Cross-cultural analysis: CMC Government Professor Receives $200,000 Grant to Study Perceptions of Democracy in U.S., Mexico

Roderic Ai Camp, professor of government and McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim at Claremont McKenna College, has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation of California. The grant will be used to study the differences in how people in Mexico and the United States conceptualize democracy, and how those differences affect their attitudes toward significant domestic and bilateral policy issues.

The new grant, Camp reported, will "build on the work we've already done, thanks to a prior Hewlett Foundation grant, that studied conceptions of democracy in Latin America. In that study, we found significant differences in how people in several Latin American countries conceptualized democracy, and equally significant differences between Latin American views and the views of people in the United States."

"We also found that, when Mexicans move to the United States, there is an incremental shift in their views on some fundamental democratic issues toward a more American' point of view. That shift seems to intensify the longer they live here," said Camp. "This second study will take a closer look at those observations, to measure more precisely the differences between American and Mexican views of democracy. In doing so, we hope to understand more clearly why people in the two countries may take different, and even opposing, positions on issues of concern to both nations."

Camp will enlist other Claremont Mckenna College faculty and students in the two-year research project. "We consider hands-on research a significant part of the learning experience for undergraduate students at CMC," he explained. "A number of students will work closely with faculty on this effort, as they did on the earlier study."

Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective independent liberal arts college educating leaders in business and public affairs. CMC enrolls 1,000 students and is a member of The Claremont Colleges.