Nicholas Hass appointed AIAS fellow
During his AIAS-SHAPE fellowship, Nicholas Hass will be working on the project "Using AI to Test Effects of Inclusive Narratives on Notions of Citizenship and Support for Democracy”
Concerns about the state of democracy have surged amongst new evidence that many citizens do not value democratic principles or accept election results. Many suggest that at the core of these anti-democratic beliefs is a dismissal of some voters – ethnic minorities – as lesser members of the nation. In this project, I ask: “Can increasing the perceived centrality of ethnic minorities to the nation strengthen citizens’ commitment to democratic principles?”
According to my theoretical framework, individuals are motivated – perhaps increasingly so, due to growing inter-group polarization – to sacrifice democratic principles in favor of partisan and policy outcomes that favor their interests. I posit that one way individuals justify sacrificing these principles is by dismissing the votes and rights of oppositional groups that they perceive as peripheral, second-class citizens with a lesser claim to the nation. In this way, perceived hierarchies of national belonging can help individuals to justify supporting undemocratic measures.
In experiments in India and the United States, I will explore whether inclusive historical narratives can shift minorities’ perceived place in the nation and majority members’ commitment to democratic principles.
I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University, which I joined following my PhD at New York University. My research investigates causes, consequences, and potential solutions to inter-group inequality, polarization, and conflict. A central focus of my research is group identity. I draw on experimental and advanced statistical methods, qualitative fieldwork, and insights from economics and psychology to answer substantive and methodological questions sourced from these interests.
Fellowship period: 1 Sep 2023 - 30 Jun 2024
Fellowship type: AIAS-SHAPE fellow