Computer science, sociological, mathematical, political and statistic perspectives on the essential question how postindustrial, liberal democracy can organise unity in diversity in the modern world.
Value research and, in particular the World Values Survey and Inglehart’s and Welzel’s Human Development Theory were one of my academic interests since early on in my undergraduate studies of Integrated Social Sciences at Jacobs University Bremen. I had worked on this topic with colleagues and would later write my BA thesis on the topic.
Today was my first day of teaching at UCI. “Statistics and Probability”, the class I will be holding discussion sections for three times a week, starting this week, is a three quarter series, introducing (mostly freshman) undergraduates to basic issues of statistical methods. The subject, it occurred to me today, is unlikely to be overly popular amongst the students at UCI, as is probably the case everywhere else, too. I, for my part, am determined to make the section as entertaining and applied in focus as possible, and I hope that desperate ice-breakers of the sort of the “fun” games we did today will be rewarded by active participation.
It has been shown that beyond institutional and material conditions, mass beliefs can help explain differences in democratic and economic development between human societies (Inglehart & Welzel 2005). Human Development, argue Inglehart and Welzel can be understood as a process of emancipation, cherishing ever more choice (ibd.). Two dimensions of respective value changes can be identified; one towards secular-rational values, reflecting the transition to modern industrial society, and, one towards self-expression values, typical for postmodern and postindustrial societies (ibd.).
The first project of this semester’s transdisciplinary University Studies Course on “Mathematics and Democracy” was to develop and document an election projection method. My colleagues Anna Kristina Bautista, Matthias Bröcheler, Ivelina Grozeva, Nora Lücke, Adina Luican and me decided to implement a voter movement analysis. The method employs statistical models to estimate voter movements between parties in the selected (few) election precincts to arrive at a projection for the entire constituency. Matthias devised and implemented the procedure using Matlab.