Research

Resume |  C.V. of John Girdwood  |   Interfolio Portfolio   |  Statement of Research Agenda

As a Ph.D. political science candidate at Wayne State University, I’m interested in the American presidency, congress, campaigns, and political culture. I try to go by the Caltech Rules in my professional work.

I focus on American political languages, such as republicanism and liberalism–how we use these languages to base our values for governance today, how these languages offer mechanisms to create political change, and how they help people form different notions of democracy (i.e. dissertation).

Dissertation (working) Title: What Core Political Values are Observed when we look at The Patriot Act?

I use the literature to create indicators for republicanism, liberalism, and authoritarianism as distinct political elements within the American political culture. After collecting data regarding a search for “Patriot Act” (sample 51 articles of 1,000, unit of analysis is sentence, n. 1,058),  I am able to create a quantitative matrix to display the counts of each political tradition.  I am also able to see which tradition favor or opposes the research topic through a correlation test.  I find support for the multiple traditions perspective because only republicanism explains opposition to the Patriot Act, while liberalism and authoritarianism demonstrate widespread support.

Committee:

My Research in Conferences / Publications:

American Political Science Association, Session: Interpreting Political Ideas, Beliefs, and Discourses, Fri, September 2, 2:00 to 3:30pm, forthcoming.

I explore how the mores of republicanism, liberalism, and authoritarianism are distinct elements of the culture. Social scientists may soon be able to parse out the mores from a data-set about a singular topic or issue.

Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, April 2016 (available upon request).

 MPSA 2016 poster final 4 by 8 pic

AABSS 2016: “America’s Multiple Political Elements of an United Culture” 18th Annual American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Conference, Las Vegas, February, 2015. Plan to attend again in 2017! Presentation is AABSS 2016 Presentation Girdwood FINAL. Forthcoming in Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Abstract:  In this paper, I update Tocqueville’s swath of mores (Picture 1.1) for a clear depiction of the American culture (KEY). The literature and my research (Table 1) suggests that each political language holds a special political power relationship between “the people’s relationship with the government” and “the government’s relationship with the people.” My contribution is to show that each element is independent and has been long defined as such, even though I am the first to reorganize the definitions of republicanism, authoritarianism, and liberalism for the purpose of creating political elements as independent variables. Each element has a multitude of signals that do not relate or mix with the other elements (Appendix A). Thus, I provide a “first step” in procuring an empirically based model to analyze America’s political culture.

Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, April 2015: “U.S. Democratic Theory Integrates Republicanism via Multiple Core Values” paper here, mock presentation here, handout here.

Abstract: This paper explains the operationalization of my original culture inquiry that is designed to observe whether or not republicanism explains sporadic opposition to the Patriot Act. Opposition to the Act is heretofore not understood because it is unexplained by the liberal spectrum. Based on the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville, I provide a multiple traditions research inquiry that is operationalized to parse out republican, liberal, and authoritarian core values from a dataset and to send those values back to the political spectrum from which each value originates. Then, I code the same sentences as for repeal of the Act or not. I provide my dissertation’s preliminary evidence after the conclusion of this paper as evidence to support my theory of multiple core values as positive elements of the American political culture. The evidence suggests that a commitment to republicanism on behalf of the people does explain opposition to the Patriot Act at the national level.

Center for the Study of Citizenship, 2015: “Do Americans Share Multiple Core Values in Regards to The Patriot Act?” Governance & Citizenship Conference; Wayne State University, Detroit, March (here). Presentation is here.

AABSS 2015: “Mapping Political Language Responses to the Patriot Act in Time and Space,” Poster (link). 18th Annual American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Conference, Las Vegas, February, 2015. Plan to attend again in 2016.

MPSA 2014: I co-authored a paper with Jeff Grynaviski titled:  The Senate and American Federalism Revisited: The Doctrine of Instruction before the Civil War (link). Here is the PowerPoint (link) and some discussion.

Abstract:  The Constitution of 1787 gave state governments two functions that many in the Founding Generation believed to be necessary to the proper functioning of the American republic. They were expected to 1) articulate their states’ interests in Congress and 2) defend the liberties of their citizens from usurpations by the General Government. To a considerable degree, at the time of the Founding the ability of state governments to effectively perform these functions depended on their ability to influence the actions of their U.S. Senators, who were expected to advance their state’s interests with respect to the policies of the General Government, and to limit it in its attempts to overreach its responsibilities under the Constitution. In a seminal paper, Riker (1955) argues that the Senate failed to perform these functions because the Founders did not empower state legislatures with the constitutional power to instruct Senators and to recall those who failed to abide by them. In this paper, we document widespread use of instructions by state governments prior to the Civil War and offer tentative explanations for the practice given the lack of constitutional power to recall recalcitrant Senators.

MPSA, 2013: I co-authored a paper on campaign strategies with Anthony Daniels. We will be in section 29; Mass Media and Political Communication Session: Political Communication in Campaigns.Title: Political Actor Agency, Public Opinion, Negative Media Frames, and Winning Elections. Poster (2nd Place) is here.

Abstract: This study examines the media coverage surrounding the Jeremiah Wright controversy during the 2008 primary race between Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama.  We adopt a game theory framework to assess the role of  political actors in responding to and shaping negative media frames. Previous research on media effects finds two competing descriptions: minimal and selective effects.  We find support for both, media effects are subtle but can impact campaigns.  We adopt the subtle effects assumption that media coverage can have a meaningful influence on political campaigns primarily though shaping the narrative of public discourse.  Consistent with theory, we find the impact to be limited, subtle, and the likely product of cumulative exposure.  Daily events, the public’s response, and the actions of political actors all combine to shape a media narrative.  Employing a multi-methodological approach, we find that political actors can shape the media narrative and that frames impact the public.  However, these effects are mitigated by partisanship and other heuristics.   Our analysis suggests that political actors should combat negative media frames; otherwise, the candidate’s electoral chances of winning will diminish.

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I presented a paper titled: “Teaching ‘Introduction to American Government’ via Professional Political Science Articles” at the 2013 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Long Beach, CA.

Abstract: I teach and assess “Introduction to American Government” through utilizing scholarly articles from the field of Political Science. From the classroom [teaching], this paper will articulate how to organize group projects in class to initiate an exposé of high profile political science articles and books in order to activate higher level thinking skills. From the assessment perspective, I show that carefully choosing relevant scholarly articles for the students to review in essay form does enable the “Intro to Political Science” class to realize what most political scientists do for a living–as well as building critical thinking and writing skills. This paper provides the rubrics given to the students for the essay assignments and informal survey analysis from the classroom regarding these activities.

The raw data is here. Read the paper here. I’m not pursuing this research until back in another classroom.

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I presented a paper at MCRSA (2011): Economic Gardening and Business Incubation: Modern Municipal Economic Growth and Development Strategies (Girdwood and Girdwood).

Abstract: Economic gardening is an emerging resource utilization mechanism amongst economic developers. Business incubation has been around for a few decades, and we provide an empirical update in order to understand how it may be better utilized as an economic resource. Economic gardening and business incubation may provide opportunities for robust small business development and growth over the long term. We provide City Managers (or Mayors) and City Councils (or Economic Development Teams) with today’s explanation of economic gardening and business incubation, and describe when, why, and how each may cause economic development and small business growth and development. Finally, we offer insight into the rational choice and post‐positivist perspectives regarding the research of business incubation and economic gardening.

This article was published in the proceedings, see here. Also, I presented the appropriate portions of this research to the City Commission Meeting (Royal Oak) as a service to my community. See my presentation to the Commission here. My PowerPoint is here. See my report to the City here. Poster presentation at WSU Graduate Research Day is here.

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I presented a paper at MPSA (2011): Iraq Reconstruction: Investing in Multinational Corporations? (Girdwood and Girdwood).

Abstract: Who received American tax dollars for Iraq reconstruction during Operation Iraqi Freedom? To what extent did Iraqi Contractors receive Iraqi reconstruction contracts from Coalition forces?  Our data originates from the Special Inspector for Iraqi Reconstruction (sigir.mil). We analyzed 10,541 reconstruction Iraq contracts from 2004- 2006 in order to measure foreign direct investment. From the data, we estimated that Iraqis received 31% of the contracts, but that those contracts only accounted for 4% of the capital invested. In fact, about 79% of the American tax dollars was invest ed into multinational corporations, while 17% (11 billion dollars) cannot be attributed to any firm, because a specific contractor was not specified (left blank). Overall, the data reveals that multinational corporations disproportionately received Iraqi reconstruction dollars, rather than the Iraqi contractors.

See this conference paper here. A better version of this paper i sunder review..

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Other publications:

Our Greatest Lectures.” The Political Science Educator, The Newsletter of APSA’s Political Science Education Section, Winter/Spring 2013, Volume 17, Issue 1, Winter 2013 Newsletter.

Review of: Patrick Van Inwegen, Understanding Revolution. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner. Journal of Political Science Education. 2012. See here.

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SYMBOL OF G-MODEL FOR AMERICAN POLITICAL CULTURE RESEARCH:

G MODEL LOGO

 

17 thoughts on “Research

  1. Pingback: What is “Business Incubation” « Political Pipeline

  2. I stumbled on your site through a google search. I am the Operations Manager for the National Center for Economic Gardening at the Edward Lowe Foundation. I’m interested in your research of economic gardening. I’d love to learn more about how you view it from the outside.

    • Hi Jessica, I am impressed with your organization’s work! At the current moment, I am studying for written comp exams. We (a team of 3 including me) will be designing new research strategies–we had a meeting last month and we are looking to build on the first paper (I assume you downloaded and read the Economic Gardening paper published in the MCRSA Proceedings: see here). My group will have more research designs organized by the end of August. We would be happy to collaborate with the Lowe Foundation, perhaps a conference call between the groups if possible to expand research designs. We have a few ideas, both qualitative and quantitative. Thanks so much for the comment. Keep in touch! john.girdwood@wayne.edu

    • Jessica, the short answer is: I think economic gardening is a very positive way to grow businesses, create jobs, and promote economic stability–all of which have positive consequences for communities (and states and nations). I believe that the growth of economic gardening will develop in new and interesting ways–and I look forward to following it for many years.

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