The project answers to what extent, under what conditions, and with what consequences do parties sponsor protest events? With its focus on ‘party protests’, the project challenges analytical attributions of collective actors to specific sites of mobilization (i.e., social movements to the protest arena versus political parties to the electoral arena).
Studying parties’ decisions to protest advances our understanding of the coupling and operational logics of different arenas, and it bridges the gap between social movement studies and research on elections and party competition. The research design combines (i) a large-N study of party protests in 30 countries with (ii) case studies of selected moments of intense party-movement interactions. The case studies focusing on parties from the left and right will be used to better detect and measure the mechanisms behind significant relationships in the large-N study.
What are the driving forces and consequences of the politicization of immigration issues in European democracies? Immigration has been one of the key issues responsible for the emergence of a new “demarcation-integration” cleavage in Western Europe. While there is evidence that the radical populist right has been a driving force of this transformation, the political strategies, mechanisms and dynamics of this re-structuring of political conflict are still not sufficiently explored.
By using the concept of politicization, the project aims at exploring the parties, party strategies and party constellations responsible for a politicization of immigration issues across political arenas. Moreover, the project will analyze the link between politicization and immigration policies systematically. Does politicization necessarily lead to more restrictive immigration policies? Or can we identify party constellations and electoral strategies which allow liberal immigration policies without fueling radical populist mobilization?
The latest crises in Europe—the Euro crisis and the migration crisis—have both led to massive domestic political conflict and mobilization. From a cleavage perspective, it is important that the various contested issues, such as European integration and immigration, have not been articulated in isolation. By contrast, political actors have linked them to one another and often to a broader—usually populist—criticism of representative democracy. The project takes such issue linkages as its starting point and asks the following questions: How do challengers link issues? What are the consequences of different types of issue linkages for politicization in public debates and for the capacity to mobilize support?
The research design combines (i) a comparative study of contentious episodes with (ii) focused experimental surveys. The former develops tools to measure issue linkages and their effects on public debates, the latter allow to link the supply of issue linkages with individual-level responses.
The main aim of the project is to implement an interactive observatory on political conflict in Europe in both the electoral and the protest arena. This project is jointly conducted by the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute (EUI) and the Center for Civil Society Research by the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and Freie Universität Berlin. It is coordinated by Edgar Grande, Swen Hutter, and Hanspeter Kriesi.
The objective is to provide the scientific and non-scientific community with continuously updated data on the main issues and actors structuring electoral and protest politics in Europe. More importantly, the observatory will host original mass media data on election campaigns in 15 European countries and on protest events in 30 European countries. Both datasets are based on earlier large-scale projects of the coordinators of the data portal (in particular, the DFG & SNF-funded project ‘Political Change in a Globalizing World’ and the ERC-funded project ‘Political Conflict in Europe in the Shadow of the Great Recession’ POLCON).
For further information on ongoing projects see also Center for Civil Society Research.