Nowadays, public contestation and controversy – not a silent permissive consensus – seem to be constant features of the European integration process. As some scholars claim, we can only understand the future direction of European integration 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 empirically grasp and explain the new conflict constellations in an integrated Europe. Following the tradition of political sociology, the seminar considers both structuralist 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?
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: 3-31.
The seminar focuses on the link between social inequalities (most importantly, related to social class, education, and gender) and political mobilization in contemporary European societies. Specifically, the students will get to know two important strands of the literature. First, we will focus on scholarly work related to the structuring effects of social inequalities on political participation. To what extent and why are social inequalities reflected in unequal rates of participation and what modes of participation (ranging from electoral participation via protest to political consumerism) lead to what kind of inequalities? Second, we will move to research in political sociology that focuses on social inequalities as the specific object of political mobilization. Again, we will ask questions about the extent and the conditions under which social issues become the object of mobilization in electoral campaigns and protest events. In both parts, the seminar will examine (a) the long-term trend in the relation between social inequalities and political mobilization in Europe as well as (b) the impact of the most recent financial and economic crisis on social inequalities and politics.
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
In this colloquium, we will critically discuss the ongoing master thesis projects in the research group on political sociology. The discussions will focus on the how-to-do issues related to designing and conducting your own research project. Students should benefit from each other’s feedback and the common challenges and potential solutions faced while doing their research.