Chandra Russo’s research seeks to better understand the intimate, emotional and affective ways that large scale political dynamics are experienced and resisted by social movement actors. Using participant observation, interviews, surveys and archival investigation, she explores how cultures of resistance are forged and sustained; the kinds of knowledge such cultures generate; and the ways that solidarity is imagined and enacted across various kinds of social difference.
Russo’s research also identifies unconventional mechanisms for political activity and illuminates some of the contradictions and unintended consequences of seemingly progressive law and policy. Another strain of research, undertaken with Andy Pattison, examines issues of environmental justice in the US through a focus on climate action policies. Findings suggest that policies to curb emissions in US cities and states might actually exacerbate the inequalities of wealth and access that have long plagued low-income communities of color. This research also points to potentially transformative approaches to urban climate change resiliency, building on the visions and practices of environmental justice advocates.