Steven Van Hauwaert (University of Mainz)
"Public opinion and the macro-polity: Italy in a comparative perspective"
The politics and economics of public opinion are a major and expanding field of research and teaching in the social sciences. Yet, while public opinion and collective political behaviour have become an established research area in the USA, systematic work on other democracies, most notably across Europe, has lagged behind. Although research on Europe has produced a number of seminal studies, the potential benefits of comparing the composition of public opinion, its evolution, its origins and its effects on policy-making and the institutional frameworks for representation and responsiveness across otherwise relatively similar countries remains largely unexploited to date. This is largely the result of a lack of comparable data and a need to develop theoretical models reflecting the realities of more complex issue spaces in competitive multi-party democracies. These latter two points are true caveats, but are now addressed by the newly founded Global Public Opinions Project (www.gpop.eu). The presentation will provide some insights into the project and present some initial results, as well as the research agenda for the future.
Steven van Hauwaert is applying for the Assistant Professorship in Political Science.