Theda Skocpol is SSN’s Director. She is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, where she has also served as Dean of the Graduate School and as Director of the Center for American Political Studies. Skocpol is an internationally recognized scholar and has been elected to membership in all three of America’s scholarly honor societies: the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; and the National Academy of Sciences.
Skocpol’s work covers a broad spectrum of topics and her books and articles have been widely cited in political science literature and have won numerous awards. Over the last two decades, her research has primarily focused on health care reform, public policy, and civic engagement amidst the shifting inequalities in American democracy. Among the many books she has authored or co-authored are Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life; Health Care Reform and American Politics; and The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Skocpol speaks regularly to community groups and writes for blogs and public-interest magazines.
No Jargon Podcast
In the News
Reports that the political practices of college-educated, middle-aged women are the most changed under Trump. Discusses the revitalization of the local Democratic party and that newly mobilized and interconnected grassroots groups are rebuilding the foundations of U.S. democracy.
Draws from research on changes since 2000 in the organizational universes surrounding the Republican and Democratic parties to highlight a major emergent force in U.S. politics: the recently expanded "Koch network" that coordinates big money funders, idea producers, issue advocates, and innovative constituency-building efforts in an ongoing effort to pull the Republican Party and agendas of U.S. politics sharply to the right. Reviews the major components and evolution of the Koch network and explores how it has reshaped American politics and policy agendas, focusing especially on implications for right-tilted partisan polarization and rising economic inequality.
Discusses the work and organizational innovations on the Right, the sputtering liberal efforts to counter the American Legislative Exchange Council, the success of Center-Left research networks. Discusses the shortcomings of the Left and what can be learned from the Right.
Finds that partisan differences between Democrats and Republicans are central, but goes beyond earlier analyses to measure added effects from two dueling factions within the Republican coalition: statewide business associations and cross-state networks of ideologically conservative organizations. Shows that GOP-leaning or GOP-dominated states have been most likely to embrace the expansion when organized business support outweighs pressures from conservative networks. Helps make sense of ongoing state-level debates over a core part of health reform and sheds new light on mounting policy tensions within the Republican party.
Broadcasts the Scholars Strategy Network as an innovative way to engage policymakers and fellow citizens. Discusses the work of the Scholars Strategy Network and the benefits of membership.