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International Workshop “Social Inequality and Value Polarization: A Cross-Country Perspective” Opened Its Doors at HSE St.Petersburg

The International workshop “Social Inequality and Value Polarization: A Cross-Country Perspective”, co-organized by the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research and the Department of Sociology at the HSE in St.Petersburg, opened its doors on September 16, 2019. This gave a start to a series of intensive discussions about the concept and spread of populism, the conservative turn in Russian and European politics, and value change.

The first keynote lecture given by the LCSR’s academic supervisor Christian Welzel (LCSR HSE, Leuphana University of Lüneburg) focused on the future of democracy in Europe and Asia and the prospects and dimensions of the “conservative turn” in values and attitudes. The keynote reviewed several hot questions: Is democracy a Western cultural phenomenon? How has the perception of democracy been changing since the beginning of the 20th century? Is the gradual loss of confidence in democracy a temporary process indicating an active period of value change or a crisis of democracy?

The first session, “Value Polarization”, started off with Andrey Semenov’s (Perm University, Yale University) presentation “Economic Crisis and Value Polarization in Post-Communist Societies”, followed by Steven Brieger (University of Sussex) who gave a speech on “Inequality and Value Polarization in Europe” and Paul C. Bauer (University of Mannheim) who presented his paper on “The Polarization of Trust in the European Parliament”.

The second session, “Political Trust, Social Capital and Values”, included presentations by Eemil Mitikka (University of Helsinki) “The Relation Between Political Trust and Forms of Political Participation in Contemporary Russia”, LCSR’s deputy head Anna Almakaeva (LCSR HSE) “Cohort Trends of Social Capital in Russia, Poland and Sweden” and a paper by Maksim Rudnev (NRU HSE) and Vladimir Magun (Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, NRU HSE) “The Shape of Basic Value: How is the Distribution of Basic Values Related to Societal Differences?”

The first day of the conference closed with a keynote by the LCSR’s chief research fellow Hanspeter Kriesi (LCSR HSE, EUI) “Social Conservatism in Europe and in Russia: Trends and Structural Roots.” The research demonstrated that the “conservative turn”, which is widely discussed by politicians, journalists, and researchers, does not have a strong rooting in the values of European Union citizens.

 

Authors: Nikita Zubarev, Svetlana Koltunova.