The research interests of the members of the Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) span across comparative politics, international relations, sociology, and social and political theory.
We focus on contemporary phenomena, at the national, sub-national and transnational level, mainly but not exclusively in Europe.
We support an eclectic approach to research projects and doctoral theses, often cutting across traditional academic boundaries. A variety of method courses and workshops on data gathering and analysis are available in the first two years—survey, experimental and ethnographic; quantitative and qualitative—while field-work and data collection normally take place in the second and third year.
Thesis of the month
Carlos J. Gil Hernández on Cracking Meritocracy from the Starting Gate
In his thesis, Gil Hernández answers a key unresolved question in sociological research: Why are social inequalities in schooling so “sticky” over generations? To answer this puzzle, he explores how wealthy families prevent their children falling down the social ladder from early in life. His core argument is that negative traits for skill formation and learning—low birth weight and IQ—exert little or no causal force on well-off children when compared to disadvantaged peers. Upper-class parents follow compensatory strategies—educational investments and aspirations—to reproduce their status in their children, in a rigged social contest ...... View more