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Interdisciplinary Studies of Political Behavior: From Elections to Protests


Tuesday, May 06, 2014, 8:00AM - 5:00PM


Interdisciplinary Studies of Political Behavior and the Use of 'Big Data': Part 1

Russell Dalton

Pamela Paxton

Hassan Aly

Paul A. Beck

Emily Beaulieu

Matthew Costello

Edward Crenshaw

Dick Gunther

Melanie Hughes

Craig Jenkins

Thomas Maher

Erik Nisbet

Kazimierz Slomczynski

Irina Tomescu-Dubrow Register for the conference

See the conference schedule


The Ohio State University's Mershon Center for International Security Studies, in collaboration with Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT) and the Polish Academy of Sciences, presents "Interdisciplinary Studies of Political Behavior: From Elections to Protests," a conference to be held at the Mershon Center. This conference is part of a larger event at Ohio State from May 6-9, 2014. The event opens with the conference, as detailed below, and is followed by the Workshop "Comparability of Data"” (May 8-9) in the Department of Sociology.

The focus of this event is the relationship between political participation and democracy in light of both theoretical understanding and empirically based research.  Analyzing individual and contextual determinants of political behavior can be approached from various theoretical approaches used in political science, sociology, economics and other disciplines. Empirically, most studies in the field employ data from a single cross-national survey project (e.g World Values Survey, or European Social Survey). Yet, the wealth of existing information is much greater, as international surveys could be harmonized and turned into "big data" consisting of unusually large number of variables with individuals nested in countries and time periods.

This is the goal of the Harmonization Project, which has selected 21 international public opinion surveys for consideration, to create online accessible, comparable measurements of social values, action and demographics with global coverage.  This project, of which the May event is a part, is currently funded by both Poland's National Science Centre and Ohio State's Mershon Center, and fits the Ohio state Data Analytics initiative.  

The conference brings together noted scholars in the fields of democracy, politics and protest, and cross-national methodology, to contribute – via lectures, presentations and discussions in a multidisciplinary forum – to our understanding of democracy and political participation around the world.  The workshop is devoted to key technical issues of data comparability assessment following the harmonization of data from international public opinion survey projects.

For more information about this event and the data harmonization project, please contact Irina Tomescu-Dubrow at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the CONSIRT page at http://consirt.osu.edu/upcoming events

Keynote Speakers

Russell Dalton is professor of political science at the University of California-Irvine and was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine. He has received a Fulbright professorship at University of Mannheim, a Barbra Streisand Center fellowship, German Marshall Research Fellowship and a POSCO Fellowship at the East/West Center. His recent publications include The Apartisan American (2012), Political Parties and Democratic Linkage (2011), The Good Citizen (2009), and Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices (2004).  He is co-editor ofCitizens, Context and Choice (2010), Party Politics in East Asia (2008), The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (2007), Citizens, Democracy and Markets around the Pacific Rim (2006), Democracy Transformed? (2003), and Parties without Partisans (2001). His scholarly interests include comparative political behavior, political parties, social movements, and empirical democratic theory.

Pamela Paxton is professor of sociology and government and Christine & Stanley E. Adams Jr. Centennial Professor in the Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Michigan in economics and sociology and her Ph.D. in sociology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has taught at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Training Program in Advanced Statistical Techniques and has consulted for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Academy of Sciences.  Some of her previous research on social capital and democracy appears in American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology.   With Melanie Hughes, she is co-author of Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective (Sage, 2013).


Hassan Aly is professor of economics at The Ohio State University. He joined the Ohio State faculty in 1989 after spending a year at Alexandria University and two years visiting at Southern Illinois University. He is faculty associate to the Middle East Studies Center (1992-present); faculty associate to the John Glenn School for Public Policy (1999-present); co-editor of African Development Review (2009-present) and Middle East Business and Economic Review (2002-10). For his full bio, please see Mershon faculty page.

Paul Beck is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences at The Ohio State University, where he has been a professor of political science since 1987. He also holds professor emeritus appointments in Ohio State's School of Communication and Department of Sociology. Beck's research and teaching focus on voting behavior, political parties, and political communications in the United States and cross-nationally. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Emily Beaulieu is assistant professor in political science at University of Kentucky; she received her Ph.D. from the University of California-San Diego. Her book, Electoral Protest and Democracy in the Developing World is out this spring with Cambridge University Press. She has also published work on political economy, and democracy in outlets such as International Organization and Comparative Political Studies. She is currently working on several projects on political violence, and the impact of partisanship and political polarization on perceptions of election fraud (supported with a TESS grant).

Matthew Costello

Ed Crenshaw is associate professor of sociology at The Ohio State University. His current research focuses on NSF-sponsored projects that investigate the causes (and underlying kinship) of various forms of political contention (protest, terrorism, guerrilla warfare). He is also pursuing research that links demography and urbanization to international economic and political development. His recent publications have proposed a demographic theory of economic growth, demonstrated the differences between leftist and Islamic terrorism, and traced how globalization influences the adoption of Internet technology. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Richard Gunther is professor emeritus of political science at The Ohio State University. He is also international co-coordinator of the now 26-country Comparative National Elections Project, and from 1989 through 2000 served (in collaboration with Nikiforos Diamandouros) as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Southern Europe of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. His current research involves comparative analyses of support for democracy and norms relating to citizenship, changes in the structure of partisan competition, and the impact of values on democratic participation. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Melanie Hughes is associate professor of sociology at University of Pittsburgh. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University in 2008. She specializes in women’s political representation globally and on the legislative representation of women from disadvantaged groups. She is coauthor of Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective (Sage, 2013), now in its 2nd edition. Her scholarship on gender and politics has also appeared in journals such as American Sociological Review, American Political Science Review, and Social Problems. In 2012, she appeared in the documentary Raising Ms. Present, focused on the political socialization of girls and women. Her current research investigates the legislative representation of women from Muslim origins across Europe and the political representation of indigenous peoples worldwide. In other work, she is researching networks of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs). She is also consulting with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve measurement of women's political leadership around the world.

Craig Jenkins is director of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and a professor of sociology, political science and environmental science at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on four major projects, including rentier states and political conflict in the Middle East, patterns of political contention, the development and impact of the U.S. environmental movement, and the political economy of high technology development. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Thomas Maher

Erik Nisbet is associate professor in the School of Communication and Department of Political Science (by courtesy) at The Ohio State University.  His research area is comparative political communication, with a focus on the role of mass media and information and communications technologies (ICTs) in furthering citizen mobilization within emerging democracies. His interdisciplinary work has been published in Journal of CommunicationPolitical Communication, Communication Research, Public Understanding of ScienceInternational Journal of Press/PoliticsInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research, Society & Natural Resources, andInformation Society. He is a faculty affiliate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and co-principal investigator on the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP). For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page

Irfan Nooruddin is associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University. His research centers on issues of economic development and state-building in the developing world. Nooruddin's book Coalition Politics and Economic Development was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011, and his current research tackles the challenge of building functioning states in countries recovering from violent civil conflict. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Andrzej Rychard is professor of sociology and director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Rychard’s sociological research on politics, institutions and post-communist transitions has been published in numerous books and articles, in Polish as well as English. He is also a frequent commentator on social and political processes in Polish and foreign media.

Kazimierz Slomczynski is director of the CONSIRT (Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training) program at Ohio State.  The main objective of CONSIRT is to stimulate and facilitate research, graduate training, and undergraduate education.  The program provides an opportunity for preparing and administering complex research projects with a cross-national perspective. His areas of specialization include social stratification and mobility, comparative sociology and cross-national studies. His current research focuses on the relationship between social structure and psychological functioning. For his full bio, please see his Mershon faculty page.

Irina Tomescu-Dubrow is associate professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, and program manager for CONSIRT (Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training) program at The Ohio State University and PAN. Her work includes research in social stratification, structural change, and cross-national methodology. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, and CONSIRT (Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program).


Series: Conference

Location : Mershon Center for International Security Studies 1501 Neil Ave. Columbus, OH 43201

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