A new article, titled "Transnational Social Practices: A Quantitative Perspective", co-authored with Céline Teney, was just published in Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Transnational social practices (TSP) can be defined as sustained linkages and ongoing exchanges between individuals across national borders. Over the last decades, TSP have not only become more common, but they have also developed into an increasingly salient subject of quantitative sociological research. After highlighting seminal foundational research, we introduce a set of salient topics in this emerging strand of research, including the social stratification of TSP, the link between TSP and cosmopolitan attitudes, and the issue of classifying TSP into meaningful subdimensions. We conclude with a discussion of several avenues for future research, including the relation between TSP and the increasing societal polarization between “locals” and “globals,” the need to go beyond the field's current Eurocentrism to study TSP comparatively in all parts of the world, and the prospects of methodological and technical advances in research on TSP, including network‐analytic approaches and geo‐tagged digital‐trace data. A free pre-print version can downloaded here.
"On the Europeanization of Actions and Attitudes: A Macrosociological Comparison of the EU Member States", a paper co-authored with Jan Delhey, has been published (in German) at Berliner Journal für Soziologie in a special issue on Horizontal Europeanization edited by Christian Lahusen and Susanne Pernicka.
From mid-March, I will be in Princeton (New Jersey) for a research stay. Prof. Miguel Centeno, chair of Princeton University's Sociology Department, invited me to visit the research community Global Systemic Risk at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
The common goal of the interdisciplinary research group, which involves scientists from many fields, including computer science, economics, engineering, history, philosophy, mathematics, physical sciences, psychology, political science, and sociology, is to "focus on the robustness and fragility of global human-made organizational systems and is concerned with risks that have short- to medium-term likelihood and consequences". They argue that "[t]he interdependence of massive global interactions and structures has caused systemic risk to increase exponentially in recent times. Tangible risks—in systems as diverse as energy exploration and production, electricity transmission, computer networks, healthcare, food and water supplies, transportation networks, commerce, and finance—now threaten global political, economic, and financial systems that affect citizens of every nation. As a result, the study of risk has the potential to become an important and influential academic and policy field."
I am looking forward to an exciting collaboration with Prof. Centeno and his colleagues at Princeton University.
A draft version of my paper The Spatial Structure of Transnational Human Activity is now available online in the arXiv.
The map below shows exemplarily one type of communication that is analyzed in the paper: transnational Facebook friendships. The black lines denote the country pairs with the highest number of Facebook friendships. For the purposes of this study, they constitute the equivalent of the steps the random walker takes in the Lévy flight figure above. (NB: The Facebook data was obtained from an interactive graph, converted into a network matrix and graphically mapped using Manish Nag's fantastic free software SONOMA).
The third figure below shows the spatial structure of these Facebook friendships. The x-axis shows the distance (in km) and the y-axis states the probability of a transnational Facebook friendship to occur. The blue circles denote binned observations and the black line is a fitted power-law curve. The inset shows the same observations on logarithmic axes, on which the power-law curve forms a straight line.
A new article, "Measuring the Europeanization of Everyday Life: Three New Indices and an Empirical Application", co-authored by Jan Delhey, Timo Graf, Katharina Richter and myself is now available in European Societies.
Abstract: This article seeks to conceptually clarify the measurement of Europeanization from a transactional perspective. Following Karl Deutsch, we regard cross-border practices and sense of community as constitutive for an emerging European society. But we critically reassess how this approach has been put into empirical practice by contemporary scholars. Typically, too much attention is paid to absolute Europeanization, and too little to relative Europeanization. In order to properly investigate the European society as situated between the nation-state and the world society, we argue that Europeanization involves both national openness (the salience of Europe compared to the nation-state) and external closure (the salience of Europe compared to the world). Three indices are suggested to capture relative Europeanization and its major components. Recent Eurobarometer and European Values Study data on practices and attitudes of EU citizens is used to illustrate our approach empirically. The results demonstrate that external closure adds a new layer of information for understanding everyday life Europeanization. We also find a bifurcation between practices for which Europe is the more relevant reference frame (as compared to the world) and attitudes for which it is not.
Key words: European society, Europeanization, globalization, transnationalism, transactions, European identity
Delhey, J. Deutschmann, E., Graf, T. & Richter, K. (2014). "Measuring the Europeanization of Everyday Life: Three New Indices and an Empirical Application", European Societies, 16(3): 355-377.