Polarization of public attitudes in Ukraine: a research of belief networks from 1992 to 2018

​​Speaker: Dr Tymofii Brik

Location: Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, 42-43 Park End Street OX1 1JD

OrganiserDr Anna P. Krausova & Dr Raheel Dhattiwala, Department of Sociology

Attendance Arrangements: Free Event. Open to all members of the University. This week the seminar will be online for all MSc, MPhil and DPhil students with surnames starting with A to M. MSc, MPhil and DPhil students with surnames starting with N to Z, as well as departmental faculty and researchers can join in person. The talk will be preceded by a light lunch at 12.30 for those attending. Contact the Graduate Studies Administrator if you haven't received a Teams meeting link. 

Abstract: Mass polarization has attracted significant attention in scholarship. Researchers typically measure polarization via survey instruments. They use independent items to measure beliefs and then investigate extreme answers. Therefore, researchers arrive at different conclusions depending on which items they selected. Moreover, this approach ignores that beliefs are not independent of each other in real life. In this presentation I employ an alternative approach by studying beliefs networks. Following previous research (DellaPosta2020), I use survey data to construct networks of beliefs using survey items as nodes, and their correlations as edges. In this framework, polarization is conceptualized as strengthening ties in the belief’s networks. In other words, when clusters of survey questions emerge with time, this implies a trend towards higher polarization. I use polling data from Ukraine, 1992-2018, to show the evolution of beliefs networks and the emergence of polarization in the 21 century.