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News from Princeton University

Rockefeller Grant to Princeton Center Will Support New Research on Cultural Conflict in America

Date: July 6, 2000

Princeton, N.J. – The Rockefeller Foundation has recently awarded a $286,670 grant to Princeton University's Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies to support research related to on cultural conflict in the contemporary U.S. The 18 month grant will fund a program of research, convening and dissemination designed to advance knowledge and add balance and nuance to the public debate about conflicts over art, cultural expression and social values in American society.

Joan Shigekawa, Associate Director for Creativity & Culture at the Rockefeller Foundation, stated, "The Princeton Center has a track record of excellent empirical research on issues related to cultural controversies and the arts. We are pleased to offer support for this next stage of research, which we believe will move the discussion of cultural conflict toward a more informed, deliberate and policy-relevant debate."

The Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies was created to improve the clarity, accuracy and sophistication of discourse about the nation's artistic and cultural life. Its programs and activities are designed to create an infrastructure of well-trained scholars who have access to regularly collected information about cultural organizations, activities and providers and who produce timely research and analysis on key topics in arts and cultural policy.

"We are delighted," said Center Director Stan Katz, " that the Rockefeller Foundation is joining the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of our work in cultural policy studies."

The Rockefeller grant will support three areas of research. First, it will allow scholars to analyze recent social surveys in order to determine trends in public attitudes toward the arts as well as a variety of other "hot button" issues related to race, gender, sexual behavior and school prayer, with a particular focus on whether polarization of opinion is has become more or less pronounced.

Second, the Center will investigate hundreds of actual cases of public quarrels and controversies in communities across America in order to learn how the incidence and content of such disagreements has changed between the 1960s and the present. Such an investigation will also illuminate why the frequency and intensity of such conflicts appears to vary so much from place to place and from time to time.

Finally, the Center will undertake research that seeks to understand how the press has covered—and shaped—cultural conflict in the United States since 1985. This study will identify the major "frame" or points of view that journalists have used in discussing moral disputation, and will try to understand when and why the press calls attention to value dimensions of public policy issues.

In addition to producing new empirical research on cultural conflict, the project will also yield a book, a national conference and new data resources that will be available to other scholars who are interested in analyzing both incidents of public controversy as well as media depictions of controversy.

"The strength of this project will be its ability to draw on the mutual implications of research on public opinion, community-level disputes, and portrayals of conflict in the news-media in order to produce coherent arguments about the origins, nature, and effects of cultural conflict in the contemporary United States" said Paul DiMaggio, research coordinator for the Center and principal investigator of the project.


For more information, please contact:

Steven Tepper
Associate Director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies



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