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Articles by Theda Skocpol

Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University and director of the Scholars Strategy Network, which aims to make scholarly research accessible to citizens groups and policymakers.

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Two months ago, my report “Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight Against Global Warming” [PDF] was posted online (along with an important companion report, “The Too Polite Revolution” [PDF], by journalists Petra Bartosiewicz and Marissa Miley). These reports probed what happened with the big push for cap-and-trade legislation in 2009 and 2010, and mine used the results of months of research to place this episode within the larger political trends that have been playing out in U.S. politics in recent years.

As a scholar of U.S. politics, I am accustomed to analyzing social movements as well as efforts to enact big policy reforms, and I always look forward to learning as much from debates about my writings as from the original research. Nevertheless, I was surprised by the sudden and intense debate my report helped to kick off.

The whole report was accurately summarized in the first major news article on it, by Suzanne Goldenberg at The Guardian, but the editors assigned her article a headline and teaser that hit a sore spot: “Climate Chan... Read more