do the various uses of these ideas develop over time and shape the public careers of these ideas? How do these processes help us to understand public ideas and to identify their various types?
This project builds on the foundation of “Public Ideas: Their Varieties and Careers” (Hallett, Stapleton, and Sauder 2019, American Sociological Review), which examines data from over 1100 news articles that engage with seven prominent social science ideas in 12 mainstream newspapers, over the last 30 years. To further develop the research on public ideas, the 2020-2021 SRP project will expand the dataset and the analysis, such as by expanding to include additional social science ideas that have crossed over into the public and incorporate additional media outlets.
Jasmine Davis Randolph
Jennifer JiWon Lee
This study is supported by funding from the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington.