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Regular version of the site

Keynote Speakers

Jan Delhey (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany)

Is equality better? Some remarks and empirical findings on the Spirit-Level-theory

Jan Delhey is a Professor of Sociology at the School of Humanities & Social Sciences of Jacobs University. He is also a member of the board of governors of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS), a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Happiness Studies. Since 2011 till 2012 he was a member of „Wohlstand und Lebensqualität“ expert group on behalf of the German Chancellery. He received an award for best paper of Social Indicators Research in 2010 and “Thyssen award" for best German-speaking journal article in the social sciences in 2002. He received his diploma in Sociology, Communication Science and Marketing in the University of Bamberg in 1995 and PhD in Sociology in Free University Berlin in 2000. Among his research interests are quality of life, well-being and happiness, social cohesion, social capital trust, sociology of Europe, Europeanization and globalization.

Abstract: For many sociologists, it is close to axiomatic that inequality is either normatively bad or affects society and its members overall negatively. With the Spirit-Level-theory recently developed by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2010), this discussion has entered a new stage. In affluent societies, the theory says, societal quality of life is no longer associated with affluence and economic growth, but rather with the level of (income) inequality. The wider income gaps are, the more society is plagued by social ills. Further, equality is said to be good not only for the poor but also the well-off. The assumed link between inequality and low quality of life is status anxiety – a lack of appreciation by fellow citizens, which is claimed to be more widespread in unequal societies. In this talk I will discuss some of the strength and weaknesses of the Spirit-Level theory and the evidence Wilkinson & Pickett provide. I will then sketch out how an improved Spirit-Level research agenda could look like. Finally, I will present some findings from my own research on inequality, status anxiety, and subjective well-being in European societies.    

Herman Dülmer (GESIS, Data Archive for the Social Sciences)

Modernization, Culture and Morality in Europe: Universalism, Contextualism or Relativism?

Hermann Dülmer is professor at the University of Cologne. He is a well known methodologist who is also currently the head of Data Archive for the Social Sciences in GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. Professor Dülmer has huge experience in teaching statistics at various summer schools. He is author of two monographs and several articles in peer-reviewed international journals. He is also a member of American Sociological Association, European Survey Research Association, and German Sociological Association. Prof. Dülmer is interested in methodology of social sciences (especially multilevel analysis and factorial surveys), studies of human values, comparative culture research, and political sociology.

Abstract: Diagnoses of moral decay of civic virtues like diligence, discipline and achievement motivation are probably as old as humankind. Although Inglehart concedes that in postmodernizing societies achievement orientation has decreased relative to other value orientations, at the same time he assumes that in such societies there is an increase in tolerance toward minorities like immigrants or with regard to sexuality and family. However, if tolerance is becoming more prevalent, then the question arises of whether morality is becoming increasingly relativistic. Another possibility would be that existing universal moral guidelines are being applied more flexibly, with potential negative consequences being taken into account. The aim of the contribution is to analyze whether or not people in Europe think that absolutely clear guidelines about good and evil exist, and if they think that such guidelines exist whether they think that deviations from these guidelines are sometimes justifiable by the circumstances. In order to improve our understanding of possible differences in morality perceptions between people within and between different European societies, hypotheses about social change and its impact on morality perceptions are derived from theory and tested empirically. A final question that is addressed is the extent to which our rather subjective morality perceptions are in accordance with our real moral judgments when we are confronted with questions about the moral justifiability of specific behavior. 

Christian Haerpfer (University of Aberdeen, Scotland)

Cultural, Social and Economic Values and Modernization in Russia and the CIS

Christian Haerpfer is a full Professor of Political Science at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Aberdeen. In 2013 he was elected as 3rd President of the World Values Survey Association. In 2009 he was appointed the Director of Eurasia-Barometer by Globalbarometer Group. In 2011 founded and headed the European Centre for Survey Research (ECSR) at University of Aberdeen. In 2011 Prof. Haepfer became the Founding Chair of Research Committee 17 (Comparative Public Opinion) of the International Political Science Association. He is also Coordinator and Principal Investigator of Arabtrans – Social and Political Transformations in the Arab World, Member of Steering Committee of Globalbarometer Survey Group (GBS) and the Principal Investigator of Health in Times of Transition (HITT). Prof. Haepfer's research interests are Comparative Politics in Europe, Democratization in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe, Electoral Studies, Political Participation, Social Capital and Political Change in Europe, Political Change in Russia and CIS, Economic Changes and Democracy.

Abstract: Current paper provides comparative analysis of the longitudinal development of value systems in Russian Federation and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The paper is analyzing the creation and development of different value systems in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The study is beginning with the emergence of cultural, social and economic values after collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The first data point of this cross-country analysis is 1994 with surveys from the World Value Survey and the New Democracy Barometer as well as the New Russia Barometer. The next data points of comparative analysis are the New Democracy Barometer from 1996 and 1998, the World Value Survey from 2000 and the Eurasia Barometer from 2001. The following data point for analysis is the World Values Survey 2005 as well as the European Values Survey from 2008. The most recent data point is the 6th wave of the World Values Survey, which has been conducted in the CIS area mostly in 2011. The sample size of the data base for this paper is between 1000 (Azerbaijan) and 2500 face-to-face interviews (Russia) in 9 post-Soviet countries. Dimensions to be analyzed in this paper include family values, religious values, trust, social capital, work values, gender values, ecological values, political values, materialist and post-materialist values, ethical values and cultural values.

Ronald Inglehart (University of Michigan, USA)

Cultural Change and the Decline of Violence: Economic Development and the Long Peace (together with Christian Welzel)

Ronald Inglehart is famous American political scientist. He was the President of World Value Survey Association in 1988 – 2013. He is also the winner of the 2011 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science (together with Pippa Norris). Now he is Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor in Democracy, Democratization and Human Rights at the University of Michigan and Professor at the Higher School of Economics, and also the Scientific Supervisor of the LCSR.  Prof. Inglehart`s research focuses on cultural change and its consequences. Heanalyzes the links between values and beliefs of large groups of population and the presence or absence of democratic institutions  using massive datasets of time-series WVS data from 78 countries of the world. He examines the effect of culture shift in advanced industrial societies on self-expression, sexual and religious norms, motivation, policy and freedom. Ronald Inglehart's numerous writings have been translated and published in German, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, Farsi, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. Ronald Inglehart is a member of  editorial boards of several scientific journals such as Government and Opposition, International Journal of Public Opinion, Politics and the Individual, Party Politics, Swiss Political Science Review,   and some others. Professor Inglehart worked as a visiting professor or researcher in France, Germany,Netherlands,Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, New Zealand andTaiwan. He also used to consult the European Union and United States Department of State.

Abstract: The world is experiencing a long-term decline in the prevalence of many kinds of violence, from murder to war. Several explanations have been proposed.  The Democratic Peace thesis argued that the decline in inter-state violence results from the diffusion of democracy.  More recently, the Capitalist Peace and Liberal Peace theses emphasize economic development, international trade and the rise of the knowledge society, which pacify human relations by shifting the basis of wealth and power from land and coercion, to technological innovation and creativity, while growing interdependence raises the costs of violence relative to its benefits. Supplementing and supporting the latter interpretations, this article points to a pervasive mass-level cultural change that is making violence less acceptable to people in developed countries, bringing diminishing willingness to fight for one’s country. Previous work has pointed to societal-level changes such as the abolition of dueling, slavery and the death penalty as indicators of this trend. This paper analyzes survey data from countries containing 90 percent of the world’s population, gathered from 1981 to 2012, demonstrating that rising existential security brings growing tolerance of outgroups and  declining willingness to fight for one’s country.

Hans-Dieter Klingemann (Social Science Research Centre (WZB), Germany)

Support of Democracy in Europe 1999-2008

Hans-Dieter Klingemann is a famous German political scientist, former President of European Political Science Network (epsNet; 2002-2005). He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Social Science Research Centre (WZB), Berlin, Germany. During his academic career, Prof. Klingemann worked as lecturer or visiting scholar in the world's leading research centers and universities: University of Michigan, University of California, Irvine, State University of New York, Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Bologna, and many other places. He was principal investigator of several large-scale European research projects, including “Values and Value Change in Central and Eastern Europe”, “The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems”, “Democracy, Legitimacy and Identities: Citizens and the Construction of Europe”, “German World Values Survey”. Prof. Klingemann is author, co-author, editor and co-editor of over 30 books, as well as of over 150 articles in peer-review political science journals. He made several important contributions to such topics as comparative politics, political parties, and electoral behavior.

Abstract: Political culture research has argued that, in order to persist, democracies need a supportive public. Recent evidence indicates a change in the nature of democratic political culture. While support for democracy as a principle is widespread, many citizens have become less satisfied with the way democracy performs. “Dissatisfied democrats” are a growing species. They are interesting because their proportion varies greatly between countries and because different theoretical approaches come to divergent conclusions as to whether larger proportions of dissatisfied democrats are a bless or a bliss for democracy.

Almond and Verba’s vision of a civic culture requires a positive orientation towards the political regime and a commitment to democratic values. The “allegiant” democratic culture model leaves only limited room for political dissatisfaction, critical distance to authorities or elite-challenging activity. Dalton and Welzel have proposed a new, an “assertive” democratic culture model. Evaluated by the norms of the allegiance model, dissatisfied democrats are a problem because they constitute a potential source of trouble, turbulence, and de-legitimization. By contrast, evaluated by the norms of the assertive model, dissatisfied democrats can be regarded a source of healthy pressure on those in office by contrasting democratic standards and political performance.

The lecture tries to get closer to the “true” nature of dissatisfied democrats, by providing an updated empirical profile of their political attitudes. A four-fold typology is developed that distinguishes (a) between citizens who support democracy as a form of government or an ideal (“democrats”) and those who don’t (“non-democrats”) as well as (b) between citizens who are “satisfied” and those who are “dissatisfied” with their countries’ political performance. Eight civic attitudes are selected to describe their political belief systems. The empirical analysis focuses on Europe. This specific focus allows to contrast “old” and “new” democracies. Both types of democracies are represented by an exceptionally large number of countries (20 “old”, 23 “new” democracies). A longitudinal perspective is possible because WVS data are available for two points in time (around 1999 and around 2008). This allows us to assess whether dissatisfied democrats are on the rise or in decline.

Dominique Joye (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Some perspectives on the use of Context in Multilevel Analysis

Dominique Joye is a full Professor of the University of Lausanne. In 1999 he was appointed the director of SIDOS (Swiss data archive). He organized 4 first waves of European Social Survey, International Social Survey Program since 2000 and European Value Survey in Switzerland. He taught in the University of Bern, the University of Geneva, Neuchâtel and Institut d'études politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, at methodological schools in Lille, Essex, Lugano and Lausanne (within the framework of Quantitative Methods for the Social Science, project of the European Science Foundation). His research interests include empirical sociology and its limitations, survey methodology (especially, its potential bias).

Abstract:  Multilevel analysis is now a standard methodology in the social sciences. This corresponds to an old tradition trying to combine the influence of the context and the individual level and goes back to an important debate about the validity of contextual effects or problems of specification of individual effects.

From the end of the seventies, the development of multilevel analysis was in the context of educational research, where we have a clear hierarchical structure of (randomly chosen) schools in which we have a set of (randomly chosen) classes or pupils. This model was after that transposed to sociology and political science, even if the units at level 2, like countries, were not always randomly selected.

Such an approach asks in fact at least questions, not always explicitly developed:

1. How far is it the most useful hypothesis, for the analysis, to consider the country as the most relevant unit? Or, in particular in the European case, perhaps some other geographical scales could be more convenient, for example region in a centre-periphery paradigm, or constraint through urbanization, etc.

2. Is it always the most pertinent approach to consider level 2 unit as totally distinct from the neighbouring units in a black or white fashion or is it more useful to consider some “influence function”?

We will partly based this presentation on the work realised in collaboration with Guy Elcheroth (Elcheroth et al., 2013) and try to apologize for a better integration of sociological perspective and methodology.

Elcheroth, G., Penic, S., Fasel, R., Giudici, F., Glaeser, S., Joye, D., Spini, D. (2013). Spatially Weighted Context Data and Their Application to Collective War Experiences. Sociological Methodology, 43(1), 364-411.

Arye Rattner (University of Haifa, Israel)

Macro and Micro Perspectives Explaining Corruption: Is Something Missing?

Arye Rattner  is a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Haifa. He is also Director of the Center for the Study of Crime, Law & Society. Professor Rattner has completed his BA degree in Sociology and Crimininology at Bar-Ilan University, MA degree in Criminology and Criminal Law at Tel-Aviv University and his PhD in Criminology, Sociology and Public Administration at the Ohio State University in 1983. Professor Rattner has been leading one of the pioneering study on wrongful conviction and published several books and monographs and many articles on subjects dealing with crime, law and the criminal justice system. Professor Rattner is involved currently in a research project on the Israeli legal culture and another project on violent crime in Israel.

Abstract: Academic research on corruption is  based normally on two different indicators. The first type of indicators are perceptional, anchored in wide population and expert surveys in which respondents are being asked about their own perception regarding the prevalence and types of corruption taking place in their country.  Such are the  corruption indicators that are published annually by the World Bank and by Transparency International.  The second type of indicators are those based on personal experience and self reporting.  Perceptional measures of corruption were subjected along the years to criticism indicating mainly that these subjective measures reflect opinion rather that facts.  While many reports and studies relate to corruption in a rather descriptive approach and rank the level of corruption by country or region, some attempt to look also at the causes and explanation of corruption. This paper will examine the place of both macro level economic indicators in explaining corruption and will look also on the role and importance of cultural variables. The paper will examine whether important indicators that relate to moral judgment are perhaps missing from the cultural segment of the explanatory power of corruption.

Francesco Sarracino (STATEC, LCSR, GESIS)

For a socially sustainable economic system

Francesco Sarracino is an economist collaborating with STATEC, the national institute of statistics of Luxembourg, the GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, and an associate member of the scientific network of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research – Higher School of Economics, Russia. His work aims at identifying policies to make economic growth compatible with people's well-being and to pursue a sustainable development. Francesco’s research focuses on developed and developing countries and is based on within and cross-country empirical evidence

Аbstract: The quest for a better and happier life is an issue that has been intriguing researchers for years and animated an extensive debate that captivated not only the academic world, but also the media and the policy-makers. Thanks to a long-lasting research activity, today we know a lot about quality of life and its determinants. For example, we know that social capital is an important ingredient of well-being. This is not surprising: even economists acknowledge that social capital is a catalyst of economic activities and, as such, it contributes to the wealth of a country and to the well-being of its inhabitants. However, some evidence suggests that this is not always the case: in the past few decades United States, China and India have been examples of economic growth associated with declining well-being and social capital. What do we know about the relationship between economic growth and social capital? Much of the empirical literature investigated the role of social capital for economic growth, while overlooking the inverse relationship. However, there are reasons to believe that, in presence of high economic inequality, economic growth erodes social capital, undermines well-being and ultimately threatens economic growth itself: the decline of American social capital is at the roots of the consumption bulimia that is among the leading causes of the economic crises of 2008. Does this mean that a system where economic growth is compatible with well-being and social capital is an utopian dream? Are people doomed to rich, but unhappy lives or to poor, but happy lives? The answer is negative: various studies show that well-being is an ingredient of economic growth and the two can be compatible. These studies show that it is possible to organize a socially sustainable economic system where promoting people’s well-being is a valuable option for economic growth and prosperity.

Peter Schmidt (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany)

Human values, legal regulation, and approval of homosexuality in Europe: A cross-country comparison

Peter Schmidt  – is a famous German sociologist, professor at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen He is also the supervisor of International Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research at HSE. Prof. Schmidt is author and co-author of more than 20 books and several dozens of articles in international scientific journals. He is also a reviewer in European Sociological review, Political Psychology, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and several other journals. His research interests focuses on survey methodology, cross-cultural psychology and value studies, ethnic and group relations, subjective well-being and many other topics.

Аbstract: Although research has revealed a trend toward liberalization of attitudes to homosexuality in Western countries, acceptance of homosexuality differs remarkably among individuals and across countries. We examine the roles of individual value orientations and of national laws regarding homosexuality and the interaction between them in explaining approval of homosexuality. Data are from representative national samples in 27 European countries in 2010-2011. As hypothesized, individuals who prioritized openness to change and universalism values approved more of homosexuality whereas those who prioritized conservation values disapproved more. Approval was greater in countries whose laws regarding homosexuality were more permissive. Legal permissiveness moderated the associations of individual values. Where laws were more permissive, both the positive effect of openness to change values and the negative effect of conservation with approval of homosexuality were weaker. However, the positive effect of universalism values did not vary as a function of national laws regarding homosexuality.

Musa Shteiwi (University of Jordan, Amman)

Attitudes Towards Gender Roles and Rights in the Arab Countries

Dr. Musa Shteiwi  is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Women Studies Program at the University of Jordan in Amman. He is the founder and Director of the Center for Strategic Studies.  Dr. Shteiwi received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati, USA in 1991. His main fields of research are stratification, gender, political transformations, globalization, and social development.  Dr. Shteiwi is the author and co-author of several dozens of articles and such books as Jordanian Women and Political Participation (jointly with Dr. Amal Daghistani, 1995) and Volunteering and Volunteers in the Arab World (2000).

Abstract: The status of women in the Arab countries is considered to be one of the lowest globally based on economic, political, and social indicators in spite of their achievement in education. Many scholars offer the cultural approach in explaining low status of Arab women.Whithout discounting the importance of culture in this respect, it remains insufficient.  Using data from the second wave of Arab Barometer for ten Arab countries, the results show significant support in most countries for modern gender roles and women rights especially in regards to education, work, and politics as well as certain personal rights. Furthermore, the data reveal that there is a significant variation between Arab countries in variables used to measure gender equality.

Eric Uslaner (University of Maryland-College Park, USA)

Diversity, Segregation, and Trust

Eric Uslaner is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland-College Park. In 2011 he was named one of the top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Social Change at the University of Manchester (UK) and the "Social Trust in Sweden" research project (Ersta Sköndal University College, Stockholm).  He is also affiliated with the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption (TRIC) at the Australian National University. Among his research interests are American politics (especially, on Congress and Congressional elections), social capital, institutional design, generalized trust, inequality, segregation and social cohesion.

Аbstract: Generalized trust is a value that leads to many positive outcomes for a society–greater tolerance of minorities, greater levels of volunteering and giving to charity, better functioning government, less corruption, more open markets, and greater economic growth.  Generalized trust is faith in people you don’t know who are likely to be different from yourself.  Yet, several people, most notably Robert Putnam, now argue that trust is lower when we are surrounded by people who are different from ourselves.  This view is mistaken.  Diversity is not the culprit in lower levels of trust.  Instead, it is residential segregation–which isolates people from those who may be of a different background.  Segregation is one of the key reasons why contact with people who are different from ourselves does not lead to greater trust: Such contact may not be so frequent and it is not likely to take place frequently and in an atmosphere of equality.

I follow Allport, Forbes, and Pettigrew and argue that “optimal contact:” matters.  Optimal contact is having friends of different backgrounds and living in an integrated (and diverse) community.  Using data from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Sweden, I show that having friends of different backgrounds and living in integrated communities leads to higher levels of trust.  For the United States and the United Kingdom, the “optimal conditions” boost trust among all ethnic and racial groups.  For Canada and Australia, the optimal conditions only increase trust among native whites and for Sweden only among “non-Swedes.”  Canada and Australia have very restrictive immigration policies so that new citizens are likely to be higher trusting when they come to their host countries.  Sweden’s immigrants come from poor, war-torn countries and they are less likely to be trusting.  However, the Swedish welfare state and commitment to reducing inequality leads to greater trust among immigrants.

The strong effects of optimal conditions are limited, however, by the fact that residential choice itself depends upon both positive racial attitudes and higher levels of trust (from American and British data).  So you cannot simply engineer higher levels of trust by changing housing policies.

Christian Welzel (Leuphana University, Germany)

From Sacrificing Life to Living It: An Opportunity-based Theory of Moral Evolution

Christian Welzel is a leading professor of the LCSR, a professor-pro-tempore at the Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg) and the Chair for Political Culture Research at the Leuphana University in Germany, as well as Adjunct Professor at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. He is also a Vice President of the World Values Survey Association. He was also a Visiting Professor in the Center for the Study of Democracy at the UC Irvine (the USA). Reviewer of 23 leading journals in sociology and political science. Prof. Welzel received his M.A. in Political Science and Economic History from the University of the Saarland in 1991, his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Potsdam in 1996 and Habilitation (“Higher Doctorate”) in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin in 2000. His research focuses on modernization, social change and human development, democratization, measures of democracy and governance quality, value formation, protest participation and social movements, civil society and social capital.

Abstract: This article demonstrates that inter-state peace is underpinned by an increasingly solid mass basis: representative survey data from around the world evidence a massive decline in people’s willingness to sacrifice their lives in war. To explain this finding, we test and confirm Welzel’s Evolutionary Emancipation Theory (EET). When improving existential conditions in a society turn most people’s lives from a source of threats to suffer into a source of opportunities to thrive, people adopt ‘emancipative values’: to allow themselves and others to take advantage of life’s widened opportunities, people increasingly support and tolerate universal freedoms. This emancipatory trend is most significant in a field in which the fixation of traditional survival norms on high fertility erected the strongest resistance against emancipation: reproductive freedoms. As a direct consequence of the emancipatory trend, people’s willingness to sacrifice their own and other people’s lives in war has dramatically declined. Hence, the emancipatory trend is a pacifist force that makes it increasingly difficult for government—especially in democracies—to find public support for waging wars.

Yevgeny Yasin (NRU HSE, Russia)

The Impact of Culture on Modernization in Russia:

Yevgeny Grigoryevich Yasin is a prominent Russian economist who was the Russian Minister for the Economy between 1994 and 1997. He is currently an academic supervisor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. From 1973 - 1989 he headed a laboratory at the Central Institute of Economics and Mathematics, USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1978 Evgeniy Yasin led a Department on Economic Reform in the State Commission of the USSR Council of Ministers. He was one of the key authors of a number of programmes of the transition to a market economy, including the well-known programme ‘500 days'. In November 1994 Evgeniy Yasin was appointed head of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, and in April 1997 - Minister of the Russian Federation. Since 2000 he is the President of the ‘Liberalnaya Missiya' (‘Liberal Mission') Foundation. 

Abstract: After the period of market reforms Russia needs modernization to increase productivity and open a tangible flow of the innovations. However, modernization is impossible without substantial changes in the national culture. At the same time diverse traditional institutes are conservative and have significant impact on country's development. Thus, it is crucial either to adopt or to facilitate the process of replacement of the traditional institutes. The current situation in the Russian economy demonstrates numerous conflicts between different institutes and traditions which will determine the development of the country in the future. It is important to note that the contempt for law had been formed and evolved over six centuries of the autocracy and today this fact constrains opportunities for the growth. However, the economic forces have a positive impact through the market institutes. 


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