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Grant to Support Research on Pluralism and Deeply Divided Societies

Grant to Support Research on Pluralism and Deeply Divided Societies

A research team led by Pitt’s Center for Governance and Markets (CGM) will use a new three-year, $2.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to examine the ways societies can manage — and overcome — polarization and social divisions.

The center, part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), announced the grant Sept. 20.

Co-investigators Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, associate professor of public and international affairs and founding director of CGM, and Paul Dragos Aligica, KPMG Professor of Governance at the University of Bucharest and senior fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, will confront one of the most pressing governance issues that the world faces today: How increasing social diversity, worldviews, pluralism of values and lives shaped by contemporary social and technological changes are fostering conflict and redefining communities.

“This work is so important in our context of ever-increasing interconnectedness of systems and people across the globe, coupled with deepening divides across so many facets of our society,” said Carissa Slotterback, GSPIA dean.

The project will explore the tools communities develop to overcome deep differences under conditions of growing heterogeneity. The researchers aim to develop and test a range of intellectual traditions investigating and articulating tolerance-based solutions to these challenges.

Scholars will combine quantitative survey data and field research in, among other countries, Ukraine, Romania, Uzbekistan and the United States — with a focus on Rust Belt communities around Pittsburgh. Research partners include faculty from the University of Bucharest and the Kyiv School of Economics, which has close ties to Pitt in the form of president Tymofiy Mylovanov, an associate professor of economics in Pitt’s Department of Economics and CGM faculty affiliate.

“We’re pleased to support this project, which will explore some of the most fundamental challenges to free societies,” said Amy Proulx, director of individual freedom and free markets at the John Templeton Foundation.