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Summer Term 2020

30202  The Politics of Social Inequalities

Mon 16-18

Course description

The seminar focuses on the link between social inequalities (most importantly, in terms of social class, education, and gender) and political mobilization in contemporary European societies. Specifically, the students will get to know scholarly work on long-term trends in social inequalities, perceptions of inequalities and their structuring effects on political participation. To what extent and why are social inequalities perceived as unfair? To what extent and why are they ‘translated’ into unequal rates of participation and what modes of participation (ranging from electoral participation via protest to political consumerism) are related to what kind of inequalities? Apart from discussing the relevant literature, the students will also get to know the analytical tools needed to study these questions. Using available datasets, students will be able to develop basic quantitative research skills and use them to explore course-relevant questions. No prior experience with statistical methodology is expected or required.


Armingeon K. & Schädel L. (2015). Social Inequality in Political Participation: The Dark Sides of Individualisation. West European Politics 38(1): 1–27.

Lijphart A. (1997). Unequal Participation: Democracy’s Unresolved Dilemma. American Political Science Review 91(1): 1–14.

Oesch D. (2008b). The Changing Shape of Class Voting. European Societies 10(3): 329–355

30208 Politicizing European Integration: From Latent Potentials to Manifest Conflicts

Fri 10-12

Course description

Nowadays, public controversy – not a silent permissive consensus – seem to be constant features of European integration. As some scholars claim, we can only understand the future of Europe if we consider societal divisions and political conflict in our theoretical models. The seminar takes stock of these changes by focusing on the emerging dynamics and structure of conflicts over Europe. The students will get to know key concepts and theories used to explain the new conflict constellations in an integrated Europe. Following the tradition of political sociology, the seminar considers both structural and strategic theories of political conflict. That is, the seminar will familiarize students with research (a) on the emerging potentials and divisions in European societies, as well as (b) on how these potentials are mobilized and articulated by collective political actors in different arenas (ranging from national and European elections via protest politics to referendums on EU matters). We will search for answers to questions such as: Which social groups support or oppose European integration? How prominently do European issues figure in national election campaigns, and are they articulated in protest events? Do attitudes toward Europe make a difference when people cast a vote or decide to get politically active by other means? And who is mobilized by whom? Finally, we will also take a look at the impact of the current Corona crisis on conflicts over European integration.


de Vries, Catherine (2018). Euroscepticism and the future of European Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hooghe, Liesbet and Gary Marks (2009). ‘A postfunctionalist theory of European integration: From permissive consensus to constraining dissensus.’ British Journal of Political Science 39(1): 1-23.

Swen Hutter, Edgar Grande, and Hanspeter Kriesi (eds.). Politicising Europe: Integration and mass politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

30225 Master’s colloquium

Fri 14-16

In this colloquium, we will critically discuss the ongoing master thesis projects which are written in the research group on political sociology. The discussions will focus on the how-to-do issues related to designing and conducting a research project. Students should benefit from each other’s feedback and the discussion of common challenges and potential solutions faced while doing their research.