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Department Seminar: Probationary Doctoral Candidates Presentations from Comparative Politics Track

Department seminar 10 May
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Kata Moravecz

Who cares about democracy?: Exploring the role of EU politicization behind the EU's changing policy on democratic backsliding and the Rule of Law

The European Union does not have the best track record when it comes to dealing with democratic backsliding in its member states. Many scholars of the EU would suggest that part of the union’s inaction is simply explainable by the lack of public accountability on anti-backsliding policies. The logic follows: the EU public in member states either does not know, or simply does not care about democratic backsliding, and therefore European decision-makers have no threat of being held publicly accountable for making backroom deals with backsliders instead of punishing them. Contradictory to this idea, the EU increasingly produced and applied anti-backsliding policy since 2017. I argue that increasing public attention being dedicated to backsliding and the politicization of the matter can explain the changing policy environment. The aim of the project is twofold: first, test important assumptions on the role of information in citizens’ support for the EU’s RoL measures and citizens holding politicians accountable for EU-level trade-offs. As a first project, using a survey experiment in Germany I aim to see if citizens react to information and policy trade-offs in a way that is consistent with the expectations of the EU politicization literature. Second, I apply and revise institutionalist explanations, and see if Eurocrats care about public legitimacy. If both these sides hold, I would like to argue that politicization is a plausible cause for breaking the EU's cycle of inaction on RoL policy. 


Sophie Jaeger

Deepening Dilemmas of Anti-Authoritarian Resistance from Abroad: Conflict and Cooperation among Russian Opposition Actors in Exile Before and After 2022

My research looks at the activities of opposition actors who challenge authoritarian regimes from abroad. With a particular interest in strategies and alliance structures, the project focuses on those who – while operating from a different country – engage in a political struggle against an authoritarian home regime with the ultimate goal to achieve regime change in the country of origin. Looking at the case of Russian opposition actors in exile before and after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the project aims to shed light on the following questions: Which are the strategic choices (dilemmas) exiled opposition actors face? How do these actors grapple with these dilemmas? To what extent do their strategic choices determine their willingness to cooperate with other opposition actors in exile?