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Politics research takes PhD student to Harvard

Sarah Cameron
Wednesday 19 November 2014

PhD student Sarah Cameron will call Cambridge, Massachusetts home for five months next year after being awarded a Visiting Fellowship at Harvard University.

Sarah, from the ANU School of Politics and International Relations, is investigating the impact of the recent Global Financial Crisis on political behaviour and values in a comparative study of 15 democratic countries.

During the Visiting Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Sarah will continue work on her PhD research. 

“The fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to continue my research at another world-leading university,” she says.

“I look forward to engaging with leading researchers in my field, and furthering my skills in research methods by taking graduate classes offered by the Department of Government.”

Sarah will be working on her two final results chapters, which explore the impact of the crisis on participation in voluntary organisations and support for democracy.

Her research so far has found that the financial crisis has mobilised voters. In countries harder hit by the crisis, citizens were more likely to cast a vote, and more likely to vote out the governments in power when the crisis hit.

On the other hand, trends across a range of countries suggest fewer citizens are participating in forms of political action requiring more time and effort, such as protest. As more people struggle to make ends meet they have less time and resources available for political activism.

This isn’t the first time Sarah has spent time in the US. Earlier this year Sarah completed a summer program on methods for social science research at the University of Michigan.

“The School of Politics and International Relations has been a fantastic place to do graduate research,” she says.

“My supervisor, Professor Ian McAllister, and other staff in the School have been tremendously supportive. It’s thanks to this support that my peers and I are able to pursue great opportunities all over the world.”

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