Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1995

International and Inter-cultural Comparative Analyses in Political Science: Analyses of Attitudes towards Social Inequality and towards the Role of Government

Main discipline: Political science
Lecturer: Professor Peter Ph. Mohler, and Dr. Richard G. Topf
Institution: London Guildhall University, UK
Dates: 31 July - 4 August, 1995

The courses focuses on approaches to international and intercultural comparisons in political science, based upon social survey materials. Following a survey of possible approaches to comparative methodology, the emphasis will be upon an outline and critique of the tradition developed by Almond and Verba in The Civic Culture, leading to a consideration of contemporary approaches to comparative empirical research. The latter will include a review of both the theoretical and epistemological questions which arise from the use of individual-level survey data for macro-comparisons, and the technical problems associated with intercultural projects.

Comparative survey data on "attitudes towards social inequality" and on the "role of government" will be used both to illustrate the review and critiques already outlined above, and for the associated practical exercises.

The lecturer
Professor Peter Ph. Mohler is Director, ZUMA. the Centre for Survey Research, Methodology and Analyses, Mannheim, Professor of Mannheim University, and heads the Secretariat of ISSP, the International Social Science Programme. Professor Mohler studied sociology, linguistics and philosophy in Frankfurt and Giessen, Germany, and received his doctorate in 1978 from the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. He was awarded his Habilitation in 1986 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt. His interests include comparative studies, first of long term value changes in Germany, and then across time and between nations, within the framework of the ISSP. In both cases, he uses a systems theory approach to identify borders of macro social systems in time and space.

Dr Richard G. Topf is Reader in Politics in the Department of Politics and Modern History, London Guildhall University, and Director, Centre for Comparative European Survey Data. Before entering academic life, Richard Topf spent some ten years in the Administrative Class of the British Civil Service, working in London and Brussels. In 1976 he joined Nuffield College, Oxford, and he was awarded his D Phil in Politics by the University of Oxford in 1984. Richard Topf's research interests and publications range for contemporary theories of political identity and the state, to comparative empirical analyses of political culture, to comparative public policy.