Leibniz Media Lunch Talk with Anna Boch (Stanford, currently guest researcher at the HBI) from 12–1.15 p.m., 3rd floor in the institute. Please bring your own lunch!
Recently, colleges and universities across the United States had to choose whether to allow controversial speakers on campus, facing both legal complexity and normative implications. But how do Americans overall think about tolerating controversial speakers on campus?
Contentious speakers bear on the larger issue of political tolerance, defined as the willingness to allow groups with which one disagrees to exercise their civil liberties. Anna's study uses a factorial experiment to investigate individual features of controversial speaker events, including student opinion, security risk, and actual event-based descriptions of far-left and far-right speakers. Contrary to earlier studies of political tolerance, this study finds that Republicans (and ideological conservatives) are slightly more tolerant of extreme speech than are Democrats and Liberals. However, this difference is attenuated by three factors: order effects, harm mediation, and asymmetric polarization. Finally, this study contributes to the political tolerance literature by testing the tolerance of new, extreme speaker targets on both the ideological left and right than what has previously been studied.
Anna Boch is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Stanford University. From June to August of 2019, she is in residence as a guest researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut, researching public opinion on online hate speech and content moderation, using approaches from sociology, communication studies, and law.
Anna’s dissertation project examines American attitudes on freedom of speech, especially as it relates to college campuses and the effect such freedom has on the content of civic discourse. Using survey experimental and computational social science methods, the dissertation explores the manifestations and effects of the United States’ uniquely hands-off approach to speech (compared to other liberal democracies).