Northwestern faculty members present at political science conference

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Northwestern faculty members present at political science conference

November 14, 2008

Two members of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University faculty were presenters at the recent Oklahoma Political Science Association’s annual meeting and conference.

Dr. Eric Schmaltz, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Aaron Mason, assistant professor of political science, made the presentation at Cameron University in Lawton on Nov. 6 and 7. The title of the paper they spoke on is “Lederhosen Rodeos and Laptops: Comparisons of Political Culture in Oklahoma and Bavaria in the Age of Globalization.”

This paper also has been published in the 2008, Volume 18, issue of “Oklahoma Politics,” the official journal of the Oklahoma Political Science Association.

The paper/article was a joint effort between Schmaltz, Mason and Dr. Tony Wohlers, assistant professor of political science and history at Cameron.

The following is the abstract of the article:

The globalization issue today remains complicated, generating as many questions as it does answers. This transformative phenomenon, however, contains the powerful countervailing trends of socio-economic disintegration and integration, ethnic nationalism and globalization, cultural diversity and homogenization, and the particular and the universal. Such forces are often contradictory in nature, creating economic, political, and cultural convergence and pluralism at the same time.

Burning questions on the status of nation-states and even sub-national political entities in an increasingly interconnected world actually represent nothing new. Serious and thoughtful debates already had emerged as early as the first half of the nineteenth century about the rise of global economic and political trends and their impact on local and national identities. Both classical economists and classical Marxists had set the tone for various profound discussions that still resonate today.

Though the current body of research regarding the globalization process is impressive, it mostly concentrates on countries’ economic, political, and cultural characteristics in response to such trends. Based on both a broader perspective and a comparative approach, this study explores the distinctive sociopolitical and cultural features of the state of Oklahoma, United States, and Bavaria, Germany, in relation to the globalization phenomenon. In the context of their political ideology, constitutional setting, policies, customs, and religion, this paper examines how the conservative underpinnings of these sociopolitical features can be positioned in the debates on globalization trends and political culture.

After introducing the general themes of globalization and political culture, this study describes the methodology and provides a brief background on the states of Oklahoma and Bavaria. The study concludes with an analysis and discussion of the findings.

The authors’ hypothesis holds that these two jurisdictions or states exhibit similar cultural, economic, political and social institutions and practices, which similarly respond to the forces of globalization. In addition, both states’ identities appear to remain resilient even in the face of significant global transformations.

Not least of all, the findings suggest that Oklahoma can perhaps draw valuable lessons from Bavaria’s own unique blending of tradition and change and reconcile them in the form of “progressive conservatism.”