Forum to Discuss Governance in an Age of Globalization, Hyperpartisanship and Mistrust

As the race for the U.S. presidency heats up, American voters should consider how the country's next commander in chief will deal with the growing political trends of globalization, partisanship and mistrust.

Dr. Joel A. Johnson, associate professor government and international affairs, will examine these trends during his discussion on "2012 and Beyond: The Challenges of Governance in an Age of Globalization, Hyperpartisanship and Mistrust" at the Augustana Thought Leader Forum. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 29, at CJ Callaway's Event Center.

Reserved tickets are $20 and include lunch. Tickets at the door are $25. To order, visit or call 605.274.4404.

"Globalization connects individuals and corporations in world-wide networks of communication and commerce," said Johnson. "Despite its many advantages, globalization places a great deal of stress on governments — democratic or otherwise. Many of the central functions of government, including taxation, regulation, welfare, and defense become more challenging to perform when the activity of citizens and corporations spreads across national boundaries."

"Intensified partisanship also makes governing more difficult," Johnson said. As moderates have slowly disappeared from Congress, bipartisan legislation has become harder to achieve. At the same time, advocacy journalism, on the rise across online, television and print media, has created a climate in which governance comes to resemble the distribution of the spoils of war, rather than cooperation for the common good, he said. 

"There is also disturbing evidence that Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with government, corporations, labor unions, the academy, and the media; and they increasingly mistrust each other," Johnson said. "The question is, can effective governance still occur within the current framework?"

Dr. Joel Johnson is an associate professor of Government and International Affairs at Augustana College. He received his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Harvard University, where he also served as lecturer on Government. During 2010-11 he served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Department of British and American Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Hessen, Germany. In that capacity, he taught courses in American politics, history, and culture, in addition to giving more than a dozen public lectures throughout Germany and Italy. His primary research interests include American political thought, politics and literature, and theories of justice. He is the author of "Beyond Practical Virtue: A Defense of Liberal Democracy Through Literature" (University of Missouri Press, 2007), as well as journal articles and book chapters on the American founding, Mark Twain's views on imperialism, and moral argumentation in Uncle Tom's Cabin. His latest work is a chapter on South Dakota's literature in "The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture" (South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2011). At Augustana, Dr. Johnson teaches courses on political philosophy, politics and literature, and Asian politics. He also advises both the department's honors program and Augustana's government club, the Committee of Undergraduate Political Scientists (COUPS).