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Current Research Projects

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.

Local governance and gender policy implementation in the Western Balkans
Members: Andrea Spehar
Funding: SIDA
Period: 2014-2015

This project aims at providing new knowledge towards understanding hindering and enabling mechanisms regarding gender policy implementation in two Western Balkans countries; Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. While gender policies have generally been subsumed under recently enacted international human rights legislation across the Western Balkans region, the policy implementation is slow and inconsistent. More specifically, in this project I will analyze the implementation of two gender policy areas with great relevance for the women´s wellbeing in the region 1) domestic violence, and 2) gender responsive budgeting. These implementation processes will be assessed at the central governmental level and at the local level in twelve selected municipalities.

Members: Andrea Spehar

IMAGINATION is a European research project on the urban implications and local governance of migration from Central and Eastern-European (CEE) countries to other European EU member states. The IMAGINATION project focuses on migration from Central and Eastern-European (CEE) countries. This project raises the question what the consequences are of this type of mobility for urban cohesion and urban policies.
This involves:
1) an identification of types of migration from CEE countries
2) an analysis of social implications of these types of migration for the receiving urban regions and 3) an analysis of governance approaches by local governments in the receiving urban regions to these social implications.
The project is funded under the joint programming initiative Urban Europe. The project is coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam, and includes partners from Sweden, Austria, Turkey, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Breaking the Myth of Homogeneity: Explaining the Variance in Party Competition Across Eastern Europe
Members: Jan Rovny
Funding: VR
Period: 2013-2017

The study of party competition is central to understanding the nature and quality of democracy. Students of eastern European politics consider the communist experience together with the varied paths to democracy as the primary determinants of eastern party competition. Recent empirical evidence, however, uncovers significant variance of party competition across the region. While some systems maintain the expected eastern European competition structure, others reflect a western pattern, highlighting the inadequacy of traditional explanations. This project argues that insufficient attention has been paid to how pre-communist conflicts shape contemporary party competition in the region. Consequently, it sets out to analyze how long-lasting cultural, ethnic and religious conflicts, which survived throughout the communist era, frame political competition in eastern Europe today. To better explain the variance of party competition structure in eastern Europe, the project first assesses conflicts of interwar party systems. It then studies how some of these conflicts survive and are strategically utilized by contemporary political parties. The project combines quantitative and historical-qualitative research methods. By identifying the contemporary impact of lasting political conflicts in different eastern European countries, the project breaks down the myth of homogeneity of the region, providing bases for richer academic research, as well as for more nuanced policy approaches.

A systematic comparative research project on interest group politics in Europe (INTEREURO)
Members: Daniel Naurin, Frida Boräng
Funding: ESF
Period: 2012-2015

INTEREURO is a European Collaborative Research Project funded by the European Science Foundation. Its major purpose is to develop a more comprehensive empirical and theoretical understanding of the role interest groups play in democratic politics in the EU and national political systems. The studies are conducted by research teams from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, in association with a US project financed by the American National Science Foundation. Information about the project can be found on www.intereuro.eu.

The Swedish part of the project focuses on the long-standing question in European integration research about the degree of supranational influence on member states’ preferences and EU decisions. This question is approached in a new way by looking at how member state representatives in Brussels are affected by cross-pressure from different supranational and national policy frames. From quantitative and qualitative document analysis, as well as interviews with representatives for the Commission, policy frames for 20 legislative proposals, and for 8 member countries, are derived. Through interviews with the government representatives in Brussels who were responsible for negotiating the proposals in the Council of the EU the frames active in the minds of these PermReps are compared to the already defined frames at different levels, in order to assess to what extent the PermReps are ‘captured’ by the Brussels environment to adopt frames that are different from those at the domestic level.

Female labour during the early industrialisation of Sweden: construction and reality
Project leader: Ann Ighe
Other members: Inger Jonsson & Fredrik Sandgren at Uppsala University
Funding: Vetenskapsrådet 2010-2012 and Handelsbankernas forskningsstiftelser 2010-2014

The overall aim of the projectis to improve our understanding of the contribution and perception of female labour in Sweden during early industrialisation to economic growth and change.

The early statistics of Sweden are to a great extent focused on life and death. The causes of death, but also the multiple patterns of life, are neatly organised into tables, which can be added and multiplied into one great picture of the countries riches: The population.
My focus within the project is devoted to how the population is perceived and presented as labour, occupations and professions in those early tables and summaries. And especially, I am studiying
a) the construction of gender in the process of organising data and knowledge, and
b) how the actual gender division of labour was visible and made an imprint in the statistics of the people as a labour force.

Different rates and patterns of female labour force participation has been suggested to be an important factor in explaining how changing patterns of consumer behaviour affected the development of the economy of Western Europe. In this context the interaction between family-based households and the emerging market economy from the early modern period is considered crucial. European marriage pattern and its effect on female labour force participation in western and northern Europe is another aspect that has been considered to have a decisive part in economic growth. Women’s work and contribution to the economy can therefore also help to explain regional and national differences in economic growth and change. Studies of the 20th century have stressed the importance of assessing also the contribution of unpaid domestic work to economic growth. This is highly relevant for earlier periods as well.

While actual economic contribution is one thing, social processes of valuation and visibility is another. The way labour is and has been defined and valued is intimately linked to power and gender relations in society.

As a subproject in the bigger project The Inner City as Public Sphere: Sustainable urban development, social order and social movement (Financed by FORMAS 2008-2013) I am working on a comparison between activists and their relations to cultural heritage in the two Scandinavian inner city areas Haga (in Göteborg) and Christiania (in Copenhagen). The project is led by Professor Håkan Thörn and has several other members. The subproject has the working title “Counter cultures as ambivalent agents for heritage”.


Page Manager: Birgitta Jännebring|Last update: 8/17/2016

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