Completed Research Projects
These are the projects which have been conducted at CERGU from 1995 up to present day.
The leadership paradox in EU foreign policy
Members: Lisbeth Aggestam
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
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.
Pride and Profit: Semiotic landscaping in Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country
Members: Johan Järlehed
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
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.
Gender and International Negotiations
Members: Daniel Naurin & Karin Aggestam at Lund University
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
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.
Breaking the Myth of Homogeneity: Explaining the Variance in Party Competition Across Eastern Europe
Members: Jan Rovny
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.
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.
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.
A systematic comparative research project on interest group politics in Europe (INTEREURO)
Members: Daniel Naurin, Frida Boräng
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.
Local governance and gender policy implementation in the Western Balkans
Members: Andrea Spehar
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.
Who are the lobbyists? A population study of interest groups in Sweden.
Members: Daniel Naurin, Frida Boräng
The starting point for this project are the theoretical questions about “mobilization of bias”, of density of interest group populations, and interest group specialization. The purpose of the project is to define and study the population of organized interests in Swedish national politics: What does the Swedish interest group population look like today? Who are the lobbyists, i.e. how many interest groups are active, and what characterizes those groups that are active? How does that compare with the days of corporatism? Our most important data collection uses a bottom-up approach, in that the interest groups themselves signal their existence by being active. Our measure of activity is that there is at least one incoming letter in the public government archives during the time periods studied (1977 and 2011). Complementing this bottom-up census we also use a top-down approach, based on the proposals referred for consideration by the government (remisser). When interest groups are identified, the second step in our data collection concerns characterising the interest organisations in the population. The crucial characteristics addressed, relating to the issue of bias, are types of interest being represented (business, social group interests, ideas and values) and access to resources (financial and membership). The project will result in a publicly available database which will be valuable for future research on interest groups.
Cultural Borders of Europe
Project leader: Mats Andrén
Project members: Thomas Lindkvist, Ingmar Söhrman, Katharina Vajta
Funding: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)
Period: 2010-2014 (Network ongoing)
A new, more complex cultural landscape in which cultural borders are increasingly important is evolving in Europe. Given that the continued integration process in the European Union creates endless opportunities for clashes, avoidance, and encroachment of borders, there is a growing need to understand the cultural dimension of their construction and reconstruction.
This project explores the cultural borders of Europe in their relation to the construction of identities and institutions at different levels within Europe, both past and present. It does so through workshops organized around the international network "Cultural Borders of Europe", which gathers around 30 scholars from various European universities, and from the following disciplines: archaeology, history, history of ideas, linguistics, literature, political science, religion, Romance languages, and sociology.
Challenges for future family policies in the Nordic countries
Book project completed in 2013
Project leader: Ulla Björnberg
The objective for the book is to problematize and discuss how changes in the Nordic welfare policies, changes on the labour market and changing family practices affect living conditions in different groups of families. In the book we will address how new challenges can be reconciled with the family policies that have been developed over the years in the Nordic nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The book will cover 5 overall themes, of: Diversities in families and family forms; Nordic children between individualisation and dependence; Child welfare; Caring families ;Flexibility in work-family relations;Gender and power - each theme representing a chapter.
In the book book we intend to raise the question – and provide the answer – to the following questions: Which problems are not sufficiently met? Which rights should be defended? Which priorities tend to undermine previous objectives set up for family life?
Behind the national policy measures in these five countries, different incentives have been assumed to govern family behaviour in certain directions such as promoting female employment, and increasingly also female careers, father involvement in care, gender equality, family formation and fertility, making up the special case of the Nordic countries. The book will present an overview of current family policies and the challenges facing these as well as their successes and shortcomings. While identifying problems and challenges we will look into common as well as divergent trends within the Nordic countries.
The European Court of Justice as a Political Actor and Arena: Analyzing member states’ observations under the preliminary reference procedure.
Members: Daniel Naurin, Per Cramér, Olof Larsson, Sara Lyons, Andreas Moberg, Allison Östlund
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is today one of the world’s most important courts and one the EU:s most important supranational institutions, handling down decisions regarding everything from union rights to insurance policies, affecting the lives of millions of Europeans. This research project focuses on the relationship between the ECJ and the governments of the member states of the EU. By collecting the positions and arguments made by EU governments in the Court in a large dataset containing all preliminary rulings over the period 1997-2008, the project aims to lay the ground for future research on judicial politics in the EU. The data is based on unique documentation on all governments’ observations before the Court, which the research team was able to access from the Swedish foreign ministry archive. Research questions include how the CJEU is affected by the governments’ attempts to influence its decisions, which member states are most active and/or successful at the Court and why, and how pro-Europe the member states and the supranational institutions are when appearing in front of the Court.
The dataset contains such information as the positions of all member state governments and EU institutions (the Commission, the Advocate General, etc.) involved in each case, the nationality of judges and advocates general, the nationality of the judge-rapporteur, the relative pro-/anti-EU-implications of the arguments raised by the governments and institutions, the political-institutional context and much more.
Responsibility in the final stage of the nuclear fuel cycle – a legal perspective
Project leader: Per Cramér
Project period: 2008-2010
Funding: Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co. (SKB)
The aim of the project is to analyse in detail the legal allocation of different types of responsibility for dealing with spent nuclear fuel. Environmental responsibility, responsibility for protection against radiation and responsibility for preventing the spread of radioactive matter with military applications are examples of relevant functional types of responsibility. In addition, it is our intention to clarify the boundaries between responsibility for implementation, operation, financing and monitoring. The analysis will be based on the interaction between interlinked levels of regulation; national Swedish, regional European and global.
Asylum-seeking children’s welfare, health and well-being
Gothenburg Research on Asylum seeking Children in Europe (GRACE)
Project leader: Ulla Björnberg, (Dep. of Sociology), University of Gothenburg
Project team: Marita Eastmond (Dep. of Social Anthropology and Nordic School of Public Health), Lotta Mellander (Pediatrics, Sahlgrenska Akademin), Mirzet Tursunovic (Dep. of Sociology), Live Stretmo (Dep. of Sociology), Helena Holgersson (Dep. of Sociology), Per Cramér (Dep. of Law),
Nordic School for Public Health: Henry Ascher (pediatrics), Lisa Ottosson and Malin Svensson.
University College Södertörn: Hans E. Andersson (Dep. of Political Science)
Project period: 2005-2009
Funding: European Asylum Fund
The project’s general aim was to contribute improved knowledge about what influences asylum-seeking children’s welfare, health and well-being. The focus was on the interactions between local practices as implementations of policies regarding the reception of children primarily in Sweden and subsequently in a number of other European countries. The health and wellbeing of children were analysed both in context of their immediate living conditions such as family, school, local environment and in relation to different levels, through a multi-scientific approach enabling analysis of how general structures influence the actors nationally and locally as well as affecting the children themselves.The following problems were covered: The welfare, health and well-being of children, The rights of children according to national law and local implementations of the laws;-Asylum seeking children in EU-states – comparisons of international and national policies; Trafficking in children – comparative analyses of national policies; Study on hidden refugees and paperless families with children in Goteborg - focus on urban every day life.
Cooperation patterns in the Council of the European Union
Project leaders: Rutger Lindahl and Daniel Naurin
Project period: 2003-2009
Funding: The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and CERGU
The project comprises an analysis of patterns of cooperation between member states in the EU. The analysis is based on two interview surveys (2003 and 2006) with a total of some 400 officials who participate in working groups that are organised within the framework of the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers). An analysis of data collected during the first round of interviews has been published in Lindahl, Rutger & Daniel Naurin (2003) Community, Outsider-Status and Influence in the Council of Ministers. Gothenburg, CERGU Working Paper Series No. 03:02; Lindahl, rutger & Daniel Naurin (2005) ”Sweden: The twin faces of a euro-outsider” in Journal of European Integration, Vol 27, Number 1, pp 65-87; and Naurin, Daniel & Rutger Lindahl (2007) Network Capital and Cooperation Patterns in Committees and Working Groups of the Council of the EU, CERGU Working Paper Series No 07:02.
Swedish opinions about the EU
Project leader: Rutger Lindahl
Project period: 2005–2008
Funding: The Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (Sieps)
The project comprised analysis over time of patterns in Swedish opinion on EU issues. Particular attention is focussed on analysis of long-term trends with regard to Swedes’ subjective perceptions of the effects of Swedish EU membership within different political areas. The analyses also include comparative studies with other countries. Results from the project have been presented in Rutger Lindahl (2006) ”Divided opinions about the EU”, in Sören Holmberg and Lennart Weibull (eds.) “Big New World”. Gothenburg, SOM Institute and in Sören Holmberg & Rutger Lindahl "Increasing Public Support for the EU", Stockholm, Sieps, 2007.
Eastward expansion and the transition to democratic market economies in the Baltic region
Project leaders: Rutger Lindahl, Per Cramér et al
Time period: 1999-2004
Funding: Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation
The research programme comprised the following five sub-projects:
• Consolidation of democracy
• Legislative market regulation and global integration
• Infrastructure and corporate networks: The economic unification of Eastern and Western Europe
• Financial institutions
• Modernity, Identity, Rationality: The transformation of everyday life in Eastern Europe
The aim of the project wass to provide a social scientific elucidation of the transition to market economies in Central and Eastern Europe, with particular focus on the Baltic region. The EU’s eastward expansion has brought a number of economic, political, legal and socially significant issues to the fore. The complex nature of transitional problems demands close collaboration between different social science disciplines. Each of the sub-projects included is freestanding, but they are linked by an overall perception that the ongoing transition process is a necessary condition of the creation of a stable Europe. The research programme includes both analysis of how the ongoing transition process is affecting the individual countries in the eastern and southeastern parts of the Baltic region and an analysis of the consequences for the region as a whole and for Sweden in particular.
Finland, Sweden and the CFSP
Project leader: Rutger Lindahl
Other members: Hanna Ojanen, Helsinki and Gunilla Herolf, Stockholm
Time period: 2001-2005
Funding: The European Commission, the Institute for European Politics, Berlin and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki
Swedish opinion on the EU in a comparative perspective
Project leader: Rutger Lindahl
Time period: 1995-2004
Funding: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Continual monitoring of the development of Swedish opinion in issues involving the EU and other types of European cooperation, along with comparisons with equivalent development trends in other EU member states and in candidate countries. The results are presented regularly in reports from the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg and other publications.
Relations between the Västra Götaland region and the world at large
Project leader: Rutger Lindahl
Other participants: Linda Berg
Time period: 1999-2003
Funding: Västra Götaland region
Based on the new conditions that were created through the formation of the Västra Götaland region, this is an analysis of the region’s, and the constitutive municipalities’, choice of strategy and action with regard to development of international relations.