Professor Ronald F. Inglehart - The Silent Revolution in Reverse: The Rise of Trump and the Authoritarian Populist Parties

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Friday, September 14th, 2018

Friday, September 14, 20186:00PM - 8:00PMExternal Event, Isabel Bader Theatre
Victoria University in the University of Toronto
93 Charles Street W
Toronto, ON M5S 2C7
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Munk Environics Lecture


Ronald F. Inglehart is the Lowenstein Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Author of over 300 publications, he holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University, Sweden, the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and the University of Lueneburg, Germany. Inglehart helped found the Euro-Barometer surveys and is founding president of the World Values Survey Association, which has surveyed representative national samples of the publics of 105 countries containing over 90 percent of the world’s population. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. In 2011, Inglehart won the Johan Skytte prize in Political Science, often considered the highest prize awarded in the field.

Professor Ingleharts’ recently published book, Cultural Evolution: People’s Motivations are Changing, and Reshaping the World, argues that people’s values and behavior are shaped by the degree to which survival is secure; it was precarious for most of history, which encouraged heavy emphasis on group solidarity, rejection of outsiders, and obedience to strong leaders. For under extreme scarcity, xenophobia is realistic: if there is just enough land to support one tribe and another tribe tries to claim it, survival may literally be a choice between Us and Them. Conversely, high levels of existential security encourage openness to change, diversity and new ideas. The unprecedented prosperity and security of the postwar era brought cultural change, the environmentalist movement, and the spread of democracy. But in recent decades, diminishing job security and rising inequality have led to an authoritarian reaction. Evidence from more than 100 countries demonstrates that people’s motivations and behavior reflect the extent to which they take survival for granted—and that modernization changes them in roughly predictable ways. This book explains the rise of environmentalist parties, gender equality, and same-sex marriage... and the current reaction producing Trump, Brexit, and France’s National Front, through a new, empirically-tested version of modernization theory.

“This book is the product of an extremely ambitious project—ambitious in terms of the broad scope of the various aspects of society that its theoretical insights purport to explain, but also in terms of the range of the social science disciplines that are swept up and integrated into this “evolutionary modernization theory.” One could even regard this enterprise as striving towards what would be the equivalent of “unified field theory” in physics. What Chutzpah! And what a burden of proof such an ambitious enterprise would face. Remarkably, Inglehart succeeds in this demanding task, the ultimate product of which I regard as one of the most important works in the social sciences in decades”.

–Richard Gunther, Ohio State University

“Cultural Evolution culminates a remarkably productive half century’s exploration of cultural change by Ronald Inglehart. This renowned scholar now extends the reach of his theory to global history, while honing his concepts to dissect, for example, the emergence of rightwing populism and LGBTQ activism. This is Inglehart at his most ambitious and most astute. It is a powerful book”.

–Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University

“Cultural Evolution is an intellectual tour-de-force. Drawing on insights from years of research in societies representing 90% of the world’s population, the renowned political scientist Ronald Inglehart traces the most important changes taking place across the globe—the shift from Materialist to Postmaterialist values. His brilliant new Evolutionary Modernization theory explains changes in religion, conflict, gender equality, democracy, happiness, among other phenomena through the same parsimonious scientific lens. It is a fantastic read for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of culture change”.

–Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland


Ronald F. Inglehart
Research Professor, Center for Political Studies Professor, Department of Political Science University of Michigan

Randall Hansen
Interim Director, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy University of Toronto

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