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Department of Political and Social Sciences

SPS theses of the month: March

The Department of Political and Social Sciences is delighted to announce that during the month of March two PhD researchers successfully defended their dissertation.

27 March 2024 | Research


Congratulations to Stein Arne Brekke and Marius Ghincea, from the EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences, for receiving their doctorates in March 2024 after unanimous decisions from the jury.

Stein Arne Brekke defended his this thesis entitled, Speaking Law, Whispering Politics. Mechanisms of Resilience in the Court of Justice of the European Union, on 1 March 2024. As it has been unanimously acknowledged by all members of the committee - Urska Sadl (EUI, co-supervisor), Erik Voeten (Georgetown University) and Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen (Copenhagen) - Brekke's was an excellent thesis, bringing together politics and law in a very fruitful and productive fashion. Brekke's ability to use cutting-edge statistical tools together with his in-depth understanding of EU law have enabled him to delve into important policy questions and provide answers that enlighten the study of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in particular, and international courts in more general. Brekke's thesis demonstrates that despite having placed itself on top of the European legal hierarchy, the CJEU has remained intact from the political backlash that many expected against an EU institution with such potential for influence and power. Brekke unpacks this puzzle by asking what is it about the CJEU that has allowed it to remain in the shadow of political dispute between member states and EU institutions? Brekke sheds light on the CJEU’s mechanisms of resilience, as he calls them, and proposes three such mechanisms: the first looks at how resilience already starts from the entry level, the second mechanism is to speak "law to power", but only when it has to, and the third mechanism is strategic use of deference in cases of expansive interpretations of EU law, as a means of proactively promoting compliance with its decisions.

Read Brekke's thesis in Cadmus.

Marius Ghincea defended his thesis entitled, Manufacturing Consensus. The Domestic Politics of Foreign and Security Policy, on 14 March 2024. Ghincea's thesis jury - Jeffrey Checkel (EUI, supervisor), Stephanie Hofmann (EUI), Elizabeth Saunders (Columbia University), and Wolfgang Wagner (Free University Amsterdam) - was unanimous in praising the dissertation as making important contributions to comparative foreign policy and international relations. Ghincea applies his argument to three cases of change in German foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, where the case studies are a model of a rigorous and transparent application of qualitative methods to a wide array of German primary sources.

Read Ghincea's thesis in Cadmus.

Last update: 02 April 2024

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