06 May 2014

Chris Welzel becomes Vice-President of the WVS

Christian Welzel inaugurated Second Vice-President of the World Values Survey Association!

Christian Welzel obtained his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Potsdam in 1996 and in 2000 his Habilitation in Political Science at the Freie Universitaet Berlin. He was appointed Professor of Political Science at the Jacobs University Bremen (2002-2010) and joined the Leuphana University Lueneburg in 2010 where he stays until today.

Welzel’s own research program is congenial to Inglehart’s theory of the nature of value change. This is well documented in his (Habilitations) thesis “Fluchtpunkt Humanentwicklung. Ueber die Grundlagen der Demokratie und die Ursachen ihrer Ausbreitung“ (2002). This theoretical orientation inspired the 2005 volume on “Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: the Human Development Sequence” (Inglehart & Welzel) and in particular his new treatise on “Freedom Rising. Human Empowerment and the Quest for Emancipation” (Cambridge University Press, 2013). His visibility in the academic community is high (“h-index” of 28).
Ever since Christian Welzel joined the Center for the Study of Democracy at the Leuphana University in Lueneburg, work on the World Values Survey project has been an important part of the Center’s research activities. Christian Welzel has coordinated the WVS activities of the Research Unit of Institutions and Social Change at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) since 1997. This included intense networking especially among the new Central and East European partners of the WVS.

As member of Executive Committee of World Values Survey Association, he shapes the development of the Survey and uses the enormous opportunities opened up by the survey data for his own research projects. In the wave 6 of WVS which was finished last month, Christian Welzel is responsible for the German part of the survey, which involves 2000 face-to-face interviews. In Germany, the survey questionnaire is combined with an online experiment, by means of which Christian Welzel aims to explore the relationship between an individual’s set of values and his willingness to cooperate with others. The project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

In recent years, Christian Welzel has focused largely on the effect that emancipative values have on the emergence and stability of democratic regimes and developed a well-reasoned theory of emancipation. In his latest book Freedom Rising he presents an all-embracing theory of “why human freedom gave way to increasing oppression since the invention of states - and why this trend began to reverse itself more recently, leading to a rapid expansion of universal freedoms and democracy”.

Christian Welzel has become a member of the WVSA Executive Committee in 2004, was elected as Vice-President in 2008 and the President of WVS in 2013. At the General Assembly in Doha, Qatar in April, 2014 his candidature was approved for the position of Second Vice-President. The term of office will commence on June, 1, 2014 and end on April, 30, 2017.


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