Jason Seawright (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2006) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. His research focuses on political parties, mass political behavior, and political psychology, with an emphasis on Latin America, as well as on research methods, with a focus on multi-method approaches to causal inference.
His current book project, Party-System Collapse in South America: Party Organization, Corruption, and Failures of Representation, attempts to explain interactions between voters and party leaders during the decline and fall of Peru's party system during the 1980s, and of Venezuela's party system during the 1990s. The book uses survey data at both elite and mass levels, as well as aggregate statistics, experimental evidence, and qualitative evidence, to argue that the process of party-system collapse hinges around the development, among voters, of three political attitudes: profound concern about the level of corruption in politics, a sense of ideological underrepresentation, and an erosion of party identification. When these three attitudes coincide among a substantial number of voters, widespread anger results, reducing voters' aversion to uncertainty, thereby increasing citizens' willingness to support political outsiders and as a consequence placing the party system at risk for collapse. The book explores organizational reasons why parties do not successfully preempt the emergence of this toxic combination of attitudes; it also characterizes the consequences of party-system collapse for citizens' experience of politics.
Seawright's research has appeared in Political Analysis, Studies in Comparative International Development, Political Research Quarterly, and various edited volumes. He is the coauthor of several chapters in Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards.