The Cases of the European Values Study and the European Social Survey: European Constellations of Social Science Knowledge Production

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Abstract

This article is a comparative analysis of the European Values Study (EVS) and the European Social Survey (ESS) using five analytical dimensions: agents, ideas, methods, institutions and context. From the outset, both surveys were closely connected to national and European social science institutions, had ties to the EU, and used survey techniques to address urgent contemporary political and social problems. Despite their similarities, the surveys represent two rather different constellations of social science knowledge production. The EVS emerged from a coalition of Catholic-oriented agents from a diverse set of social institutions driven by political and ethical concerns about social change in the 1960s and 1970s. The EVS used its links to various social institutions to set up and run the survey, and its ethical and political concerns and connections to Catholic Church organisations continued to play a significant role in its constellation. The ESS grew out of a scientific and technical aspiration among wellconnected and recognised Western European social scientists. It emphasised rigourous methods and drew on its founding agents’ close relations with European institutions such as the ESF and the European Commission
Original languageEnglish
JournalSerendipities - Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences
Volume2
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)50-68
Number of pages19
ISSN2521-0947
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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