While the coronavirus pandemic obviously poses major health and economic challenges for current societies, it has also created social and political tensions. The opposition to government measures, the denial of basic facts, and the spread of conspiracy theories have been just some of the negative reactions to the pandemic. Even though the majority of the population trusts the information provided by governments and supports their actions, the current circumstances offer a special opportunity to explore whether and to what extent such a crisis situation has an impact on the core values of a civil society. Are basic political convictions influenced by this crisis? Are there short-term or long-term shifts in fundamental values or, on the contrary, do current experiences even strengthen existing value profiles?
This collaborative research project between scientists from Leuphana University Lüneburg (Prof Dr Christian Welzel), Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg (Prof Dr Jan Delhey), Jacobs University Bremen (Prof Dr Klaus Boehnke, Dr Franziska Deutsch & Prof Dr. Ulrich Kühnen), University of Edinburgh (Dr Jan Eichhorn) and our non-profit, Berlin-based think tank d|part aims to find answers to these questions. Under the leadership of Prof Dr Christian Welzel, vice president of the World Values Survey, a panel study has been initiated in nine countries so far (Brazil, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, South Korea and Austria). Following the initial data collection, a second survey of the participants will be conducted in a few months, when the crisis situation may have ebbed somewhat.
Under the direction of Dr Jan Eichhorn d|part is responsible for the dissemination of the results with support by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Initial results will not only be presented to the research community, but also in an accessible way to the wider public through this funding.
In addition, the Volkswagen Foundation funded a research project for which the interdisciplinary team of researchers from Jacobs University Bremen, the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, the University of Edinburgh, and Leuphana University Lüneburg is investigating the question: What impact does the coronavirus pandemic have on moral values and social orientations in a society? d|part will be the practice partner again and responsible for the dissemination.
The project team engages in a prospective panel study, started by comparing attitudes of 2,000 respondents each in Great Britain and Germany. The two countries were chosen because they are comparable in terms of economic parameters, but differ greatly in the way they deal with the pandemic and its consequences. Project leaders are Professor Jan Delhey, Franziska Deutsch, and Jan Eichhorn.