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Winter Term 2022/23

Lecture: Introduction to European Integration [30201]

Tue 10 a.m.-12 noon | Swen Hutter

Course Description

European integration has had major consequences for European societies, politics, and policy-making. The lecture gives a thorough overview of the history of the integration process and the current state of the European Union (EU). Specifically, the students will get to know the basic institutional features of the EU and the major theoretical approaches used to explain the level and scope of integration. Also, the lecture puts a spotlight on debates over the politicization of Europe, the decline of citizens’ support, and the multiple crises faced by the EU in recent years. The students will advance their understanding of the political and social implications of European integration as an important background for their further studies of contemporary European societies.

Basic Readings

Cini, Michelle and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán (eds.) (2019). European Union Politics. Seventh Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Coman, Ramona, Amandine Crespy and Vivien A. Schmidt (2020). Governance and Politics in the Post-Crisis European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lelieveldt, Herman and Sebastiaan Princen (2015). The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Research seminar: Dynamics of Protest Politics [30231]

Tue 2 to 6 p.m. | Swen Hutter

Course Description

Protests and social movements are a crucial part of contemporary political processes, as illustrated by examples such as the movements of 68, the Monday demonstrations before the fall of the Berlin Wall, or, more recently, Fridays for Future or the anti-containment protests. These cases show the diversity of the action repertoires, the participants, and the goals of social movements that have attracted media attention and shaped politics in recent decades. The research seminar aims to give an overview of the study of protest politics in Western democracies and tackles the following questions: First, from an individual and organizational perspective, what motivates citizens to participate in protests? How can social movements overcome challenges like the collective action problem? How can we measure the strength of protests and social movements? When do actors resort to more radical forms of protest, and with what consequences? Second, referring to the relationship between protest and political dynamics, to what extent and under what conditions do political parties interact with social movements and react to protest? How do particular political or discursive contexts influence social movements and their chances of success? Based on this theoretical input, students will further learn established methods in protest research (such as protest event analysis) and new methodological advances such as using text-as-data, machine learning, and experimental approaches. Alongside the theoretical and methodological introductions, the students will develop and conduct their own research projects on the dynamics of protest politics in contemporary societies, either relying on secondary data analysis or original data collections.

Please note that participants need a good intermediary background in statistical modeling and know either Stata or R. These skills will be tested in the first session of the class.

Basic reading

Della Porta, Donatella and Mario Diani (2020). Social Movements: An Introduction. 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell.

Seminar: Electoral and protest dynamics in Western and Eastern Europe [30203]

Monday 2 to  4 p.m. | Endre Borbáth

Course Description

The seminar focuses on electoral and protest politics from a comparative European perspective. Although the study of elections and protests covers mobilization by the main collective actors of political parties and social movements in the two arenas of direct citizen involvement, research in this field has been characterized by disciplinary silos. Political science focuses on political parties and representation, while the political sociology tradition examines social movements, protest politics and political participation. Few studies examine the manifold interaction between electoral and protest politics, leaving a research gap highlighted by recent developments in party competition in Western and Eastern Europe. Parties such as La République En Marche! in France, Fidesz in Hungary, and Die Linke in Germany invest considerable effort into developing an organic link with protest movements and civil society organizations. The seminar bridges political science and sociological approaches to provide a holistic assessment of electoral and protest mobilization.

The seminar is divided into four parts. The first three parts are distinguished based on the level of analysis, with separate sessions devoted to micro-, macro-, and meso-level approaches. In the first part, we ask, who participates and in what form? In the second part, we ask, what are the main cross-national differences across Europe, and how can we explain them? In the third part, we ask, which are the actors that mobilize in elections/ protests, and on what issues? In the fourth part of the seminar, we focus on the role of crises in altering long-term trends and compare electoral and protest mobilization/ participation in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the so-called Migration, and Corona crises. Next to reviewing theoretical approaches, the seminar introduces students to a set of diverse, mainly quantitative empirical strategies in the study of elections and protests. A background in statistical modelling provides an advantage, but it is not required for attending the seminar.