Latin American Party Systems and Political Protest
Political representation is at the center of my current research. The differences in the quality of representation in Latin America are enormous, and I seek to identify the historical and contemporary determinants of these differences. The consequences of good or bad representation are alo far-reaching. Where parties mirror the preferences of their voters, left-wing populist leaders will find it difficult to rally support, and most grievances will be channeled into the electoral arena. Where the traditional parties have proven unresponsive to their voters, on the other hand, anti-establishment mobilization finds fertile ground, and political conflict is more likely to be expressed in the protest arena.
The Transformation of West European Party Systems
The political space in Western Europe has been transformed by the advent of a new cultural conflict. This conflict is, at heart, one about different conceptions of community, and is the result of two transformations: The emergence of the New Left after 1968 and the division of the right into a traditional and a New Right component. While rooted in social structure, i.e., in class location, education, and gender, structural change has by no means translated mechanically into politics. Rather, the strategies of political actors are central in determining the strength of the new cultural conflict and the degree to which the populist right has benefitted from it. The role of European integration in different party systems and in the discourse of right-wing populist parties also varies. My research in this area is also concerned with the consequences of the polarization of party systems on the evolving quality of representation since the 1970s.
Populist Mobilization Across Space and Time
How much do instances of populist mobilization across space and time have in common? Drawing on my work on right-wing populism in Western Europe and left-wing populism in Latin America, I emphasize the common role of failures of political representation in shaping populist potentials. Beyond this commonality and those related to populist ideas at the elite and mass levels, it is important to reflect upon what we gain and what we lose from sight by focusing on the commonalities between parties based on their populist appeals, when populist parties differ dramatically in terms of the substantive ideologies they adhere to. It is imperative to make research on populism cumulative by building upon prior work on specific contexts and party families.
This project grew out of my participation in Team Populism, a network of scholars from Europe and the Americas to study the causes and consequences of populism: https://populism.byu.edu
How much do instances of populist mobilization across space and time have in common?» Link to Special Issue
This ongoing project studies cleavage structures and party system formation in Latin America and Europe in comparative perspective. For the initial phase, conducted jointly with Daniele Caramani (then University of St. Gallen, now also at the University of Zurich), the project received funding by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2009-2012).» Project_Latin_American_Party_Systems.pdf (PDF, 52.87 Kb)
Project directed jointly with Daniele Caramani at the University of Zurich
My Ph.D. project assessed the ideological basis of right-wing populist parties and explains their varying success across countries by focusing on the strength of existing cleavages and partisan alignments, and on the strategies of the established parties with respect to their right-wing populist challengers. A book based on the Ph.D. was published by Temple University Press in 2010.» More on the book
Project conducted jointly with Marco Steenbergen and Livia Schubiger (University of Zurich) and Manuel Vogt (ETH Zurich)
From 2002 to 2006 I was a member of the project "National Political Change in Borderless Spaces: A Comparative Assessment of the Impact of Globalization on National Party Systems". The project was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the German Research Community.» Read more on the book that emerged from this project
In the project „EU enlargement, cultural diversity and national identity”, financed by the European Commission, and part of the "EU-Consent - Wider Europe, Deeper Integration? Constructing Europe" network, I worked on the mobilization of national political parties against European Integration. A volume edited by Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Dieter Fuchs is in preparation. In a similar vein, I study the mobilization of Euroscepticism by different political parties in Scandinavia, Continental Europe, and Southern Europe.» Catalogue