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Session Overview
RN32_11b_IC: Methodologies for Political Sociology
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Ov Cristian Norocel, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Location: Intercontinental - Ypsilon III
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Level 1

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The Role of Preference Falsification in the Dynamics of Public Opinion

Francisco J. León1, Francisco J. Miguel2, Jordi Tena-Sánchez2

1Universitat de Girona; 2Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Kuran’s models of preference falsification (PF) helped us to better

understand why some abrupt social changes take us by surprise but are

perfectly explainable in hindsight. In this paper, we present an

Agent-Based Simulation (ABS) that allows us to overcome some of the main

limitations of Kuran’s models. (1) Unlike classical mathematical models

based on the assumption of utility maximization, we model actors guided by

simple and cognitive feasible decision rules (heuristics). (2) ABS allows

us to model heterogeneous agents whose decisions are conditioned by time,

space and social interactions, something impossible in classical

equilibrium models for reasons of mathematical tractability. (3) Our model

captures the central role of status hierarchies in PF: the concealment of

political beliefs is highly dependent on face-to-face interactions between

high and low status agents. (4) We introduce a less studied feature of PF:

its impact in private beliefs adaptation. Our aim is to identify a

generative process that could account for the persistence of PF that seems

to characterize the pre-revolutionary stages of some unexpected uprisings

throughout recent history (from the East European revolutions to the Arab

Spring). In our model, agents follow three heuristics: (a) a coherence

heuristic that drives them to avoid cognitive dissonance adapting their

private beliefs to those exposed in public, (b) a performance heuristic,

leading low status agents who interact with high status agents to a

cognitive dissonance-free PF (thus modelling Scott’s “hidden

transcripts”), and (c) a social proof heuristic in their expression of

political preferences. We show under which conditions these

microspecifications can generate a PF equilibrium in the macro level.

Moreover, we explore in which conditions an external “shock” can lead to a

change in the equilibrium.

Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of fields in the study of political parties

Modestos Siotos

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique, France

Dominant epistemological and methodological approaches in political sociology, have difficulties when it comes to grasping the diversity of political parties’ ideological configurations. The ontological comprehension of political parties as anthropomorphized actors whose functions, linkages with society or their relation with the State must be analyzed and explained, conceptualizes them as relatively homogenous entities. This paper argues that the multiplicity of meanings produced by party agents asks for a more dynamic and relational approach in our comprehension of how political parties organize their structure of meanings. In this regard, Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of fields provides useful conceptual tools for examining the logics of thought and technics of action that determine the articulation between the structure of a party and the representation of events by its agents. The paper is divided in three sections. In the first it briefly explains key concepts in the bourdieusian sociology focusing on the notion of field as a ‘set of dissymmetrical relations’ generated by practices. In the following section it provides a synoptic review of existing literature in French political sociology inspired by Bourdieu’s work and in particular the works of Michel Offerlé. Lastly, the third section examines the applicability of the notion of field in the sociology of political parties based on my research findings on the ideological transformation of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) between 2007-2015. The paper concludes on a critical note reflecting on the inadequacy of Bourdieu’s structuralist perspective to historicize its research objects.


Mikhail Basimov

Russian State Social University, Russian Federation

In sociological science traces the exodus (intentional or subconscious) to low values of the correlation coefficient, when non-zero correlation (the hypothesis for correlation coefficient equality to zero) is sufficient to describe the statistical relations as strong.

This can be explained as a shortage of the really strong linear statistical relation with in magnitude higher 0.6 in the analysis, when studied sociological objects mostly non-linear in nature but used tools, still represented the linear models, and researchers do not want realize the synergy paradigm and non-linear models.

Let’s consider the model of exponential dependence within solving the problem of investigation of statistical relations using the author's method for 58 parameters: mathematical functions and regression lines for them, based on the correlation coefficient.

A dependency for a function with a single maximum (cut off on the right):

Y=-X^2 (left from the maximum);

Y=-0.7*X^2 (right from the maximum)

In this case, the correlation coefficient is equal to 0.25.

Dependence of the parameter Y from the parameter X as comparative weightiness of the parameter Y for quinters on a scale X:


Dependence of the parameter Y’(regression line) from the parameter X as comparative weightiness of the parameter Y for quinters on a scale X:


If we build graphics it will be apparent what a small part (21%) causation (and obviously one-sided) describes the regression line near the average value of the dependent parameter. While sociologists announce this correlation the «significant” and describe the dependence between parameters as linear.

Political Inequality among Czech Youth: How Do Classroom Discussions Foster a Sense of Internal Political Efficacy?

Aleš Kudrnáč

Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

Extreme politics as a consequence of wealth inequality worries many scholars and policymakers. Youth from low SES families represent one of the most dissatisfied and politically alienated groups. In this research Bandura’s social cognitive learning theory provides a theoretical framework for explaining the role of classroom political discussions on youths’ sense of political efficacy. Using data from 1,953 Czech students (16-20 years) and 85 civics teachers, the analysis provides insight into how classroom discussions help to enhance sense of political efficacy, which is crucial for political engagement. The results suggest that frequency of classroom discussions play a less important role than the quality of class discussions. Classroom discussions have under certain conditions different effects for youth with diverse SES. Students with low SES mixed with high knowledge peers exhibit higher levels of political efficacy. Conversely, students with high SES can benefit from an open classroom climate more than all others.

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