Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Political Polarization

Over the last two decades, Americans have become increasingly concerned about the health of U.S. democracy and the pervasiveness of political polarization. We are inundated with news of political strife and of the extremist positions of the political ‘other’ from our politicians, the media, and our friends and family. Often, the rhetoric around polarization is an over-simplified narrative of a complex issue, however.

The Pell Center’s project on U.S. political polarization adds nuance to this multifaceted problem while highlighting our shared identity as Americans. Through studies, events, and surveys, we explore the causes and impacts of polarization to better identify ways out of this pervasive conflict.

Through a recognition of the complexity of the issue, we can move away from ‘us vs. them’ thinking, which relies on over-blown stereotypes, towards a more empathic approach to political disagreement. Concern for the health of our democracy is bipartisan—we need to find solutions that are too.