From Mannheim to Montréal

After exciting 15 months at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research and the Chair for Political Psychology, it is a time to start a new chapter. It will begin in Montréal, Québec.

Thanks to the amicable support of André Blais, I´ll have the opportunity to spend the upcoming months at the University of Montréal as a visiting researcher. Everyone interested in turnout behavior is familiar with the work of André Blais´ and his team of researchers at the Chair in Electoral Studies. Best known is his discussion of the merits and limits of rational choice theory with regard to voting behavior. In recent years André Blais and Carol Galais have taken up the challenge to investigate the perceived duty to vote more closely (1, 2, 3), as one of the variables with the highest explanatory power for electoral participation. Despite its central role in electoral studies, this concept of voting as a civic duty is not well understood. As my dissertation deals with the psychological mechanisms whereby social and moral norms influence political participation, our research interests intersect offering diverse opportunities for intellectual exchange. 

Apparently, the stay in Montréal will not only be of intellectual benefit. According to my guide, Montréal is said to be the cultural capital of Canada and even the New York Times has recently published a piece on the new, ‘hip’ Canada. The author lists Justin Bieber and Ryan Gosling as prime examples for Canada´s new hipness..

If Justin Bieber doesn´t convince you of hip Canada, may be these fun facts will:

  • 1 out of 10 of the world´s trees is Canadian.
  • When you are in New Foundland (Eastern Canada), it´s closer to Ireland than it is to Vancouver.
  • Canada is cold. This doesn´t mean you´d a jacket. Just walk in the tunnels below the surface. 32 km of them. From shopping malls, theaters to concert halls: You can reach everything without seeing daylight. And, yes, if you feel the urgent for absolution after your shopping trip,  the Cathedrale Christ Church is also connected to the network of tunnels of course.