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Department of Political and Social Sciences

SPS alumnus Vicente Valentim wins Jean Blondel Thesis Prize

Vicente Valentim, alumnus of the EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences, has received the 2022 Jean Blondel PhD Prize of the European Consortium for Political Research for the best thesis in politics.

14 March 2023 | Award

Since October 2003, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) honours the best thesis in politics with the annual Jean Blondel PhD Prize, broadly conceived to include international relations, political theory, and public administration.

Vicente Valentim, alumnus of the Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS), received the 2022 award for his thesis Social Norms and Stigmatised Political Behavior, in which he investigates whether and how norms are related to political change. Valentim takes norms related to two major stigmas in advanced democracies – radical-right ideology and behaviour associated with previous authoritarian regimes – as his point of departure. He uses original measures and sources of data to address questions such as: What are the mechanisms by which these norms change? What behaviour attests to a change in preferences, and what speaks to a change in social norms? Can norm-breaching political actors normalise behaviour? Do they?

In showing how norms can change and can make individuals become more willing to engage in previously stigmatised behaviour, Valentim pushes our understanding of how attitudes and behaviour are conditional on perceptions of what others think is appropriate.

The Chair of SPS at the time, Professor Ellen Immergut, nominated Valentim's thesis for this award, with the support of his thesis supervisor, Professor Elias Dinas.

The jury for the prize praised the work's innovation and methodological rigour. "Vicente uses a variety of empirical approaches and complements his quantitative tests with qualitative analysis. He collects original datasets to investigate the process in which previously stigmatised expressions are, in time, normalised."

The award is named after Jean Blondel (1929–2022), an Emeritus Professor at the European University Institute and Visiting Professor at the University of Siena. A founding member of the ECPR, which he directed in 1970–1980, Blondel is particularly noted for his contributions to the theory of party systems, the comparative study of cabinets, and the relations between parties and governments.

To mark the award, the ECPR produced a short video featuring the winner, along with Professor Immergut and the jury chair, Professor Hana Kubátová (Charles University). This recognition from the ECPR joins two other awards Valentim has received for his PhD research, the 2022 GESIS Klingemann Prize and the EUI’s Linz-Rokkan Prize for best thesis in political sociology.

Vicente Valentim is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Last update: 14 March 2023

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