Born in 1946, Yılmaz Esmer studied his BA degree in Political Science (cum laude) at Yale University where he graduated in 1968. In 1975, he completed his M.A degree and then, in 1977 Ph.D in sociology at Stanford University.
After his return to Turkey, he worked as an Assisstant Professor at Boğaziçi University during 1977-1981. Then, he had been at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor during 1981-1982. After that, he worked as an Associate Professor at Boğaziçi University during 1983-1989 and as a Professor during 1989-2007. Also, he was the Fulbright Scholar at Survey Research Center at the Insitute for Social Research at University of Michigan. Currently he is a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bahçeşehir University since 2007.
Yılmaz was an Executive Committee member at the Institute for Pure and Applied Research in Social and Administrative Sciences at Boğaziçi University during 1979-1981, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Boğaziçi University during 1983-1984 and Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Boğaziçi University during 1984-1990. Also, he became director of the Institute for Social Sciences and director of the Summer School at Boğaziçi University during 1992-1994. Additionally, he was the member of Academic Senate member during that time. He was the Founding Director General at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) which is an independent think tank and policy research institute during 1994-1996. He was the provost at Bogazici University during 1996-1998 and he was the Executive Committee member at Boğaziçi University during 2000-2007. Also, he was the Founding Director at UNDP/BU Human Development Center during 2002-2007. He became the President of Bahçeşehir University in 2010 until 2011. Since 2014, he is the Coordinator at Political Science and International Relations PhD Program.
Since 1997, he is the Scientific Advisory Board Member and Country Coordinator at European Social Survey project. In addition to this, he is the Principal Investigator for Turkey at European Values Studies coordinated by the European Values Foundation since 1999. He was the coordinator at UNDP Human Development Report, Turkey during 2004-2005. Since 2004, he is the Editorial Board Member at Journal of Civil Society and Advisory Board Member at World Cultures Report. Yılmaz was the Advisory Board member at Prince Claus Fund, Committee on Culture and Development in Netherlands during 2004-2007. Besides, he was the EU 6th Framework Network of Excellence partner at Wider Europe, Deeper
Integration? Constructing Europe during 2004-2009, at Sustainable Development in a Diverse World during 2004-2012 and he was the EU 7th Framework Collaborative Project partner at Sensitive Technologies and European Public Ethics during 2008-2012. Since 2013, he is the Vice Chair, Scientific Advisory Board at the World Walues Surveys. Also, he was the Research Associate at Stellenbosch University in S. Africa during 2015-2017.
Yılmaz Esmer’s partial list of field experiences as a Principal or Co-investigator includes Turkish Values Survey which is the part of World Values Surveys in 1990,1996,2000,2007,2011 and 2016, Turkish Values Survey (part of the European Values Survey) in 2001, Turkish post-election survey including the international CSES module in 2002, survey of the values of the economic elites in 2003, European Social Survey, Round 2 during 2005-2006, Transformation Research Initiative (study of elite values in seven countries) in 2007, European Values Study (Turkey) and European Social Survey, Round 4 (Turkey) in 2008, Extremism and Radicalization in Turkey : a nationwide survey in 2009, Comparative Study of Members of Parliament during 2013-2015. Also, he is the consultant/advisor to various academic surveys and public opinion research projects since 1977.
Furthermore, Yılmaz Esmer’s selected publications are ‘‘European Values and Democratic Development: Achieving Unity within Diversity’’ in Melbourn, Anders, ed., Development, Security and Conflict Prevention : Security as a Milennium Goal (Anna Lindh Programme on Conflict Prevention). Hedemona, Sweden: Gidluns. 105-120 in 2005, ‘‘Turkey: Torn Between Two Civilizations.’’ in Harrison, Lawrence E. and Peter L. Berger, eds., Developing Cultures: Case Studies, New York and London: Routledge. 217-234. in 2006, Comparative Sociology, Vol. 5, no. 2-3, Guest Editor (with Thorleif Pettersson) in 2006, ‘‘Globalization, ‘McDonaldization’ and Values: Quo Vadis?’’ Comparative Sociology, Vol. 5, no. 2-3: 183-202. in 2006, Measuring and Mapping Cultures: 25 Years of Comparative Value Surveys. (co-edited with Thorleif Pettersson). Leiden and Boston: Brill. in 2007, ‘‘The effects of religion and religiosity on voting behavior.’’ (with Thorleif Pettersson) in Klingemann, Hans-Dieter and Russell Dalton, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 481-503. in 2007, Changing Values, Persisting Cultures: Case Studies in Value Change (co-edited with Thorleif Pettersson). Leiden and Boston: Brill. in 2008, Religion, Democratic Values and Political Conflict (co-edited with Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Bi Puranen). Uppsala : Upssala University Press. in 2009, ‘‘Fitting Islam into the European Union: The Impact of Secular Education’’ in Esmer, Klingemann and Puranen,
eds., Religion, Democratic Values and Political Conflict. Uppsala: Uppsala University Press. 2009. 45-60. in 2009, The International System, Democracy and Values (co-edited with Thorleif Pettersson). Uppsala, Uppsala University Press. in 2009, ‘‘Diversity and Tolerance: Rhetoric versus Reality’’ in Janssens, Maddy, et al., eds., The Sustainability of Cultural Diversity: Nations, Cities and Organizations. Cheltenhaum, U.K. and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar. 131-155. in 2010, ‘‘Elite and Mass Values: Religion as an Intervening Factor’’ in Van Beek, Ursula J., ed., Democracy under Scrutiny: Elites, Citizens, Cultures. Opladen and Farmingron Hills, MI, USA: Barbara Budrich Publishers. 221-240. in 2010, ‘‘The 2010 Eurobarometer on the Life Sciences.’’ (with Gaskell, George; Allansdotter, Agnes; Allum, Nick, et. al. Nature Biotechnology, 29(2),113-114. in 2011, Kültürel Değişimin Sınırları: Türkiye Değerler Atlası 2012. İstanbul: Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi Yayınları. (Cultural Limits to Change: Atlas of Turkish Values). in 2012, ‘‘Democracy, Civil Society and Islam’’ in Dekker, Paul, Loek Halman and Joep de Hart, eds. Religion and Civil Society in Europe. Springer. in 2013, Türkiye’de Siyaset Bilimine Yön Verenler : Kuram, Yöntem ve Süreçler, İstanbul: Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi Yayınları. in 2015, ‘‘Economic Crisis and Political Polarization : A Challenge to Civic Culture?’’ Taiwan Journal of Democracy, vol. 11, no 1, 129-146 in 2015. Since 1977, he has numerous lectures, conference papers, newspaper and magazine articles, workshop and seminar contributions.
Yılmaz Esmer’s areas of interest are comparative study of values; cross-cultural research; cultural diversity, convergence/divergence of values; elite mass values; religion and politics. Additionally, he is interested in methodology of social sciences ; quantitative applications in social sciences; survey methods (sampling of human populations, questionnaire design, analysis of data). Other areas which he is interested in are human development, social change and modernization; democratization; Islam and democracy/modernization, cultural perspectives on European integration and corporate culture.