Mourning Honorary Doctor Ronald F. Inglehart

2021-05-11 It was with deep regret that Leuphana University Lüneburg received the news that Ronald F. Inglehart, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan, passed away in Ann Arbor on 8 May 2021. Ron Inglehart had been an honorary doctor of the Faculty of Cultural Studies at Leuphana since 2012. Prof. Inglehart was closely connected to our university through the Centre for Policy Research and the Institute of Political Science. Prof. Chris Welzel, a key proponent of Inglehart's research programme, who co-authored many of Inglehart's publications, is also located in these institutions. The illustrative scatter diagram of the worldwide distribution of cultural value orientations based on empirical data from the World-Value Survey and the European Value Survey is widely known in the social sciences as the "Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map."

Ron Inglehart, beyond his theoretical achievements, was the founder of the World Values Survey, an empirical research programme based on survey data of hitherto unknown geographic scope. He also made decisive contributions to the development of the European Values Study and the regular Eurobarometer surveys, in the breadth of countries included and also in diachronic terms milestones in comparative political science research on culture and changing values. His "revised theory of modernization" popularised the concept of post-materialism. His research in this area empirically demonstrated, among others, the increase in importance of value orientations of self-development - "self-expressive values" - in the second phase of modernisation. With a response of well over 100k citations for his theoretical and empirical scientific work, he is one of the most widely recognised and discussed social scientists in the world. Most recently, with his characteristic analytical acumen, together with Pippa Norris, also an honorary doctor of the Faculty of Cultural Studies, he turned his attention to analysing the political challenge of the rise of "authoritarian populism" as exemplified by the United States and the United Kingdom (Cultural Backlash. Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press 2019).

With Ronald Inglehart, the university loses an outstanding doctor honoris causa. Leuphana will honour his memory. Our sympathy as a university community is with his family, his relatives, friends and cooperation partners in research.