Bio & CV

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Short Bio:

I am a SNSF Ambizione Grant Holder (Senior Researcher) at the Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Zurich and an incoming Associate Professor of Political Science at the Department of Political ScienceAarhus University. Before joining Zurich, I finished my PhD studies at the University of Leicester graduating with an MA from the University of Bamberg. I was born and raised in a small village close to Tübingen, Germany. I grew up in a political family, my mother was active in the local Social Democratic party while my grandfather was part of his municipality’s council. Already in my teenage years my interest in politics was not only sparked by my closer family being active in local politics but also by trying to understand the fascist past of my country and parts of my own family. This background also drives my research interest today, focusing on questions about political norms and radicalism mainly.

Short Research Overview:

A major goal of me as an academic is to find and answer research questions which are relevant to both the academic as well as the public debate. Currently my major research area seeks to understand how norms change in our societies; this also means that I am returning to questions that sparked my original interest in politics. Norms can be understood as collective representations of acceptable group conduct and individual behavior. They guide our everyday behavior, and how we behave depends hugely on the context in which we are in. For instance, it is a norm that we do not litter in public; but if persons sense that they are unwatched they become more likely to litter in public. Similarly political norms might change due to contexts shifting: The raise of fascist parties during the 1920/30s in Germany and Italy is a prime example for a radical change of political norms.

I study political norms across a wide set of topics and contexts:

  1. In my SNSF Ambizione project I study both the causes and consequences of radical party emergence. Does voters’ perception of what can be said in the public discourse change due to the entrance of radical parties? Do social milieus ease the emergence of radical parties?

  2. One frequently debated solution to foster democratic norms when radical parties emerge is to ban these. I examine how banning political parties and employment bans of radicals affect political norms.

  3. I analyze how socialization processes affect political identities and the construction of political norms. Does military service produce radicals? Or is it the case that more radicals select into the military service?

  4. Violence as well as exclusionary policies against minorities are a central concern also in advanced democracies. In several projects I try to understand under which societal conditions exclusionary practices occur and how historical legacies of exclusion affects us today.

In previous research I studied public opinion formation, party competition, diffusion processes and political protest. My research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, the European Journal of Political Research, and West European Politics amongst others.


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