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AUFF NOVA grant to AIAS-SHAPE fellow Nicholas Haas to study political ideology in the Global South

Little quantitative knowledge about political ideology across the Global South exists. With a NOVA grant Nicholas Haas will study political ideology in 10 Global South countries to provide theoretical, empirical, methodological and policy-relevant insights on this region.

Nicholas Haas, AIAS-SHAPE Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies and associate professor at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University. Credit: Aarhus University.

It is estimated that about 80% of the World’s population resides in the Global South. Despite this significant proportion, political ideology has been largely neglected in the study of the Global South regions.

AIAS-SHAPE fellow and Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University Nicholas Haas is awarded a NOVA grant from the Aarhus University Research Foundation for his project entitled ‘Political Ideology in the Global South (SOUTHERNIDEOL)’ that will shed light on this understudied area.

The ‘Global South’ is generally understood to include poorer countries and those in alliances of countries historically on the ‘periphery’ of the international system. This covers Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia and Oceania. Such countries are thought to lack the economic, democratic and state development required for ideology-driven politics.

Surveys in 10 countries across the globe

The SOUTHERNIDEOL project will conduct representative online surveys in 10 countries across the Global South: in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The surveys will be designed so they can be used as comparative studies while also facilitating country-specific insights. More specifically, the SOUTHERNIDEOL project aims to answer two questions that are interrelated. First, does political ideology matter in the Global South? Second, what is its structure, and does it differ from the paradigmatic understanding of ideology established in the Global North?

Questioning traditional assumptions

Historically, scholars have argued that Global South countries lack the urban middle class, state capacity and established democratic party systems to promote policy-driven politics. Instead, political behavior in the region has been primarily explained through reference to individuals’ ethnic identities and a quid pro quo exchange of votes for material benefits.

In recent years, however, some scholars have started to question many of the underlying assumptions, as well as the contemporary support, for these traditional explanations. Further, new country-specific evidence, including a study by Nicholas Haas and Rajeshwari Majumdar in India, indicates that ideology may indeed be of substantial import in the Global South. Taken together, these developments make even more troubling the fact that we know so little about political ideology in the region.

The SOUTHERNIDEOL project hypothesizes that a country’s ideology varies according to a country’s information environment, party system and its historical legacies and culture. The 10 surveys seek to validate these hypotheses and will moreover study their effects.

The project title: ‘Political Ideology in the Global South (SOUTHERNIDEOL)’
Amount granted: DKK 597,616
Project period: 01 January 2024 – 31 October 2025

About AUFF NOVA Grant

The aim of AUFF NOVA grant is to stimulate courageous and innovative research projects of high quality. The project must be pioneering in its field and show clear potential for scientific breakthroughs. The hypothesis or problem behind the project may require development of new methods and it may challenge existing paradigms: 


Nicholas Haas, Associate Professor, AIAS-SHAPE Fellow
Email: nick.haas@ps.au.dk

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) &
Department of Political Science
Aarhus University