12.11.2014 - 00:00:00
Wed, Nov 12, 2014: Lecture by Jeffrey P. Broadbent, new Guest Professor in the GRK
From today on we happily welcome our colleague from the University of Minnesota, Prof. Jeffrey P. Broadbent, as Guest Professor in the GRK 1613.
Jeffrey P. Broadbent will be around at IN-EAST (LE 709) from now on until the beginning of December. His interest lies in the fields of Political Sociology; Environmental Sociology; Social Movements; Network Analysis; Discourse Analysis, Institutions and Culture; Cross-national Comparative Methods; Climate Change; Japan; East Asia; Ethnography, Global and Comparative/Historical Sociology. Please find a short research biography below.
Prof. Broadbent will give a lecture within our Research Forum and the ‘Soziologisches Kolloquium’ and we would like to invite you to join his presentation on
Comparing the Formation of Political Power in Germany, Japan and the US: Complex Network Interactions and Potential Explanations
on Wednesday, November 12, 18–20 h in LF 132.
Weber likened to power of culture to affect political and economic change to the power of a railroad switchman to send a huge train off into a new direction. In recognizing the interaction of both material and ideal factors, Weber was the first complexity theorist. Yet still most scholars of large scale (macro) formations and processes, frustrated by complexity, tend to fall back on one-sided theoretical paradigms for their explanations using events as evidence (witness Tilly versus Gorski in explaining early European state formation). New theories of institutionalism and of agency have added still more potential abstract causal factors to the list. If we wish to buck this reductionist slide and craft multi-dimensional complex explanations based on better data, we need a way to assess the relative effect of each potential factor within case of policy formation. Relational network analysis represents each abstract factor in the form of its own relational medium at the inter-active level – that is, the resource that if projected by or called upon by one actor attempting to influence the political behavior of another, should in that theory’s eyes yield the most influence. The method measures the networks formed by a number of different exchange media, producing a layered, multiplex network mapping of the field. The relative correlation of a given network with the measured influence and power of an actor show the effective importance of that factor in the policy formation process. This paper compares the effect of three networks, each carrying a distinct media, upon the relative influence of actors in the labor politics domains of Germany, Japan and the U.S. (circa 1988–90). The three network media are public political support, vital information flow, and expected long-term reciprocity. Each network is measured among over 100 relevant organizations (from government and society) in each labor policy domain. Each network in each polity exhibited distinct network qualities, such as degree of inclusivity of actors, the direction of resource flow and the contribution to actor influence. Within each policy, the three networks also correlated (overlapped) very differently. But the three polities also showed some similarities, such as the formation of distinct clusters along class lines (business, labor) with some degree of state intermediation. In Japan, the reciprocity network, in the shape of a butterfly with a central state agency tying together two corporatist wings of business and labor, generated the most influence over the policy-formation process. In Germany, despite its similarly corporatist formal institutions, information networks were the most influential, while in the US, public political support networks were tops. As indicated by their distinct hybrid network formations, the basic exchange and influence processes of these three cases grew from different cultural, institutional and other historical dynamics.
Jeff Broadbent’s undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley in Religious Studies/Buddhism under Robert Bellah introduced him to cultural sociology and social structural models of Japanese society. In graduate school at Harvard, he continued this cultural line of study with Eisenstadt and Parsons, but moved into conflict sociology with Theda Skocpol and network studies with Ron Brieger and Mark Granovetter. Caught between these theoretical cross-currents, he designed his thesis field research on environmental protest in Japan to test or blend these perspectives. Upon completion of his dissertation (1982), as a Junior Fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows (1983–86), he worked with Charles Tilly – who like Skocpol used a rational instrumental approach to contentious politics. His attempts to blend cultural and instrumental approaches to power and conflict resulted in various types of network analysis of his fieldwork data (ASR 1989; Cambridge U Press, 1998). Under this impulse, he moved toward quantitative network methods, which he learned by conducting the Japan case for a study of labor policy networks in German, the US and Japan (Cambridge U Press, 1996). On the basis of this comparison, he characterized the three labor polities (1988–90 data) as contentious (US), collaborative (Germany) and coordinated (Japan) respectively. He has continued to pursue the complex interaction of policy networks in the formation of political processes (Stanford, 2001). Using the quantitative policy network survey approach, in 2007 he founded the project Compon (COMparing climate change POlicy Networks) with the intent of explaining variations in GHG/CO2 emissions trajectories across countries by investigating the roles of advocacy coalitions and contentious political processes. In 2008, the project started with 750,000 Dollar in NSF funding (PI, Broadbent). Since then, the project has expanded to include Compon teams in 17 country cases collecting empirically comparable data, affiliated CIFOR teams in 8 developing countries using the method to study REDD+, and total funding from many national agencies totally over $2 million. Project information is available at www.compon.org. Jeff Boradbent has also continued his work on culture and social movement theory, most recently by producing an edited collection, East Asian Social Movements: Power, Conflict and Change in a Dynamic Region (Springer, 2011).