Director of the Research area
University of Zurich
Cleavages and Party System Change
My research focuses on party system formation and change, and the role of ideological polarization in fostering the substantive representation of voter preferences. I am also interested in how protest politics interacts with the electoral arena.
In my work on Latin American party systems, I study how historical legacies interact with the competitive strategies of contemporary political parties, producing vast differences in the quality of representation.
Building on my earlier work, I continue to study cleavages in Western Europe. In a collaborative project, we study the role of group identities in the crystallization of the universalism-particularism cleavage, and in the growing antagonism between the New Left and the radical populist right.
Comparative Political Sociology at IPZ
I direct the Research area Political Sociology at the Institute for Political Science (IPZ) at the University of Zurich. My teaching focuses on comparative democratization, party systems and party system change in Latin America and Western Europe, as well as on political protest.
How “Us” and ”Them” Relates to Voting Behavior – Social Structure, Social Identities, and Electoral Choice
Measuring party system responsiveness in contexts where voters have weakly structured belief systems is a challenge. Here is the result of some thought I have put into this over the past years, included in a symposium in European Political Science
Populist Success in Latin America and Western Europe: Ideational and Party-System-Centered Explanations. In K. A. Hawkins, R. E. Carlin, L. Littvay, & C. Rovira Kaltwasser (Eds.), The Ideational Approach to Populism. Concept, Theory, and Analysis
This project used comparative history to analyze two critical junctures that have shaped South American party systems. It then develops a quantitative measurement of party system responsiveness to test the historical predictions and to chart diverging party system trajectories during Latin America’s “Left Turn”.
Social Identities and Social Structure in 21st Century Electoral Politics – How Understandings of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ Translate into Voting Behavior
Joint project by myself, Delia Zollinger, Silja Häusermann, Lukas Haffert and Marco Steenbergen (all UZH) that explores the social identity component of the universalism-particularism cleavage.
“El agua vale más que el oro” (Water is worth more than gold) – Mining and Social Protest in Latin America
Project conducted jointly Manuel Vogt (UCL), Livia Schubiger (Duke) and Marco Steenbergen (University of Zurich)
Bachelor’s-level course in Political Behavior.
Two-term Master’s-level Research Seminar in ‘Democracy, Development, and International Relations’.
Introductory lecture, co-taought with Marco Steenbergen