POLITOPES

 

            Location shapes politics and the ability to know where to find voters' support proves crucial to a campaign's outcome. Recent research in urban studies suggests there is an increasing polarization of collective political preferences along the city/suburb/country continuum. How individuals' geographic contexts relate to their socio-ethical behaviors is one of the funding inquiries of social sciences. Yet, little scholarship ventures to provide empirically driven answers to this question. The few theoretical models explaining such dynamic appear increasingly fragile as socialization practices, mobility, migrations, identities and values are evolving with new technologies. Likewise, they fail to portray a rationale for those who “go against the grain.” In a world said to be fully globalized, where individuals are connected to one another through social media and constant synchronic exposure to information flows, why are social and political values not flattening out instead of becoming increasingly salient? What model can explain individual political preferences that contrast with those of the group? The notion of Culture Wars epitomizes the idea that there would be a growing feud among people’s ideological profiles. To end the on-going dispute on whether such social schism exists or not in the US, I suggest looking at it through the lens of human geography, recent developments in political sciences and individual data tracking to test those models and to promote new ones. 
 
            This research investigates the constitutive relationship that exists between urbanization, spatial practices, and political profiles by looking at how the mobility, motion and place-making of individuals translate their ideological preferences. Using a Big Data approach and third generation social science methods, I analyze significant patterns from data I collect on study participants' behaviors and preferences. For the methodology, I develop a combination of quantitative and qualitative assessments of individuals using surveys, tracking and GIS. I conduct the study in four consecutive phases during which I produce theoretical, empirical and technical outputs. The overall research design is project-oriented and every phase feeds into the conception and the production of an integrated research mobile application that feeds back in the research methods.

 
Shin Alexandre Koseki