Last week, I joined Publons – a website that keeps track of contributions to peer review. Throughout the year, I receive numerous invitations to review manuscripts. I accept almost half of these invitations, and take my role as reviewer quite seriously: by giving advice on how to improve manuscripts, scientific knowledge can be enhanced. At the same time, reviewing manuscripts keep me focused and keep me track of new developments in the field, too. I have forwarded most of my editorial e-mails of the last years – some reviews are still missing, particularly of my period before joining Tilburg University (2014). Anyway, another way to keep track of contributions to academia.
Slightly more than one day before 2017 comes to an end. Currently, I&O Research is still approaching respondents to finalize the fieldwork of the 2017 wave of the European Values Study. 2018 will mark the public availability of the newest EVS-wave. To make sure that the launch of the newest data will not get unnoticed, I created a new Facebook-page EVS Nederland – unfortunately, it’s only in Dutch. On regular awareness days, such as the International Days of the United Nations, we will present findings from 2008 in which we compare the Netherlands with other European countries. As soon as there are updates regarding the 2017 data collection, the Facebook page will be one of the primary outlets to get involved. Get involved, and like the page!
At the end of the year, two academic rewards came in – two articles I contributed to are accepted for publication. In the first article – “The Inevitable Deservingness Gap. A Study into the Insurmountable Immigrant Penalty in Perceived Welfare Deservingness” – Tom van der Meer and I continue on the study of the welfare deservingness of immigrants. A link to the paper will follow as soon as it’s in press at the Journal of European Social Policy, but from the abstract, we read:
Albeit studies on welfare deservingness show that immigrants are deemed least entitled to welfare compared to other target groups, such studies have fallen short to isolate welfare claimants’ identity (i.e. foreign origin) to rivaling deservingness criteria that might explain the immigrant deservingness gap. This paper studies the importance of welfare claimants’ foreign origin relative to other theoretically relevant deservingness criteria via a unique vignette experiment among 23,000 Dutch respondents about their preferred levels of unemployment benefits. We show that foreign origin is among the three most important conditions for reduced solidarity, after labor-market reintegration behavior (reciprocity) and culpability for unemployment (control). Further, favorable criteria do not close the gap between immigrants and natives in perceived deservingness, emphasizing the difficulty to overcome the immigrant penalty in perceived welfare deservingness.
The second paper is titled “Imagining Class: A Study into Material Social Class Position, Subjective Identification, and Voting Behavior across Europe” and flows from the upcoming dissertation of Peter Achterberg and my PhD-student, Lorenzo D’Hooge. In his dissertation, Lorenzo focuses on the sources as well as consequences of the discordance between material or ‘objective’ class positions (i.e. the social classes sociologists classify people in according to occupational information, among other characteristics), and ‘subjective’ class identification. From existing research it is known that only half of the people correctly identifies with the social class they according to their material status belong to, making that half either inflates or deflates his/her class position. In this paper, published in Social Science Research, Lorenzo, Peter and I look at the consequences of class discordance on voting behavior.
Yesterday, the Dutch Sociological Association (NSV) and the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) organized it’s annual Actualiteitencollege (“current affairs lecture”). The theme of this lecture was decentralization in care. Since 2015, the organization of long-term care has changed in the Netherlands; governments require more active participation from its citizens instead of passively relying on professional care. Based on scientific research, Peteke Feijten (Netherlands Institute for Social Research SCP), Marjolein Broese van Groenou (Free University of Amsterdam VU), and Jan Willem Duyvendak (University of Amsterdam UvA) responded to the question whether ‘close proximity’ is always better in case of long-term care. The host of the whole afternoon was Kim Putters, head of the SCP.
After the academic sessions, Paul Schnabel (University Professor at Utrecht University) awarded the Dissertation Prize of the Dutch Sociological Association – an event that I coordinated. The Prize was given to “Studying the Dutch Business Elite: Relational Concepts and Methods,” written by Rob Timans. Congratulations! Schnabel’s laudatio can be retreived from the NSV-website.
Last Wednesday, the Department organized a Student Research Day – a biannual event during which students present the results of their research. Together with Study Association Versot, we organized a meme contest. The idea was that students should create sociologically relevant memes. All submissions can be retrieved from the website I created: sociologymemes.eu.
Important in a meme contest is that winners were assigned. A ‘professional’ jury – consisting of members of the Department and representatives of Versot – chose for Yvette Jacobs’ meme on the European Values Study. Inside joke, but when we refer to specific survey years, we talk about “waves”. The link to surfing – wave riding – is therefore not that far-fetched.
The audience award – basically all students present at the Research Day – assigned the first prize to Mitchell Matthijssen his meme on colleague Bram Peper. Next to being a well-respected teacher within the Department (responsible for virtually Introduction to Sociology courses), he is also a deejay. Also at the end of the Student Research Day, Bram closed the event with a deejay-set. You can listen to it below! Don’t forget to check Tilburg University‘s newspaper Univers’ coverage about the meme contest!
Last week, Tilburg University organized Night University. A unique event to give back to society. The Dutch team of the European Values Study was evidently present, as the theme of the evening was “Back to the Future“. Pictures on Instagram below show that this theme was quite visible on campus: the organization were even able to get their hands on a few DeLorean time machine cars!
Because of the theme, we decided to present on the question whether younger people these days have become more conservative – i.e. less postmaterialist – than age cohorts decades back. At least in the US, this concerns seem to be widely shared, not in the least because since the election of Donald Trump. After crunching several waves of the EVS, we showed that young people show, generally, more postmaterialistic values than the same cohorts several decades ago. There is, however, one difference. On the so-called Inglehart materialist-postmaterialist survey items, there is a shift towards more materialist responses. As we are presently collecting new EVS-data, we can update in a few months whether this shift towards materialism among younger age cohorts was an anomaly, or whether value change has been initiated already one decade ago.
On Thursday 16 November 2017, Tilburg University will turn into Night University. Science and society are brought together during this annual fun event. Whereas I was hosting karaoke with Peter Achterberg the last two years, this year I will bring in a more academic focus. In a joint talk with Loek Halman, I will talk about generational effects in social values, based on the European Values Study: is it true that young people are becoming more conservative than their parents? Loek and I will be present in room SZ 31 (Simon Building) from 9:00-9:45pm. Entrance is free!
During the same day, I will be a jury member during University’s Got Talent. This event is part of the Dies Natalis during the 90th anniversary celebrations of Tilburg University. During this event, 10 different acts (music, dance, debate, …) will try to conquer a place at Festival Mundial 2018! Together with Frank van Pamelen and Gino van Eijk, we will select the winner of this unique contest. More soon!
Four months since my last update, yet life has been going fast. I decided to take a well-deserved summer holiday and I spent one month in Colombia. It will take many more blog posts to summarize how amazing this trip actually was. Several great memories that simply cannot condensely be written out in an academic blog.
Many things have happened in the past four months. First of all, it is important that the Dutch fieldwork of the European Values Study is in the field. After a long trajectory of writing out a tender for fieldwork companies (and selecting the one with the best qualifications), translating the questionnaire, interviewer training, sampling designs, and so on, it’s with pleasure that I can add that the fieldwork has started about a month ago. The fieldwork is proceeding well, and response figures are heading in the right direction.
In addition, Edward Elgar publishing has worked hard to print an edited volume I have contributed to. Together with Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, and Bart Meuleman, I brought together seminal authors working on welfare deservingness. After quite some time reviewing and revising chapters, it is with pleasure to see the end product on the shelf. “The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare. Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness” is out!
At Tilburg University, the new academic year has started. For our Department, it’s an important transition, as we created an English track in the Bachelor program. We are pleased to host 16 students in the Bachelor International Sociology. The first bloc of the year started well: I’m teaching on social capital for 16 bright new students in the first year of the Research Master in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Next to that, I also teach the course “Diversity and Community” for about 30 students at University College Tilburg. In the Education Committee of Sociology, I made ‘promotion’ from staff member to chair. Apart of that, also the first Faculty Board with the new Dean has taken place, as well as the first meeting of the Dutch Sociological Association of the new academic year.
Least to say things are moving fast!
Last week, we celebrated the most important day for Dutch and Flemish sociologists, namely the Dag van de Sociologie at the VUB. One important moment during this annual meeting was awarding the NSV Master Thesis Prize to the best thesis of the year 2016. As board member of the Dutch Sociological Association NSV, I served as secretary for this prize. Chair of the jury was Geert de Vries. He awarded the prize to Kay Polidano (UvA) who wrote a magnificent thesis titled “Caring through a ‘Plastic Box’: An Inquiry into the Use of Remote Care Technology in Later Life”. The laudatio that Geert in name of all other jury members wrote can be retrieved from the NSV-website. The picture below was taken after the prize ceremony – credits go to Tom de Winter. From left to right: Geert de Vries (chair of the NSV Master Thesis Prize jury), laureate Kay Polidano, me, Rie Bosman (secretary of NSV).
In less than 12 hours, they Dag van de Sociologie (Annual Meeting of the Dutch and Flemish Sociological Associations) takes place at the VUB Free University of Brussels. During this day, more than 200 sociologists from Belgium, the Netherlands and abroad gather to exchange recent research insights. In addition, the board of the Dutch Sociological Association (of which I am part of) will gather, and the Master Thesis Prize (which I was the secretary for) will be awarded (more about that tomorrow).
In the meanwhile, I’m happy to present a paper that I recently wrote together with Koen Abts. In this paper, we test a proposition put forward by Christian Bjørnskov. In a 2007 paper, he argues that parliamentary monarchies bring about social trust. The logic behind it is that while partisan politics can be quite divisive, the King might serve as a uniting and binding factor, and might serve as a common national conscience that stands above social tensions. Further positive effects are described in Pippa Norris‘ 2008 book on power-sharing institutions. Our paper brings this argument down at the individual level, and questions whether people with positive opinions about the monarchy are more trusting. Analyzing the 2014 wave of the Belgian National Election Study, we actually show a negative relationship: those skeptical about the monarchy are actually most trusting. Because this relationship is particularly strong in Flanders (while absent in Wallonia), we actually question the extent to which the monarchy in Belgium is a uniting force that brings about social cohesion.
The slides can be retrieved from SlideShare!