“It’s all of us who are getting honored.” – Ronald F. Inglehart

“It’s all of us who are getting honored.” Ronald F. Inglehart

On September 5, 2014, the very same day of his 80th birthday, Ronald F. Inglehart was presented with the Helen Dinerman Award, WAPOR’s most prestigious recognition given for lifetime contributions in the field of survey research.

Inglehart was unable to attend the event in Nice, France, but he sent the WAPOR community his remarks via video. “I was delighted, surprised, thrilled to get it when I learned that WAPOR was giving me this award. And I was aware of what an honor it is because I know that previous recipients have included a number of people that I’ve admired and looked up to throughout my career. Phillip Converse, Seymour Martin Lipset, Louis Guttman, Elihu Katz, Sir Robert Worcester, Sidney Verba, Juan Linz, Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, people that I consider giants in the field, so I am honored to join their ranks and even wonder whether I belong among them,” Inglehart said.

“In fact, I wondered: ‘What have I done?’ And then I realized, ‘Of course. It’s for the World Values Survey.’ This is a genuine, major contribution to survey research. Of course, it’s the work of scores of social scientists, in over a hundred countries, who have been working the past three decades to create the combined treasure trove of the World Values Survey and the European Values Study,” he added.

“This is a marvelous contribution, I’ve used it for decades and thousands of people have used the data from these surveys. It gives us the ability to understand and analyze social change, political change, how the human component of social change is moving and this is a major achievement but of course it’s our achievement. I helped launch it but it’s all of us who are getting honored. I congratulate all of the people who have worked in the EVS and the World Values Survey to make this possible and congratulations to you all. And many thanks to the World Association for Public Opinion Research for giving me this honor, I’m thrilled and delighted.”

This is the WAPOR citation used for the award:

WAPOR is pleased to present the 2014 Helen Dinerman Award to Ronald F. Inglehart of the University of Michigan. One of his major contributions was the founding of the World Values Surveys (WVS). The WVS developed out of the European Values Survey. Since 1981 it has completed six rounds with the most recent round covering 59 countries or regions.

Inglehart has used data from the WVS and other sources to study cross-cultural differences and the nature and direction of global societal change. His books include The Silent Revolution (1977), Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society (1990), Value Change in Global Perspective (1995 – with Paul R. Abramson), Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies (1997), Human Values and Beliefs: A Cross-cultural Sourcebook (1998 – with Miguel Basanez and Alejandro Moreno), Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World (2003 – with Pippa Norris), Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (2004 – with Pippa Norris), and Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence (2005- with Christian Welzel), and Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World (2009 – with Pippa Norris).

These and other works have made Inglehart one of the most cited political scientists and as Bernard N. Grofman has noted, “In academia citation is the sincerest form of flattery.” One of his major contributions was the conceptualization of a societal shift from materialist to post-materialist values and the development of a scale to measure that transformation. Along with other instruments, the materialism/ post-materialism scale has facilitated the development and testing of evolutionary modernization theory.

He has also demonstrated that inter-generational turnover is a major driver of value change. As his colleague Pippa Norris has noted, Inglehart “is known worldwide as one of the foremost scholars in political science, due to the brilliance of his large ideas and his capacity to ‘think big’ as well as his willingness to search for rigorous evidence which can be used to test and expand our scientific knowledge about cultural values around the globe.”