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Regular version of the site
Important announcements 1

Events

October, 21 — Regular Seminar

Event ended

Topic: On “Nationology”: The Gravitational Field of National Culture
Speakers: Plamen Akaliyski (Keio University, Japan; LCSR HSE, Russia), Christian Welzel (Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany), Michael Harris Bond (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, SAR China), Michael Minkov (LCSR HSE, Russia; Varna University of Management, Bulgaria; University of Tartu, Estonia)

Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research announces the next regular seminar, which will be held as a Zoom session on October, 21 at 16-30 p.m. (GMT+3). Plamen Akaliyski (Keio University, Japan; LCSR HSE, Russia), Christian Welzel (Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany), Michael Harris Bond (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, SAR China) and Michael Minkov (LCSR HSE, Russia; Varna University of Management, Bulgaria; University of Tartu, Estonia) will deliver a report “On “Nationology”: The Gravitational Field of National Culture”.

A link to Zoom session is available after registration: https://lcsr.hse.ru/en/polls/517502264.html.

 

Abstract. Nations have been questioned as meaningful units for analyzing culture due to their allegedly limited variance-capturing power and large internal heterogeneity. Against this skepticism, we argue that culture is by definition a collective phenomenon and focusing on individual differences contradicts the very concept of culture. Through the “miracle of aggregation,” we can eliminate random noise and arbitrary variation at the individual level in order to distill the central cultural tendencies of nations. Accordingly, we depict national culture as a gravitational field that socializes individuals into the orbit of a nation’s central cultural tendency. Even though individuals are also exposed to other gravitational forces, subcultures in turn gravitate within the limited orbit of their national culture. Using data from the World Values Survey, we show that individual values cluster in concentric circles around their nation’s cultural gravity center. We reveal the miracle of aggregation by demonstrating that nations capture the bulk of the variation in the individuals’ cultural values once they are aggregated into lower-level territorial units such as towns and sub-national regions. We visualize the gravitational force of national cultures by plotting various intra-national groups from five large countries that form distinct national clusters. Contrary to many scholars’ intuitions, alternative social aggregates, such as ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, as well as diverse socio-demographic categories, add negligible explained variance to that already captured by nations.

Full paper is available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00220221211044780.

 

Everyone interested is invited!

The working language is English.