Europe is going through turbulent times. There is increasing diversity within and between European societies in ethno-cultural, linguistic, and religious terms, or, more simply, in ways of life and prevailing values. Such diversity is arguably fostering cultural insecurity among large segments of the population, with backlashes manifesting themselves in different modes of political mobilization. For many Europeans, stagnating incomes, the perception of increasing social inequalities, transformed labor relations, and the uncertainty about life prospects have created profound economic insecurities. The Great Recession and the financial crisis have affected all European societies to different extents. Resulting concerns about the ability of existing political institutions to manage risk and provide good governance, or about the ability to hold existing loci of power accountable, have shaken previous allegiances to the political status quo, whether to mainstream parties, the European Union, or even liberal democracy itself. Previously trusted sources of information — science, expertise, the mainstream media, and all sorts of secondary organizations — are now constantly questioned on the basis of their aloofness, irrelevance, or bias.
The fourth International ESS Conference aims to show the depth and breadth of scientifically rigorous research made possible as a result of the high quality comparative data provided by the ESS. It will present research that uses data from the European Social Survey (exclusively or in conjuncture with other data) to address the issues mentioned above.
The conference committee invites leading researchers in their field who are using ESS data to present their current research on issues like climate change, the welfare-state, social inequality and stratification, immigration, democracy and political participation, and methodological aspects of the ESS. We also invite studies on health and subjective well-being, anti-immigrant sentiments, human values, justice, and other topics for which ESS data is relevant.