Research into the role of government agencies, political parties and nongovernmental organizations is being recognized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) this year. Three FPA researchers received Insight Grants, which support research excellence among both emerging and established scholars.
“We are very proud to have researchers of this calibre in the Faculty, studying important issues that address the challenges we are facing in Canada and internationally,” said André Plourde, Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. “This reflects our mission to contribute to better societies, better democracy and informed citizenship.”
SSHRC Insight Grant Winners
William Cross, Professor, Department of Political Science
“Exploring the local dynamics of political party organization and behaviour for a more complete understanding of parties’ role and importance in Canadian electoral and representative politics”
While most research has focused on political parties at the national level, Professor Cross is seeking to better understand “the makeup, activity, and organization of Canada’s political parties both during and in between election campaigns.”
The four-year study, which received $138,239 from SSHRC, will survey local party members, nomination candidates and electoral district associations, drawing on data collected during the 2015 federal election. In some cases, the group will be re-surveying members who participated in the 2015 study.
“This will allow for an unprecedented analysis of why and when party members leave their party and how these individuals differ from those who stay,” wrote Professor Cross, who holds the Bell Chair for the Study of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. “Our focus on the constituency level will also allow us to consider how electoral dynamics and outcomes influence the makeup of parties.”
Professor Cross will be working with Scott Pruysers at the University of Calgary.
Laura Macdonald, Professor, Department of Political Science
“Transnational civil society linkages in North America”
Debates about the future of NAFTA and the relationships between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have led Professor Macdonald to propose an informed analysis of the future of this relationship and “how citizens can influence policies and promote democratization of the region.”
This research project will consider diverse forms of cross-border cooperation and conflict around the themes of labour rights, migration and human rights. It will consider how transnational cooperation has evolved over time and how it differs across issue area.
“The researchers will examine the factors determining why and how organizations decide whether or not to engage in transnational activism,” wrote Professor Macdonald, who received a 5-year grant worth $290,949 from SHHRC. “They will also examine the gender and racial dynamics in the organizations, the process of agenda-setting, and how strategies evolved over time.”
The research also includes a strong educational component: Students will be trained in diverse research strategies, including interviewing, coding, social network analysis and survey administration and analysis.
Co-applicants on the grant include Christina Gabriel, Carleton University; Jeffrey Ayres, Saint Michael’s College; Hepzibah Muñoz Martinez, University of New Brunswick; and Kathleen Staudt, University of Texas at El Paso.
Susan Phillips, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration
“Strategies for Enhancing the Financial Sustainability of Canada’s Charities”
Previous research has shown that a growing number of Canadian charities are experiencing financial crises: they are closing, merging and reducing services. This study will explore why some charities are more resilient to economic uncertainty than others.
The researchers are considering three areas. First, they will create an historical database of Canadian charities based on annual tax returns.
Second, they’ll look at financing, networks, and competition in three in-demand sectors: immigrant and settlement services, developmental services, and community-based home care.
Third, the group will gather information on the implementation of managerial strategies for dealing with economic uncertainty.
“Our contribution to the literature, professional practice and public policy is to elucidate and explain differences in adaptive strategies in an environment of financial volatility,” wrote Professor Phillips, who received a grant totalling $211,361. “(This will) provide practical guidance for enhancing the financial health and impact of Canada’s charitable sector.”
The co-applicants on the grant include Michael Lenczner, CEO of Ajah; Jesse Lecy, Arizona State University; Nathan Grasse, Carleton University; Tracey Lauriault, Carleton University; Julia Carboni, Syracuse University; and Iryna Khovrenkov, University of Regina.
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