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
Sophia Hunger on Is There a Populist Zeitgeist? Coming to Grips With an Elusive Phenomenon
Much public debate and media attention in recent years has been dedicated to the threat of a “populist zeitgeist.” This common fear assumes that due to the increased electoral success of populist parties, mainstream parties will mimic these competitors and themselves become increasingly populist. This is generally seen as an undesirable, yet inevitable reality. In her thesis, Sophia Hunger studies the extent to which we are indeed facing a populist zeitgeist in contemporary Europe. She argues that it is crucial to distinguish between populism and its host ideologies, for instance radical left or radical right ideologies, when researching the impact of populist actors. Her findings do not lend any profound support for an encompassing populist zeitgeist... View more