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Pågående forskningsprojekt

Political Party Member Responses to Organizational Change: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty
Members: Jonathan Polk and Ann-Kristin Kölln
Funding: Vetenskapsrådet
Period: 2016-2019

This project studies party members in Sweden and their role in the democratic state in the 21st century in a comparative perspective. Political parties have undergone substantial changes as membership organizations in the last several decades. Despite declining membership in many types of parties, party members continue to form an important yet generally understudied link in the democratic process in Sweden and elsewhere. The project extends and expands upon existing research by connecting newly collected and unique survey data on members of the Riksdag parties to the high quality data that already exists in Sweden for citizens, candidates for office, and the leadership of political parties. In doing so, it will answer important questions on the role of party members for multi-level governance in modern democracies. In particular, the findings will clarify all the steps and relevant groups in the democratic relationship between voters’ demands and policy output.
The party secretaries of the Swedish parliamentary parties have already agreed to participate in a survey of their party members that will reveal detailed information on contemporary party membership. Over a period of four years the project will cover four related work packages: the first studies the representative link of members; the second investigates the output of parties as a consequence of the opportunities and constraints that members provide; the third takes on a comparative perspective and explores possible explanations for similarities in the attitudes and preferences of members belonging to different parties; and the fourth work package pertains to the methodological challenges the study of party members entails. Our project brings contemporary party-level theory to bear on questions of individual membership. It makes important theoretical contributions by testing micro-foundations of political party behavior with much more detailed questions on membership than general public opinion surveys provide. The project also creates new data that allows for meaningful checks of existing sources of information, and puts the information that we will gather on contemporary Swedish party membership in a broader comparative context across industrialized democracies.


The leadership paradox in EU foreign policy
Members: Lisbeth Aggestam
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Period: 2015-2017

The question of leadership is a central issue on the European agenda. At a critical juncture in its existence, the European Union is set to appoint new institutional leaders. These appointments will be seen by many as crucial to the EU being able to handle global challenges and its decline in a changing international order.
This project examines a central paradox at the heart of EU foreign policy. One the one hand, there is a drive to centralize and strengthen institutional leadership in response to the collective action problem and as a reaction to European decline. On the other hand, the European Union is a careful political construction of overlapping governance structures created to avoid the emergence of a powerful leadership.
The aim of this project is to systematically examine this leadership paradox with a focus on three key questions:
1. What leadership role expectations do representatives of EU Member States and EU institutions have of the High Representative and why?
2. How does the EU High Representative conceive of her/his leadership role in EU foreign policy?
3. When, where and how is leadership performed in EU foreign policy?
This project will be the first major study of European leadership post-Lisbon and will contribute to new theoretical and empirical knowledge of a widely recognized, but scarcely studied, problem at the heart of the EU foreign policy.


Gender and International Negotiations
Daniel Naurin & Karin Aggestam at Lund University
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Period: 2015-2017

In 2000, the United Nations adopted Security Council resolution 1325, which underlines the important role of women in negotiations and peace-building. Although women are still underrepresented as negotiators and mediators in the international arena, a gradual increase has occurred in the last decades. Our aim is to investigate this trend, and to study the significance of gender for the processes and outcomes of international negotiations. In recent years, the research on gender in international relations has made significant progress. Still, very few studies apply gender theory to the principal mode of collective decisionmaking at the international level – negotiations.
The project focuses on three broad research questions:                
1) Where – in terms of roles, numbers, tasks, and contexts – are women positioned in international negotiations?
2) To what extent are there masculine and feminine styles of negotiation, and how does that matter for processes and outcomes?
3) How do gender norms and homosocial behaviour affect the opportunities for women acting as negotiators?
To analyse these questions, the proposed project will study two significant and contrasting areas of international negotiation: a) diplomatic mediation in cases of peace negotiations, and b) multilateral negotiations within the European Union. It will rely on a mixed-methods approach, using both statistical and qualitative methods, and both existing and original data.


Pride and profit: Semiotic landscaping in Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country
Members: Johan Järlehed
Funding: VR
Period: 2014-2018

The project is concerned with the interaction of nation-building and cultural commodification, and with how linguistic and cultural expressions thereby acquire new forms and meanings. Based on empirical findings from ongoing research on the cases of Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country, the study is driven by the assumption that one of the principal forces actually influencing the process of minority nation-building is the one of commodification. The shift from a discourse of political rights to a discourse of economic development, and from perceiving language and culture as markers of ethno-linguistic identity to also be seen as commodities is argued to create both challenges and new opportunities for minority languages and cultural communities. The purpose of the project is therefore to examine and compare how these challenges and opportunities are dealt with in the three cases of nation-building.
This will be done via an ethnographic and discourse analytical examination of the semiotic landscape, i.e. the symbolic construction
of the public space through resources like language, typography, color and material in signs (e.g. street-name signs, corporate logotypes, restaurant menus). Through the analysis of three kinds of data - signs, policies, and interviews - the project will inform on how cultural distinctiveness is created in the semiotic landscape of each minority, in what ways it can be said to be commodified, and what this means to different groups of people.


Catch-All or Catch and Release: The Electoral Effects of Ideological Moderation for Mainstream European Political Parties Members: Jonathan Polk
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Period: 2014-2017

In the last three decades, major political parties of the center-left and center-right converged in their positions on left-right politics within many Western European countries. This development speaks to questions in political science research about voter responsiveness to shifts in the positioning of party leadership in multiparty democracies. It has not yet been firmly established that citizens perceive and systematically respond to party shifts, but investigations of social democratic parties have found that moving to the middle often creates temporary increases in electoral support. This same moderation strategy, however, goes on to undermine these parties' long-term electoral success. The innovation of my proposed project is twofold. First, it explores the applicability of a post-moderation electoral surge and decline to all mainstream parties, asking if social democratic parties are particularly prone to this outcome compared to other major parties. Second, the project builds a contemporary dataset that measures what parties promise as well as what they do between election cycles. I will use a variety of quantitative methods to test my research question on a combination of national election studies and Chapel Hill Expert Survey data between 1990 and 2014. The project illustrates that these types of data are crucial to capturing the relationship between shifts in party positioning and voter responses to these changes.


Sidansvarig: CERGU|Sidan uppdaterades: 2018-10-01

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