ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance


Social Attitudes and Behaviour in a Continuous Global Perspective: The International Social Survey Programme 2

Session Organisers Ms Regina Jutz (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences )
Dr Evi Scholz (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences )
Professor Tom W. Smith (NORC at the University of Chicago)
Professor Christof Wolf (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences )
TimeWednesday 17th July, 16:30 - 17:30
Room D33

In an increasingly linked and interdependent world, it is essential to learn about and to understand the attitudes and behaviour of the population around the globe. While many comparative surveys are exclusively one-shot and one-topic initiatives, continuous global social surveys are the exception. The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), which currently has 44 member countries, is one of the few large programmes and has been conducting annual monothematic surveys on topics such as the environment, health, national identity, religion or social networks since 1985. Cooperation within the ISSP is based on the idea of democratic structures and equal partners whose specific cultural and scientific experiences contribute to the benefit of the programme. Based on the aims of transparency and user-friendliness, ISSP data and documentations, e.g. on the data collection process and questionnaire development, are free of charge for all interested researchers. The ISSP is therefore a valuable resource for various research areas that use the ISSP data in comparative perspective. The successful implementation of a complex survey programme requires high methodological standards as a pre-requisite for reliable and valid data.
This session aims to promote the discourse and exchange of ideas between researchers who are involved in the provision of ISSP data and those who use ISSP data in survey methodology or substantive research. Researchers who do not yet know the ISSP will also benefit from this session. The session focuses on comparative aspects, both using an across time and international perspective.
We encourage submissions that examine methodological aspects of the ISSP, such as sample design, mode of data collection and mode effects, or data quality. With relation to the ISSP and other large scale international survey programmes, we are also interested in contributions on questionnaire development, testing and piloting and translation issues. We further welcome contributions that apply ISSP data in comparative analyses, with an emphasis on the most recently published ISSP modules.

Keywords: Comparative survey research, survey methodology, international, ISSP

Religious Change in Global Perspective: The International Social Survey Program, 1991-2018

Dr Tom W Smith (NORC at the University of Chicago) - Presenting Author

Is secularization theory correct that religion has been and will continue to decline as a inevitable response to modernization? This is examined with data from the four rounds of studies by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) in 1991, 1998, 2008, and 2018. Attention is focused on religious background, beliefs, and behaviors. Religious change is analyzed by monitoring trends, examining differences across birth cohorts, and studying inter-generational changes between parents and their adult children. Special attention is focused on the initial 2018 results since with support from the Templeton Religion Trust 15 countries in Africa and Asia are supplementing data from regular ISSP members.


Is Civil Society Always Good for Participatory Democracy?

Professor SEOKHO KIM (Seoul National University) - Presenting Author
Ms Woo-Yeon Jung (Seoul National University)
Mr Sang-Hyo Han (Seoul National University)
Mr Kyu-Ho Shin (Seoul National University)

Analyzing the 2014 ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) data, this paper explores the relationship between civil society and participatory democracy empirically and cross-nationally. Specifically, this paper deals with the effects of networks in civil society measured by memberships in voluntary associations on the quality of participatory democracy measured by the impact of socioeconomic resources on political participation among ordinary citizens.

Thus, this paper addresses two main questions. First, do consequences of voluntary associations for participatory democracy vary from country to country? For this question, this paper compares the effects of socioeconomic resources on political participation between members and non-members in voluntary associations in 32 ISSP countries. Second, why do the consequences of voluntary associations for participatory democracy vary from country to country? In order to answer this question, this paper focuses on the interaction effects between the inequality level (Gini Coefficient) and social capital (trust) at the macro-level and associational membership at the micro-level by using HLM (hierarchical Linear Model).

The results show that associational membership generally weakens the effects of socioeconomic resources measured by educational attainment, family income, and job status on political participation in 32 ISSP countries. Obviously, the presence of voluntary associations or a vibrant civil society facilitates participatory democracy by reducing the effects of socioeconomic resources on political participation. Furthermore, it is closely associated with the levels of social inequality and social capital at the societal level.

This paper questions a longstanding belief in the social sciences that voluntary associations in all contexts function as a school for democracy, a civic organizer, and an agent of political equality. Voluntary associations are neither inherently good nor inherently bad for political equality. Rather, their consequences for participatory democracy are actually dependent on the levels of social inequality and social capital.