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Sommersemester 2024

Hauptseminar: The Rise of the Populist Radical Right [30213]

Montag 14:00 - 16:00 Uhr | Swen Hutter

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 four 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.


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

Hauptseminar: Social Movement Studies: An Introduction [30216]

Montag 16:00 - 18:00 Uhr | Swen Hutter

This seminar introduces students to the field of social movement studies. Divided into two parts, we will first explore key concepts and theories such as resource mobilization, political opportunity structures, and framing. These theoretical approaches provide frameworks for analyzing various aspects of social movements, including their emergence, organization, tactics, and impact on society. For this part of the seminar, we will mainly read a textbook, supplemented by some classic articles. In the second part, we will delve into recently published articles from the leading journals in the field, Mobilization and Social Movement Studies. Through discussion and analysis, students will gain insights into current research trends and deepen their understanding of social movements and contentious politics.

Colloquium [30230]

Dienstag 12:00 - 14:00 Uhr | Swen Hutter

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.

Vertiefungsseminar: Advanced Research Design [30218]

Dienstag 10:00 - 12:00 Uhr | Mirjam Dageförde

Advanced Research Design This course trains the analytical and research skills of Master students serving as a preparation or training for crucial aspects of students’ term papers, master thesis or internships at research institutes. These skills are essential for excellent studies, evaluations and also for evaluating expert recommendations or reports in the future career at universities, (international) institutions, research centers, politics, NGOs or elsewhere. The analytical skills that are trained and sharpened in this course serve as an additional – and increasingly required skill – for students and professionals in the social sciences.

The target group of this class are MA Students in their 2nd year, for instance those who are about to register for their master thesis or who are in the process of writing them. The aims of the course are to strengthen students’ analytical skills and to improve their abilities to evaluate a research design. With regard to academic writing, the course enables students to sharpen research questions and hypotheses and to improve methodological approaches for diverging research questions. You should be able to assess the state of the existing literature, identify research questions of interest, formulate strategies to answer them, know the methodological tools with which to conduct the research, and write up the results so that they can contribute to existing knowledge. The class will use examples from social sciences and discuss current research of students, the course will familiarize you with current standards of research in social sciences. Although the course is not in itself a lecture on statistical methods, it also refers to quantitative methods.

Hauptseminar: Citizens and Politics [30217]

Dienstag 16:00 - 18:00 Uhr | Mirjam Dageförde

Political representation is among the most important topics in the analysis of the idea and practice of modern democracy and a constitutive pattern of modern large-scale democracy. In recent years the legitimacy of representative logic has been called into question due to several factors: the erroneous notions of democracy often offered by the media and opinion polls, the idea of power being confiscated by a caste of politicians, further enhanced by processes of European integration, globalization and a rise of populism. Meanwhile, Western democracies face a presumed “crisis of representation”, a loss of confidence in politicians, political parties and institutions which leads to growing gaps between society and the political sphere. Hence, the analysis of the process of representation, approaches to judge about its quality and the identification of defects become more and more relevant for political scientist as well as for practitioners.
Recurring to Pitkin’s famous description of representation as the making present something that is literally absent which occurs if politicians act in the interest of the represented, the schedule of this seminar is as follows: First, we discuss the presumed crisis of representation through investigating indicators for it. Second, we examine the concept of representation and classify the main actors and institutions in this process. Third, the approaches for (a) analysing actor’s behaviour and (b) judging about the quality of representation are discussed. This will lead to an examination of factors that influence actor’s behaviour and elements that might affect the quality of representation. We address furthermore current developments and challenges to representative democracy by analysing the rise of populism, challenger parties and the radical right. Finally, we critically reflect our findings and discuss the future of representative democracy.


  • Dalton, Russell J., David M. Farrell & Ian McAllister 2011: Political Parties and Democratic Linkage. How Parties Organize Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kriesi, Hanspeter, Edgar Grande & Martin Dolezal 2012: Political Conflict in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Norris, Pippa 2011: Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pitkin, Hanna 1967: The concept of representation. Berkley: University of California.
  • Rohrschneider, Robert & Stephen Whitefield 2012: The Strain of Representation: How Parties Represent diverse Voters in Western and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Pres.