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

AdrianDelRio_new1Adrián del Río Rodríguez on Should I Stay, Or Should I Go? On the Determinants of Elite Defections in Electoral Autocracies.

Blatant dictatorships— in the form of monarchy, totalitarian or military rule—have largely disappeared. Nowadays, most authoritarian leaders exploit democratic institutions to cover their tyrannical rule. Yet, why would ruling elites defect when a dictator in electoral autocracies can threaten their lives and offer more rewards? In his thesis, Adrián del Río argues that aligning with the dictatorship offers significant advantages to politicians. However, being part of the ruling coalition can entail two high costs that motivate defection. To test his argument, Adrian develops a novel dataset on the political career of 15,019 legislators and ministers in 12 electoral autocracies. With this data, he employs a variety of quantitative analyses... View more 


Page last updated on 25 June 2020