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Sommersemester 2021

30203 The Politics of Social Inequality (co-taught with Christoph Nguyen)

Tue 4-6 p.m.

The seminar focuses on the link between social inequalities and political mobilization in advanced democracies. Specifically, the students will get to know scholarly work on 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 (e.g., social class, education, gender, race)? Apart from getting to know the scholarly literature on these topics, the students will also get to know the analytical tools needed to study these questions. Using available datasets, students will develop basic skills in quantitative research and use them to explore course-relevant questions. No prior experience with statistical methodology is expected or required. The seminar involves self-studying, short written inputs, interactive sessions for common discussions, and online lab exercises to learn the basics of R (the programming and free statistical software used for the class).

Suggested reading

Dalton, Russel J. (2017). The Participation Gap. Social Status and Political Inequality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

30212 The Rise of the Populist Radical Right

Tue 10 a.m.-12 noon

Many countries in Europe and beyond have seen the emergence and establishment of strong populist radical right movements and parties. Examples range from the French Rassemblement national, the Hungarian Fidesz party, to Trump’s rise to power through the Republican Party. In the seminar, we will engage with three major scholarly explanations for the increasing popularity of these actors and their political implications. The first explanation puts economic factors and social inequalities center stage. The second one interprets the rise of these actors as a backlash against cultural liberalism and diversity. In contrast, the third explanation puts a stronger emphasis on political dynamics within and beyond nation-states. We will engage with these three explanations by reading three monographs over the semester. Thus, the students have to be prepared for a relatively heavy reading load and a mix of self-studying and in-class group discussions.

Suggested reading:

Norris, Pippa and Ronald Ingelhart (2019): Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


30241 MA Colloquium

Mon 4-6 p.m.

We will discuss ongoing master’s thesis projects written in the research group on political sociology in the colloquium. The colloquium will focus on how-to-do issues related to designing and conducting an original research project. Students should benefit from each other’s feedback and from debating common challenges and potential solutions faced while doing their research.