Dynamics of Protest and Electoral Politics in Europe

Co-taught with Swen Hutter


The research practicum focuses on the dynamic and manifold relations between protest and electoral politics in Europe. Although social movements and political parties provide the two most important channels of democratic representation, research in political sociology still tends to neglect these rela-tions. Most importantly, this is due to a strong division of labor between those scholars who study social movement and protest, on the one side, and those who study political parties and elections, on the other. In the first part of the seminar, students will get familiar with some key approaches in both electoral and protest research before reading recently published studies that aim to bridge the two strands of the literature. In the second part, they will conduct their own empirical research on the top-ic. Given that we systematically distinguish between the levels of analysis (micro vs. meso/macro) and the type of political arena (electoral vs. protest) students should bridge at least one of the two boundaries to further advance our understanding of the dynamics of politics in contemporary Euro-pean societies. More specifically, the students can choose whether they will empirically approach the topic by means of a large protest event dataset based on the coding of international news wires or whether they approach it based on the analysis of individual-level surveys featuring questions about involvement in protest, elections, and/or party activities (in particular, the European Social Survey ESS).

In general, the research practicum serves to get students acquainted with conducting original research projects by coming up with their own research design and analyzing secondary material, either on their own or in small groups. Prior knowledge of the topic is not required but an advantage. Knowledge of quantitative data analysis is required given the type of data at hand.

The seminar was held during the winter semester 2018/2019.

The syllabus is available on request.