A Warwick graduate is one of the winners of the 2011 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. Pippa Norris (BA Philosophy and Politics 1971-74), professor in political science at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Ronald Inglehart, professor in sociology at the University of Michigan were acknowledged for having systematically investigated and highlighted the importance of human values and value change for political behaviour and societal life.
They share the prize for "contributing innovative ideas about the relevance and roots of political culture in a global context, transcending previous mainstream approaches of research". In three co-authored books and numerous articles they have, through sophisticated analyses and a globally-based material including a majority of the world's population, shown that a crucial key to continuity and change in political participation, interest and why issues become prioritized is the values, beliefs and attitudes of the citizens themselves.
In their joint work, the importance of religion in today's contemporary world has been in focus, as well as gender equality and the role of global media and information technology in affecting values to converge or become more polarized. The process of value formation and change is intimately related to structural factors such as the shift from industrial to post-industrial production, and furthermore rests on feelings of existential security which are affected by a spread in the equality of well-being.
Characteristic of Norris and Inglehart's research is that their analyses ties together their own as well as previously launced theories with a uniquely rich and subtle material, allowing for systematic empirical testing, development but also refutation. Their focus is consequently on the citizens, the people, and their indirect interplay with elites and political and societal institutions.
Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris will accept the prize at a ceremony in Uppsala on 24 September 2011.