Sociology colloquia at the University of Groningen 2007.


Date & Place




January 18

Carl W. Roberts

Iowa State University

Modalizing the Link

February 15

Tineke Oldehinkel

University Medical Center Groningen

Development of Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Early Adolescence

February 22

Arjan Blokland

NSCR Leiden

Patterns and Processes in Adult Crime

March 15

René Torenvlied

Utrecht University

Policy Implementation under Adversity

May 3

Kees van Veen

University of Groningen

European Top Managers Project

June 21

Hanno Scholtz

University of Zurich

Geography, Differentiation, and Power Distribution

September 20

Berna Güroglu

Radboud University Nijmegen

Friendships: From Typologies and Adjustment to Neural Correlates 

October 22

Ernest Hodges

St John's University, New York

Individual Differences in Social-Cognitive Processes in the Peer Context

October 25

Frans Stokman

University of Groningen

How to Align Short- with Long-Term Goals on the Market and in Politics?

November 15

Manfred van Dulmen

Kent State University

Romantic Relationships and Desistance in Antisocial Behavior

December 20

Jochem Tolsma

Radboud University Nijmegen

Ethnic and Gender Educational Differentials



December, 20, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Jochem Tolsma (Radboud University Nijmegen): Ethnic and gender educational differentials. The influence of expectations of success and expected educational returns on educational career decisions.

In the Netherlands, gender has become a less decisive determinant for highest attained level of education, but gender educational differentials still exist. And although successive birth cohorts of ethnic minorities seem to close the gap with the native Dutch at lower educational levels, ethnic inequality is maximally maintained at the top educational levels. I will discuss the career decision of Dutch students one year after enrolment in higher education (HBO or university). Students may (1) remain in the same study, (2) switch studies in higher education, or (3) drop out of higher education. Surprisingly, the chance for women and non-western immigrants to remain in the same study is higher than for men or native Dutch, respectively. We demonstrate that students who start their study with higher expectations of success and higher expectations of future income are less likely to drop out, even after controlling for other relevant determinants of school career decisions. Women who enroll in higher education have higher expectations of success than men, this partly explains why women are less likely to drop out of higher education after their first year than men.

Jochem Tolsma graduated in Natural Sciences at the Radboud University Nijmegen and in Social Cultural Sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the ICS at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His research focuses on educational differentials based on ethnicity and on causes of prejudice. He published in European Sociological Review. For more information please see:

November, 15, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Manfred H. M. van Dulmen (Kent State University): Romantic relationships and desistance in antisocial behavior: A developmental perspective

A large body of research has investigated the role of contextual factors in the development of antisocial behavior. Plentiful are the studies that implicate parenting and peer relationships in the maintenance and desistance in antisocial behavior. Although the adult literature indicates that involvement in supportive marital relationships is associated with desistance in antisocial behavior, studies on adolescent romantic relationships are rare. This is somewhat surprising as romantic relationships are a naturally occurring context and experiences in adolescent romantic relationships have a profound impact on other areas of individual psychopathology and well-being. Using a developmental framework, I will discuss findings from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (MLSPC) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth) on the role of romantic relationships in the development of antisocial behavior. These two longitudinal data-sets provide the unique opportunity to consider the role of romantic relationships in a risk sample (MLSPC) and a U.S. normative sample (AddHealth).

Manfred van Dulmen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Kent State University. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota. His current research focuses on the role of interpersonal relationships (family, peer, romantic) in the development of antisocial behavior from adolescence into young adulthood. He has a particular interest in methodological and statistical issues in the study of change and development. He is currently a co-Investigator on two federally (NICHD) funded grants and a statistical consultant on several federally funded projects. He serves on the board of advisory editors for the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. He recently co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Adolescence on methodological and measurement issues in the study of adolescent competence.

October, 25, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Frans Stokman (University of Groningen): How to align short-term goals with long-term goals on the market and in politics?

Myopia, the prevalence of short-term goals above long-term goals, is part of human nature. To compensate, our societies have created a number of institutions that enforce a higher priority for long-term goals, like obligatory retirement arrangements. However, there are also institutions that strengthen myopia, making myopia even more problematic. Examples are bonus systems that are based on short-term shareholders value of companies and periodic elections of politicians.
Historical evidence shows that myopia resulted time and time again in excessive use of high gain energy resources without anticipation on the future. In the past, this resulted in the necessity to shift to low gain energy resources and in declining utility of societal complexity, resulting in declining economic welfare, increasing political instability and even the decline of complex societies (Tainter 1988).
The unprecedented size of the world population and the high economic welfare of a part of them result in unprecedented damage to a viable world and overuse of its natural resources. The main challenge of our society is, therefore, to create institutions that enforce the alignment of short-term goals with long-term ones, both in the market and in politics. In the lecture, an institution is elaborated that might enforce the prevalence of long-term goals.

Frans Stokman is a Professor of Social Science Research Methodology at the University of Groningen. He is the author of many books and articles and his research interests include social network analysis, political analysis, decision making and the exertion of power. See also: his website.

MONDAY October, 22, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Ernest V. E. Hodges (St. John’s University): Individual differences in social-cognitive processes in the peer context

A large body of research has investigated the role of social-cognitive and social-information processing mechanisms in the development of aggressive behavior. Although much support has been garnered from these approaches, associations between underlying thought and behavior are modest. I will present and discuss findings from three studies that challenge the prevailing universal view that social-cognitive mechanisms actualize into behavior for all children (or people).

Ernest V. E. Hodges is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University. He received his PhD from Florida Atlantic University specializing in social and personality development. His current research focuses on social-cognitive processes linked to the development of aggressive and antisocial (e.g., weapon carrying) behavior during middle childhood and adolescence. He serves on the editorial board of Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, and has published on a variety of topics (e.g., parenting dimensions, parent-child attachment, social cognitive evaluations, emotion dysregulation, self esteem, gender identity) in relation to behavioral (e.g., internalizing and externalizing) and social maladjustment (e.g., peer rejection, victimization, enemies) in major scientific journals including Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Educational Psychology..

September, 20, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Berna Güroglu (Radboud University Nijmegen): Friendships: From typologies and adjustment to neural correlates

The engagement in interpersonal relationships is a fundamental human motivation and a pivotal developmental domain across the lifespan with far-reaching effects on (mental) health. Particularly dyadic friendships form one of the most crucial and immediate contexts of social and psychological development. Despite the many links between having friends and favorable individual adjustment, it has been suggested that the identity of friends can affect individual developmental pathways more than merely having friends. I will provide a typology of friendships and demonstrate their differential links with adjustment, both cross-sectional and longitudinal. Finally, I will present results from a neuroimaging study investigating the neural correlates of friendship and suggest a mechanism accounting for the link between friendship and positive development and mental health.

Berna Güroglu graduated in Mathematics from Koç University, Istanbul and received her master degree in developmental psychology from Boaziçi University, Istanbul. She started her PhD in developmental psychology at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2002. Her PhD project on dyadic peer relationships focuses on typologies of friendship and antipathy relationships, their cross-sectional and longitudinal links with adjustment, and neural correlates of friendship using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Her broad interests cover development of peer, parent-child and romantic relationships, their neural basis and various gene-environment interactions.

June, 21, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Hanno Scholtz (University of Zurich): Geography, differentiation, and power distribution: Towards a `supply-side' economic theory of democratization

Combining earlier socio-economic and actor-oriented approaches, recent literature conceives of democracy as an equilibrium result of moves, but derives as ultimate source of regime emergence the upper classes' regime demands. In contrast, the current paper focuses on the `supply side' of democratization, i.e. on the central aspects which strengthen a people's ability to free itself from authoritarian rule. Two mechanisms are presented: Generally, democracy as an equilibrium with everyone engaging both in production and in influence generation, can emerge as a result of decreasing returns in the production of goods and influence. Historically, the form of production functions has been driven largely by geography and led to the few agricultural democracies in ancient Greece, medieval Switzerland and the United States. The second mechanism comes from socio-economic differentiation: If a citizen-worker's move from a larger to a smaller industry increases her veto power, socio-economic differentiation increases the probability for democratic institutions. Based on Feenstra's 1962-2000 trade data with export differentiation as proxy for production differentiation, heterogeneity can be shown to have a strong and causally consistent influence on democracy both in cross section and in fixed-effects models, gaining an aggregate effect size higher than that of income inequality for recent years.

Hanno Scholtz graduated in Economics at the University of Mannheim, took a Ph.D. in Political Science at FU Berlin and is currently working at the Sociological Institute and within the NCCR Democracy at the University of Zurich. Trained as an applied micro-economist, he combines micro-models of social situations with empirical analysis, mostly in areas of economic and political sociology. He has co-edited a volume on comparative genocide studies (in German, with D. Schaller and others).


May, 3, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Kees van Veen (University of Groningen): How international are executive boards of multinational companies? Describing and explaining nationality diversity in 15 European countries

Considering the increasing integration of economic systems, it is clear that multinational corporations increase in numbers, in size and in the number of countries they are active in. As a result, MNCs become more and more detached from their `country-of-origin’ and are sometimes considered as a kind of stateless superstructures. They go wherever the money brings them and national sentiments play no role in their decision making processes. Sociologists as Sklair (2001) and Staples (2007) claim that we are witnessing the emergence of a `transnational business class’.
Simultaneously, we see that studies in the field of International Business show consistently that country-of-origin is a very important explaining factor for differences in MNC behavior and activities. Additionally, crossborder mergers and acquisitions are higly debated because they are supposed to threaten national interests (i.e.public debates around Saudi investors who try to buy American ports, or Dutch ABN-AMRO that tries to buy Italian ANTONVENETA). They are also very vulnerable and often fail (i.e.DaimlerChrysler, Ahold-US-Foodservice). In fact, one can also argue that MNC’s are nationally embedded vehicles that prefer to extend their economic territories beyond traditional boundaries but remain strongly rooted in their country-of-origin.
A core element in these two arguments is the question who takes the major decisions within MNCs. Who are in charge and how did they get to these positions? In stateless multinationals that are active around the globe, one might expect that the executive board of an MNC reflects the same diversity in terms of nationalities. On the other extreme, if an MNC is strongly rooted within its country-of-origin, the executive boards will be homogeneous and will mirror the nationality of its roots. As a result, foreigners have no access to these boards.
To study this question, we collected unique dataset that consists of 2229 executives in 363 MNCs in 15 European countries. Using these data, the nationality diversity in boards will be described. Subsequently, some theoretical explanations will be developed that can explain differences and similarities by introducing specific company and countries-of-origin factors. The relative strength of these explanatory factors will be a topic of discussion. Finally, some problematic aspects of this approach will be summarized and connected to some important future research questions.

Kees van Veen was a Ph.D. student at the ICS. Presently, he is appointed at the Faculty of Management and Organization of the University of Groningen. He is director of BSc and MSc International Business and Management. He coordinates the European Top Managers Project. This project focuses on causes and consequences of board composition of Multinational Corporations with a specific focus on issues of nationality diversity within European countries. Additionally, he publishes on management fashions, the history of the consulting industry, and career developments within organizations.


March, 15, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

René Torenvlied (Utrecht University): Policy implementation under adversity

It is an unsettled question in implementation research how political disagreement translates into the behavior of policy implementers-and hence in the performance of government. Empirical studies reveal a 'disagreement-deviation' paradox: they cannot find a significant effect of political disagreement on the deviations of implementers. The present research aims to resolve this paradox by introducing the concept of 'policy polarization' within the realm of implementation studies. Polarization refers to the homogeneity in preferences within groups of policy proponents and adversaries. Potentially, polarized decision-making puts high pressures on the implementation of policies. Policy implementers are faced with political decisions that are relatively extreme and unstable in the long run. Indeed, current research supports the impression that political polarization increases in many Western democracies. The proposed research (1) develops new instruments to measure policy polarization, (2) describes the level of policy polarization underlying a large number of political decisions, and (3) derives and tests conditions under which policy polarization has a positive or negative effect on the deviations of policy implementers. The proposed research tests the core hypothesis that the positive effect of political disagreement on deviations by implementers is smaller, the higher the level of polarization (and a range of related hypotheses). One project combines recent insights from theories of polarization, delegation, and into models that better predict effects of political disagreement on performances of implementers. These models are tested in two theoretical-empirical projects that aim to collect new data on the implementation of (a) EU policies, and (b) local renewal policies in an international comparative perspective. The research project contributes to a better understanding of positive and negative effects of policy polarization. It also contributes to a new, 'third generation' of implementation studies by statistically testing deductive and parsimonious implementation models on large-n datasets.

René Torenvlied is associate professor at Utrecht University. His research interests include: policy analysis, political economy, and policy networks. His applied research focused on European policy-making, Dutch social partnership, collective bargaining, prevention policies, social policies and anti-corruption policy-making. Last year, he received a NWO-VIDI grant. He published in Acta Politica, Journal of Mathematical Sociology, and Rationality and Society.


February, 22, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Arjan Blokland (NSCR, Leiden): Patterns and processes in adult crime

Most developmental criminologists have focused on the onset and maintenance of delinquency during childhood and adolescence. Yet, as do developments in juvenile delinquency, adult criminal trajectories result from a complex interplay between individual and contextual factors, that needs to be well understood for interventions to be fruitful. After a brief introduction of the dataset used, I will present recent work on the patterning of crime types across age and on the effects of exogenous factors in the evolution of crime during adulthood. The data are part of the Criminal Career and Life-course Study (CCLS) a large-scale longitudinal study on the criminal careers of a random sample of over 5000 offenders convicted in 1977, their partners and their children. Combining official criminal data with municipal data on marital and fertility history over a 25-year prospective follow-up period the CCLS provides a unique opportunity to study both processes of desistance and persistence in crime and the role of life circumstances herein.

Arjan Blokland is a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) in Leiden. His research focuses on developmental and life-course criminology, in particular the evolution of criminal careers during the adult years. In 2005 he received a VENI grant to further investigate the content and sequencing of adult criminal careers. He is co-chair of the European Developmental and Life-course Criminology working group and editor of the recently published textbook Developmental and Life-course Studies in Delinquency and Crime: A Review of Dutch Research. His work has been published internationally in Criminology and Criminal Behavior and Mental Health.


February, 15, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Tineke Oldehinkel (University Medical Center Groningen): Development of emotional and behavioral problems in early adolescence

The transition from child to adolescent is a turbulent periods of life, characterized by major biological, psychological, and social challenges and prospects. These developments are believed to be reflected in alterations in emotional states and behavioral patterns. I will discuss a number of puberty-related developments and examine how these developments are related to common emotional and behavioral problems in early adolescent boys and girls. The data were collected as part of TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey), a large longitudinal population-based study of mental health and social development among (pre)adolescents from the North of the Netherlands. The first two assessment waves of TRAILS cover all pubertal stages and therefore offer a fine opportunity to examine mental health changes in this phase of life.

Tineke Oldehinkel is a professor at the Department of Psychiatry of the University Medical Center Groningen. Her research focuses on the pathogenesis of emotional and behavioral problems, in particular depression, and the role of person-environment interactions in that. A few years ago, she received an NWO-VIDI grant to further explore this area. She is scientific coordinator of the longitudinal TRAILS survey and head of the Groningen Twin Registry. She has published in major scientific journals such as Development and Psychopathology, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine.


January, 18, 2007, 13:00-14:15 (Room B128):

Carl W. Roberts (Iowa State University): Modalizing the link:
On measuring the social construction of "the Possible," "the Impossible," "the Inevitable," and "the Contingent"

In generating semantic representations of words, one must develop a systematic method for characterizing the relations, or links, among the concepts in one's texts. Links may be characterized as causal ("Aubrey lit the fire"), affective ("Bobbie enjoys lobster"), indicative ("Chris is not a professor"), and so on. Yet subject-object links become more complex when the subject's intentions are conveyed through modal auxiliary verbs ("Aubrey hopes to light the fire", "Bobbie is not able to enjoy lobster", "Chris ought to be a professor"). Through modal usage, speakers (or writers) are able to discursively construct the possibility, impossibility, inevitability, or contingency of the link between a human subject and a predicate. By taking such modal characteristics into account, richer statistical inferences can be drawn about one's text population. Thematic and semantic text analysis methodologies will be defined and illustrated using the text analysis software package, TCA. The seminar will conclude with an illustration of findings from a "modality analysis" performed on a sample of texts published between 1990 and 1997 in the Hungarian newspaper, Népszabadság.

Carl W. Roberts is Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Sociology and Statistics Departments at Iowa State University. His current research on theory and intercultural comparisons is motivated by an interest in how language shapes perception and behavior. He has written extensively on linguistic structure in articles appearing in Social Forces and Sociological Methodology, as well as in his edited collection, Text Analysis for the Social Sciences (1997). Beyond his work with Roel Popping on political discourse within the newly democratizing countries of Eastern Europe, he is investigating cultural variations evident in sampled texts ranging from medieval documents to contemporary foreign and domestic newspapers.