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Political Activity in Russia and Its Determinants




Speaker: Professor David Horton Smith, Boston College, USA

Political scientists and other socio-behavioral scientists have being using quantitative methods to understand, explain, and predict political activity/participation by individuals for about 100 years. Initially focused on voting behavior, research has broadened its criterion variable to study other types of political, civic, and social participation since about 1950. The best explanations still mainly depend on demographic, ideology, and attitude variables, with some attention to personality variables. Smith’s S-Theory includes these and still other predictor types. In the 2,000-respondent Russian interview data, he is able to explain about 59% of the variance in a single political activity item as a criterion variable. An unusual 29 (50%) of 58 predictors are statistically significant at the .05 level two-tailed. Clearly, S-Theory very much helps the comprehensive explanation of political activity in these data, as for other criterion variables tested (formal volunteering, informal volunteering, charitable giving, socially-valued leisure activity). These findings indicate that S-Theory captures most of the multivariate complexity of the determinants of human behavior more generally, unlike any other, known, broadly multivariate theory.

About the speaker

David is founding President/CEO of ICSERA, the International Council of Voluntarism, Civil Society, and Social Economy Researcher Associations (, a unique, global, nonprofit sector, infrastructure organization, umbrella association of associations, and research-information center/institute. He is at present Research and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Boston College, USA; Honorary Visiting Professor at the Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, Russia; Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Arts & Sciences, City University London, UK; Honorary Visiting Professor of Sociology, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; Visiting Scholar, NGO Research Center, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

After receiving his A. B. magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1960 with full, separate majors in Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology, David earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University (1965). In 1971, he founded ARNOVA---the [international] Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action ( as its first President, and was founding Editor-in-Chief of the association’s now-SSCI-listed NVSQ journal---Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, which has the highest Impact Factor in the field of voluntaristics.

The author or editor of 18 published academic books by 2016, with others in process, and nearly 200 articles and book chapters, David won the ARNOVA Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research in 1993,the first year it was awarded. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the new academic journal for survey/ review articles only, VOLUNTARISTICS REVIEW (2016+). His bio entry is one of 139 individuals included in the INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CIVIL SOCIETY (Springer 2010) as outstanding contributors to the nonprofit sector from all of world history and all nations, most of the others deceased. His bio has also been included in Marquis’ WHO’S WHO IN THE WORLD (since 2001) and in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA (since 2000).

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When & where

6.00pmWednesday 30th March 2016

D221 Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom