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Department of Political and Social Sciences

Diana Rafailova awarded 2024 Linz Rokkan Prize

This year's Linz Rokkan Prize for the Best EUI Doctoral Thesis in Political Sociology was awarded to Diana Rafailova during the EUI Degree Conferring Ceremony that took place on 14 June 2024.

17 June 2024 | Award

Diana Rafailova_Linz Rokkan Prize 2024

The 2024 Linz Rokkan Prize has been granted to Diana Rafailova for her thesis, The effects of political regimes on school quality and learning outcomes. Rafailova defended her dissertation on 2 February 2024, under the supervision of Professor Juho Härkönen and the co-supervision of Professor Filip Kostelka.

In their evaluation of the thesis, the committee praised Rafailova's work, explaining how her dissertation on the topic of democracy and autocracy is closely related to Juan Linz’s work. By addressing what impact political regimes have on educational quality, Rafailova proposes an explanation of why previous research on this topic offered puzzling null results, arguing that it is critical to differentiate between subjects that require critical thinking and those that do not.

Rafailova’s thesis constitutes a twofold contribution to the field of political sociology, as it relates to education, a sociological variable, and to political regime, a political variable. The evaluation committee positively remarked on the singularity of the thesis in an understudied domain, especially given how crucial education is in modern societies, whether democracy or autocracy, for determining life outcomes.

The committee concluded its assessment by recognising the significant contribution of Rafailova’s findings, which not only enrich the scientific study but also the normative debate on the benefits of democracy vis-à-vis autocracy for education and thus for the quality of civil society.

Upon reacting to being awarded the Prize, Rafailova shared: "I am delighted with the nomination of my thesis and honoured to receive the Linz Rokkan Prize. I am grateful to my supervisor, Juho Härkönen, and my co-supervisor, Filip Kostelka, for their guidance and support along the way." The awardee also expressed her gratitude to the EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences "from whose researchers and professors I got much inspiration and motivation", she said.

Rafailova further outlines her gratitude in being awarded the Linz Rokkan Prize as "it is very encouraging to receive the prize that honours Juan Linz and Stein Rokkan." Moreover, she situates the significance of her topic of study nowadays as "authoritarianism remains resilient across the globe, and it is important to resist it. Advancing an understanding of political regimes and life under distinct regimes is one way to contribute to this resistance."

The Linz Rokkan Prize was instituted by the EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences in honour of two great post-war political sociologists, the late Stein Rokkan and the late Juan Linz. The Prize is awarded annually for the best EUI thesis in a field of political sociology engaging with a theme in the broadly defined fields of work of Juan Linz and Stein Rokkan. It has been sponsored by Professor Richard Rose, one of the founding fathers of post-war political science in Europe.

Diana Rafailova's thesis is available in Open Access in Cadmus, the EUI's research repository.

Last update: 17 June 2024

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