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Winter Term 2023/24

Basis course: Introduction to European Integration [30201]

Tuesday 10 am - 12 pm | Swen Hutter

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.


  • 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.

Graduate course: The politicization of civil society in Europe [30204]

Monday 4 - 6 pm | Swen Hutter

Contemporary societies in Europe and beyond have seen the emergence of new cleavages, often driven by populist radical right challengers and cross-cutting traditional political divides. Importantly, these new cleavages have not only put traditional political parties under pressure but have also resulted in a profound politicization of civil society. The politicization of civil society refers to at least four dynamics: First, we have seen an increasing number of civil society organizations with socio-political objectives compared to leisure activities. Second, traditional civil society organizations (from unions, church-related associations, to sports clubs) have been forced to take sides in controversial political debates. Simultaneously, they have been challenged also within their own ranks by the rise of new political parties and movements. Third, new social movements from the right have successfully mobilized citizens on the streets by articulating nativist and anti-immigration positions. Finally, we have also seen increasing counter-mobilization against the rise of radical right populist forces. The seminar focuses on these four dynamics in civil society in Europe and beyond. The students will engage with theoretical accounts form civil society and social movement studies. Furthermore, they will get to know an ongoing research project on organized civil society and far-right interventions in Germany. The project serves as a starting point to collect cases from different countries depending on the expertise of the students.


Berman, Sheri (1997). Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic, World Politics 49(3): 401–429, DOI: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25054008

Grande, Edgar (2023). Civil Society, Cleavage Structures, and Democracy in Germany, German Politics 32(3): 420-439, DOI: 10.1080/09644008.2022.2120610

Graduate course: Social and political conflict in Europe [30238]

Tuesday 2 - 4 pm | Mirjam Dageförde

In the last decades Europe went through significant shifts – socially and politically. In this seminar, we address how social conflict translates into political conflict. We capture societal foundations of conflict in Europe, refer to differences and similarities of European societies and engage with literature that shows how societal conflict is linked to political conflict. In this seminar, both sides – the societal and the political – are analyzed. In doing so, we refer, for instance, to political parties. The seminar offers a broad and in-depth insight into Europe’s most pressing problems. We identify the most profound changes that Europe has faced by problematizing new lines of conflict, politicization and polarization. Finally, we analyze whether or in what regard the current crises might catalyze political changes and how this can impact on the future of Europe. In doing so, we address different scenarios.