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Examensceremonin hålls under högtidliga former i universitetets vackra aula.
Examensceremonin hålls under högtidliga former i universitetets vackra aula.
Foto: Karin Andersson
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Årlig examensceremoni med uppsatspris

I oktober varje år anordnar Centrum för Europastudier en högtidlig examensceremoni med inbjudna talare, diplomutdelning och musikframföranden för alla studenter som avslutat sina utbildningar. Under ceremonin delas två uppsatspriser ut: The Rutger Lindahl Award for Best Master Thesis in European Studies, samt Henrik och Karolina von Mentzers uppsatspris inom Europastudier.

Uppsatsens titel: A transnational cleavage across the Bosporus? The Role of Globalizing Forces in Turkish Politics 

Juryns motivering på engelska: 

In this thesis, the author tests theory on transnational cleavage caused by globalization, which has been tested and developed mainly in a European context, on a new case: Turkey, thus capturing an interesting research interest in the Turkish case, while at the same time the even more interesting underlying critical question: is transnational cleavage theory a European thing – or not?

Two hypotheses are formulated and tested against data from the Global Party Survey Database and the Manifesto Project. As the hypotheses are only partially confirmed, the analysis engages in discussion on the possible reasons for this as well as identifies avenues for further research based on the results.

The thesis addresses a new, highly interesting case to test established theory on. It yields interesting results in that the case partly follows predictions from theory, and partly displays results that are almost diametrically opposed to predictions. This is all well described, and discussed by the author in an extremely well written masters-thesis.

Edgar Kinnier and Rutger Lindahl
Edgar “Gray” Kinnier till vänster samt Rutger Lindahl.

Uppsatsens titel: EU-migration as a Distant Root of Brexit? The Synthetic Control Method Applied to Euroscepticism in the UK

Juryns motivering på engelska: 

"In his thesis, the author conceptualizes EU migration as an underlying reason for British Euroscepticism, which is a very timely and relevant subject. The thesis empirically tests the effect of the EU-8 migration inflow to the UK following the Eastern Enlargement in 2004 on public support for European integration in the British electorate by applying an innovative method specifically designed for small-N comparative case studies – the synthetic control approach. With a theoretically well-grounded foundation, the innovative analytical and methodological approach offers a valuable contribution to two research fields. Firstly, by expanding accounts on Euroscepticism with theoretical arguments on public responsiveness, it explores the effect of an outcome of a concrete policy decision on public support for European integration. It thereby provides a new framework for understanding Brexit by explaining the magnitude and persistence of Eurosceptic views in the British public. Secondly, the thesis contribute more broadly to the methodological discussion in the research field of public responsiveness. By the contra-factual synthetic control approach, the thesis presents a way forward for statistically identifying public responsiveness."

Daniel Bichler till höger. Bredvid står Rutger Lindahl.
Daniel Bichler till höger. Bredvid står Rutger Lindahl.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: The European Union and China in the Economic Security Challenge

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The MAES-thesis The European Union and China in the Economic Security Challenge by Lucie Buttkus, is proposed for The Rutger Lindahl Award 2018. Lucie’s thesis examines the EU-China trade relationship from the theoretical perspective of realism, with an emphasis on the importance of anarchy and trust for this strategic partnership. Trade is an area of European integration that has historically been difficult empirical terrain for realist theory, but Lucie’s thesis makes a careful and compelling case for its usefulness in understanding the dynamics of the EU and China’s blend of cooperation and competition in the realm of trade over the first two decades of the 21st century. The thesis therefore stands out for its innovative and productive application of a theoretical framework developed and most often tested in security studies within the context of EU trade policy. Lucie uses a game theoretical framework to generate testable hypotheses, which she then examines via qualitative process tracing of documents recorded within the World Trade Organization. The resulting thesis is outstanding in the quality of its social scientific research and directly addresses the strategic relationship between two large economic powers that will be of increasing relevance in the future. It is an ideal combination of theoretical and methodological rigor and policy-relevant research."

Lucie Buttkus i mitten. Till vänster om henne Linda Berg och till höger Rutger Lindahl.
Lucie Buttkus i mitten. Till vänster om henne Linda Berg och till höger Rutger Lindahl.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: Sustainable Capitalism in the Making? The Marshallian Citizenship Conceptualisation Expanded in a European Circular Economy

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"This thesis sets out to develop T.H. Marshall’s legendary theorization on the civil, political and social citizenships by adding the concept of a circular economy as a special criterion. The theoretical discussion is thorough and seizes the major positions in the scholarly debate. Introducing circular economy from varying perspectives, and its connection to civil rights, the thesis conveys well-thought arguments for integrating the concept of circular economy with the Marshallian citizenship theorization, rather than suggesting a development of a new citizenship theory. The theory development results in an analytical framework which is applied to the circular economy policy documents stemming from the European Commission, and member states of the EU. The analysis of the empirical data shows the relevance of the framework and furthers the theory development by adding phenomena – such as geopolitics – to the Marshallian citizenship theorization. In this sense, empirical analysis and theory development are conducted and interrelated in an exemplary manner. Overall this is overall a solid work that reaches a high scholarly standard. The thesis convincingly presents significant and independent scholarly contribution to the theoretical development of the conceptualization of citizenship. The theory-grounded analytical framework as well as the application on European policy documents for the promotion of circular economy is of great relevance for the field of European Studies as well as for research that focus on sustainability, climate change or climate change mitigation. The thesis is well structured, eloquently written, and gives evidence of a transparent and self-critical attitude."

Louise Warenius till vänster i bild. Till höger Linda Berg.
Louise Warenius till vänster i bild. Till höger Linda Berg.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Titel på uppsatsen: Not Indicted, and Yet They Do Care - Why EU Governments file Observations to Cases before the ECJ

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"This thesis addresses a blank spot in the research on legal integration in Europe, namely the role of member state governments in the preliminary reference procedure of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). Dederke argues that while previous research has found that governments’ participation matter to the decisions of the CJEU, there is large variation in the willingness of governments to participate in the procedure. The research question he addresses therefore is how to explain when and why governments decide to participate and contribute to the development of EU case law. In order to generate hypotheses Dederke fruitfully turns to the American judicial politics literature. Furthermore, he finds an ingenious way of solving the tricky question of operationalizing ‘political preferences’, by combing two datasets on decision making in the Council and the CJEU. He finds that political preferences and legal considerations both contribute to the decision to participate in the court procedures. His research contributes to important normative questions regarding the role of non-majoritarian institutions in European integration. The quality of his work is indicated also by the fact that the thesis was selected for, and presented at, the most important political science conference in Europe, the ECPR General Conference in Prague, 8-10 September 2016, and that it has contributed to give him a position as a PhD student at the most prestigious university in Switzerland (ETH)."

Julian Dederke i mitten. Till vänster om honom Rutger Lindahl och till höger i bild Lina Berg.
Julian Dederke i mitten. Till vänster om honom Rutger Lindahl och till höger i bild Lina Berg.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: Reconsidering the EU's 'democratic deficit' - A Deliberative Perspective

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The thesis is an original, theory-driven reconsideration of the long-lasting question on whether and how the EU suffers from a ‘democratic deficit’. It is argued that the EU should be treated as an entity sui generis, and that the democracy deficit question should be explored accordingly. Inspired by the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas the thesis sets out from a deliberative democracy theory perspective, and develops an innovative analytical framework based on the normative cornerstones of deliberative theory. Operationalized as ten minimal necessary conditions for a deliberative democratic political system, the analytical framework is then applied to the economic governance structure of the EU that evolved in the course of the Eurozone crisis. It is concluded that these demanding criteria are not satisfactorily met by the EU, since only two of ten conditions are fulfilled, and thus, that the EU suffers from a ‘deliberative deficit’. The distinguishing strength of the work lies in its theoretical import. While Christina profoundly grounds her work in previous research, she convincingly presents highly original, dedicated, and independent theorization of the political system of the EU, and its democratic potentials and deficiencies. Consequently, her work represents a significant scholarly contribution to the research of the democracy deficit in the EU."

Christina Schmahl till vänster. Till höger om henne Linda Berg.
Christina Schmahl till vänster. Till höger om henne Linda Berg.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: A Political Bellwether? The European Commission’s Interaction with the Court of Justice of the European Union under the Preliminary Ruling Procedure

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The thesis examines the role of the Commission in the legal order of the European Union (EU), and is of clear relevance to European Studies by deepening our understanding of two pivotal EU institutions. Focusing particularly on the EU’s migration and asylum policy, the thesis combines relevance for European studies with policy questions that are of great political and social importance for Europe today. The author interrogates the ‘political bellwether’ understanding of the Commission’s interaction with the Court of Justice in the preliminary ruling procedure by asking if the Commission’s written observations are best understood as an indicator of political acceptability among the member states, or as developing EU law, and if the process of arriving at the Commission’s position in a preliminary ruling is driven primarily by political or legal considerations. The author tests the arguments with an innovative and original qualitative research design focusing on three cases from EU migration and asylum policy, “most likely” cases for when we would expect to see the Commission’s position act as a proxy for what is acceptable to the member states. The author conducted five semi-structured interviews with civil servants working in the Commission to generate original and informative data for analysis. The results support the author’s theoretical argument that the Commission does not act as a political bellwether in the preliminary ruling procedure, and the author integrates these findings with broader theoretical discussions in contemporary research on the political-legal aspects of European integration. This new primary research is well structured, eloquently written, and casts light on what would have been a more opaque political process between the Commission and the Court without this thesis."

Maj Gustafsson i mitten. Till vänster står Linda Berg och till höger Rutger Lindahl.
Maj Gustafsson i mitten. Till vänster står Linda Berg och till höger Rutger Lindahl.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: Regulatory reform on the European gas market Does it make a difference

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The infrastructure for distribution of natural gas in Europe gives returns to scale; therefore it could be argued that the gas market could have a tendency to develop into a natural monopoly. A privately managed private monopoly could be expected to have negative welfare effects due to high prices and low quality. Anticipating these potential negative welfare effects, during the last two decades regulatory measures has been employed by the EU to increase competition. Unbundling of energy companies stands out as one of the most important. This thesis analyses whether there is a causal relation between EU’s unbundling reforms and the price levels of gas. The thesis contributes an original combination of the economic theories of price mechanisms, with the concept of natural monopolies. Drawing on this theorization, it gives a well-written account of previous studies, which is especially meriting since it bring together otherwise separated research on prices of electricity and natural gas in Europe and the world. Empirically the thesis builds on a panel data model, based on fixed effects regressions, deploying Eurostat statistics. This model is sophisticated, and the author shows awareness of the model’s limitations. The result of the analysis resembles previous research, namely that there is no significant effect of the unbundling reforms on the prices. The only independent variable that has effects on the price of gas is the oil price. This leads to the conclusion that the natural gas market, until now, has been too dependent on the larger oil market to constitute a natural monopoly. Bringing together previously separate research, contributing original theorization and operationalization, deploying a very suitable and advanced statistical method on new large-N data, presenting a stringent very readable text which give evidence of a transparent and self-critical intellectual attitude, this thesis is a substantial academic input to the research on EU reforms for promoting competitiveness."

 

Hans-William Ressel.
Hans-William Ressel.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Uppsatsens titel: For Better or for Worse? Happiness among unemployed in 19 European countries - The effect of the economic crisis of 2008

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"This thesis studies the effect of unemployment on individual well-being, assessing how this effect is moderated by economic crises. The thesis finds that the economic crisis, with its rising unemployment rates, reduces the negative effect of unemployment on individual happiness/life-satisfaction. Maria argues that rising unemployment rates in Europe lead to a ‘normalization’ of unemployment, thus reducing the social stigma of joblessness. While this topic is obviously highly relevant in contemporary Europe, the thesis uses its timeliness to a striking methodological advantage. The thesis is outstanding in its use of the economic crisis in Europe as a “natural experiment”, studying individual attitudes before and during the onset of the crisis. The analysis is based on large-N quantitative methods, and applies sophisticated multi-level modelling techniques, which are very appropriate for the given data structure and research question. The distinguishing strength of the work, however, lies in its theoretical import. While Maria profoundly grounds her work in previous research, she convincingly presents an unexpected theoretical argument -- namely that increased levels of unemployment may in fact improve individual life-satisfaction. Consequently, her work represents a significant scholarly contribution to the research of the social and individual consequences of economic crisis and unemployment."

Maria Forslund till höger var den första student att ta emot priset. Bredvid henne till vänster i bild står Rutger Lindahl.
Maria Forslund till höger var den första student att ta emot priset. Bredvid henne till vänster i bild står Rutger Lindahl.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Kandidatuppsats: Gustav Sjölund

Uppsatsens titel: Europeiska kommissionen: ihärdig eller anpassningsbar? Jämförande textanalys av Kommissionens ställningstaganden angående differentierad integration 

Juryns motivering på engelska:

This thesis traces neofunctionalist vs. intergovernmentalist stances in the Commission’s White Books over time, finding that although unified EU legislation should overall promote European integration, the Commission is instead trailing a contemporary development towards differentiated integration. This is explained by intergovernmentalism, pursuant to which sensitivity to participating Member State preferences is (increasingly) prioritized over EU-wide legislative integration. 

Sjölund’s findings have important implications. First of all, insofar as it allows differentiated integration, intergovernmentalism as here operationalized risks furthering social or other exclusion/seclusion of certain Member States. Secondly, those opting in will operate without the democratic safeguards built into the ordinary legislative process whereas those opting out of the cooperation will not be able to exercise influence at all. Taking into account the pertinence these political and procedural stakes, as well as its originality, integrity and rigor, it is without hesitation that this thesis should be awarded the Henrik and Karolina von Mentzer award. 

 

Masteruppsats: Kajsa Blomqvist

Uppsatsens titel: From traditionalism and morality to defenders and antagonists of gender equality: The Framing of Gender over time by the Sweden Democrats

 

Juryns motivering på engelska:

 

In this thesis, in order to analyze the framing of gender among the radical right parties, the case of the Sweden Democrats is selected as a critical case. The material upon which the thorough investigation has been made includes a comprehensive analysis of official party literature over the past twenty-nine years, since the party’s inauguration in 1989. The author is hereby able to analyze change in party rhetoric over time, which is of interest in view of increasing voter support. The material has been diligently studied with particular reference to the framing of the nature of gender and framing of gender equality.

The author identifies key and relevant framing strategies used by radical right parties such as diagnostic framing (identifying problems), prognostic (providing solutions e.g. through policy) and motivational framing (appeal for electorate support). In so doing, the author contributes to previous scholarship, and to our understanding of ways in which the rhetoric of the radical right has change over time (from the party’s establishment, entering parliament and increasing voter support).The findings are illuminating and placed within the broader trend of radical right parties in Western Europe, where radical right parties have adopted more liberal values to increasing voter support and less focus on returning to traditional values on gender, morality, and sexuality. However, the study also shows how the framing of gender equality is increasingly linked to ethnic nationalism and its anti-immigrant framing and the so called ‘Muslim threat’ and ‘cultural others’.  The author hereby explores the illuminating and interesting relationship between the framing of ethnic nationalism (and populism) and gender/equality. 

Gustav Sjölund och Kajsa Blomqvist
Gustav Sjölund och Kajsa Blomqvist.

Kandidatuppsats: Hilma Lindskog

Uppsatsens titel: Auktoritära - liberala värderingar: betydelsen av utbildning. En komparativ studie över tid mellan Sverige och Danmark

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"This thesis investigates individuals’ authoritarian-liberal values, comparatively across two periods, in two countries (Sweden and Denmark), that have had partly different development of political aspects of relevance for this value dimension. The author provides a very good overview of theory and previous research, in which she identifies a gap where there are conflicting theoretical expectations regarding the mechanism behind why education is supposed to influence individuals’ attitudes. The thesis thus distinguishes between an individual’s position at work, following education, and the education per se. Five hypotheses are derived from the theory and previous research, and tested empirically in the form of several step-wise, multiple regression analyses, on data from the European Social Survey (ESS). A major plus is the regression diagnostics, which is unusual to find in bachelor theses. The results indicate that education per se seems to have a stronger explanatory power than the work life position. Finally, the thesis has an excellent language, and is very well structured."

 

Masteruppsats: Sara Ljungberg

Uppsatsens titel: Spitzenkandidaten. A progress for the Democratic Legitimacy of the European Union?

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The thesis provides an up-to-date and very timely analysis of citizen attitudes towards the system of European parliament party groups nominating so called Spitzenkandidaten for president of the European Commission. The system was introduced by the party groups in advance of the 2014 European parliament elections, but its application to the 2019 elections was uncertain. At this critical point in time, Ljungberg’s thesis bring new knowledge about citizen attitudes towards this democratic invention. This topic is of broad relevance for European studies and in particular, the democratic credentials of the Union and how these are perceived by the EU citizens. The thesis constructs a theoretical framework based on input and output legitimacy in the EU multilevel political system to explain citizen attitudes towards the Spitzenkandidaten system. The theoretical framework is innovative in that it combines both input and output legitimacy with the EU’s multilevel character to build expectations regarding citizen attitudes. The theoretical expectations are then tested using statistical analyses on newly released Eurobarometer survey data. The advanced empirical analyses are rigorously conducted with adequate controls and robustness checks. The thesis shows that citizen’s prior perceptions, particularly about EU legitimacy, are important determinants for their attitudes to the Spitzenkandidaten system. In sum, Ljungberg’s thesis offers new insights into an institutional invention that so far has not attracted much research, which also means that the thesis positions itself at the research frontier and makes a clear contribution."

 

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Från vänster till höger i bild: Karolina von Mentzer, Hilma Lindskog, Sara Ljungberg och Henrik von Mentzer.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Kandidatuppsats: Elin Nyberg

Uppsatsens titel: Can Information Increase Turnout In The European Parliament Elections? The perks of political conversation for the uninterested

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"Can Information Increase Turnout in the European Parliament Elections? authored by Elin Nyberg speaks directly to the purpose of the award in its emphasis on matters of social exclusion and democracy. The departure point for the thesis is the well-known finding that politically interested individuals turn out to vote in large numbers, but that we have much less understanding about what motivates less politically interested individuals to vote. In a scholarly competent way, Elin clearly positions her study to the existing scientific research, and give a relevant contribution to the literature on the relationship between different types of information and voting participation among politically uninterested citizens. In formulating theory and structuring the analysis, Nyberg capably reviews a large amount of relevant previous research. Elin’s quantitative analysis of 2014 European Election Studies data reports that among individuals with low amounts of political interest, those that were exposed to more information about the EU and European elections in the weeks prior to the 2014 European Parliament elections were more likely to vote. The results further indicated that personal conversations were a particularly important means of information and that this was the case in both the older and newer member states of the EU. Thus Elin finds that information, particularly from friends and family members, does indeed increase the likelihood that a politically uninterested individual votes. In terms of her own analysis, Nyberg identifies potential weaknesses in the data and addresses them in the empirical model. She also tests several different model specifications in order to strengthen the legitimacy of her results. Nyberg’s thesis exposes the variation of premises for voter participation in elections to the European Parliament, and is therefore very relevant to the overarching subject of democracy, which is one of the topics highlighted in the announcement of the thesis award.

 

Masteruppsats: Kristin Clay

Uppsatsens titel: The grandiosity of tasks and mediocrity of tool”: Confronting the transnational social question with mobile CEE citizens’ experiences in Sweden

Juryns motivering på engelska:

"The grandiosity of tasks and mediocrity of tool: Confronting the transnational social question with mobile CEE citizens’ experiences in Sweden’, authored by Kristin Clay, is a well referenced and unique thesis aiming at a critical analysis of the ‘West’ in largely debated and researched phenomenon of the East-West mobility since the 2004 EU enlargement. The thesis expands the normative analysis of the intra-EU mobility beyond its economic impact. The key focus is on the perspectives of mobile CEE citizens, rather than workers, especially with regard to how these perspectives can expose aspects of othering through the ongoing social and political inequalities within the EU. The thesis challenges a predominant assumption that the freedom of movement is truly universal for all citizens of the EU. Adopting the theoretical lens of coloniality, the author develops an innovative analytical framework in order to assess critically the cornerstones of the EU as a supranational collaborative project, including the norms and the principles surrounding the EU citizenship, the freedom of moment, and the EU’s social dimension. Through the analysis of qualitative interviews with the EU mobile citizens in Sweden, against the backdrop of the selected EU and Swedish official documents, the thesis concludes that the obstacles that the new EU citizens encounter, and the strategies they employ to overcome those, witness about the fact that Sweden as a member state and the EU at large neglect to recognize the transnational aspect of the social question in Europe, and fail to seek solutions on a transnational level. In view of the increasing discord between EU member states, Brexit, and the growth of far-right political sentiments, the thesis compels scholars to acknowledge the historical power asymmetries within Europe and their ongoing effects in order to sustain the future of European integration. In doing so, the thesis speaks right to the heart of the award’s purpose by convincingly presenting highly original, self-reflexive and independent theorization of the frequently overlooked social aspect of European integration.”

 

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Från vänster till höger i bild: Karolina von Mentzer, Elin Nyberg, Kristin Clay och Henrik von Mentzer.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Kandidatuppsats: Linnéa Johansson

Uppsatsens titel: Asylsökande barns rättigheter och barnkonventionen: en jämförande studie av rättighetsdiskursen i Sverige och Danmark

Juryns motivering:

"Linnéa Johanssons studie Asylsökande barns rättigheter och barnkonventionen: en jämförande studie av rättighetsdiskursen i Sverige och Danmark är ett fint exempel på en nyfikenhetsbaserad uppsats som med engagemang parat med anpassning till de vetenskapliga krav som ställs på ett examensarbete på kandidatnivå genomförts på ett helt utmärkt sätt. Författaren skriver distinkt, ändamålsenligt och mycket väl. Uppsatsen är för att vara på kandidatnivå väl förankrad i sin teori och metod, i sitt material och sin analys. Ur betygsprotokollet framgår att studien är väl genomförd i dess olika delar. Den har en bra och mycket tydlig problemformulering som bygger på en iakttagen spänning mellan nationalstaters önskan om att kontrollera invandringen och Barnkonventionens framhållande av rättigheter. En extra dimension tillkommer då flykting- och invandringsdiskussionen tycks handla om solidaritet mellan medlemsländer snarare än solidaritet med flyktingar. Det görs poängfulla och bra motiverade val av länder. Syfte och frågor är väl fungerande. Uppsatsen argumenterar på ett bra sätt för att jämföra de två länderna utifrån likheter i välfärdssystem och skillnader i integrationsnormer och policy. Jämförelsen är konsekvent genomförd. Det är bra att författaren försöker integrera teoriperspektiven diskurs och governance. Här finns en bra redogörelse för befintlig forskning och görs en utmärkt positionering av studien i relation till den tidigare forskningen. Sammanfattningsvis bedömdes uppsatsen med betyget väl godkänd."

 

Masteruppsats: Julia Synnelius

Uppsatsens titel: Translating gender equality. A case study about the EU gender policy's politicizing capacity

Juryns motivering på engelska:

“Julia Synnelius has authored an excellent thesis with great relevance to both European Studies and the Henrik and Karolina von Mentzer European Studies Thesis Award. While the thesis studies whether a certain EU development program has the potential to politicize gender issues, and thereby contribute to progressive policy developments within these fields, it also contains broader implications for the EU:s gender policies, as well as relevant theoretical discussions. Julia shows that she has a deep understanding of the relevant literature, as well as a good understanding of how to design an inquiry of relevance to her field. She also has a clear grasp of the methodology she uses (interviews), and the thesis includes a transparent and initiated discussion of her results. While no thesis is perfect, Julia also performed excellently during the oral parts of the thesis examination procedure. While she acknowledged some of the limitations of her study, she also gave an excellent motivation for the choice which she had had to make.”

Från vänster till höger i bild: Henrik von Mentzer, Linnéa Johansson, Julia Synnelius och Karolina von Mentzer.
Foto: Karin Andersson

Kandidatuppsats: Lisa Gastaldi

Uppsatsens titel: Protest eller ideologi? Vänsterpopulism och väljarbeteende i Europaparlamentsval

Juryns motivering på engelska:

“The thesis tackles the question of what drives voting for left-wing populist parties in European Parliament elections, arguing that research on populist parties is too focused on right-wing populism. In the wake of the success of parties such as Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece this issue is highly salient for understanding the development of European democracies. The thesis convincingly argues that a vote for a left-wing populist party can either be understood as a preference for more left-wing policies, or as a protest against the political establishment. The empirical study is ambitious and well-motivated, and for a bachelor thesis methodologically advanced. The previous research and theory section is comprehensive, and the author develops reasonable hypotheses to be tested. The thesis studies votes for seven left-wing populist in the 2014 EP election, using data from the European Election Survey. Two logistic regression models test the hypotheses of the thesis, and the author controls for other political attitudes and socio-demographic variables as well as including country dummies. The analysis shows that both left-wing ideology and dissatisfaction with the existing government have statistically significant effects. The thesis identifies an important gap in the research literature and shows the ability to use and adapt existing theories to investigate this gap, combined with an excellent empirical study. The author shows an unusually mature methodological awareness for a bachelor thesis. The author also extensively discusses the implications of the study for our understanding of left-wing populism and for European democracies at large.”

 

Masteruppsats: Clemens Schubert

Uppsatsens titel: Patriotic and Anti-Islam, but European? What European means for Pegida in Dresden

Juryns motivering på engelska: 

“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes), abbreviated PEGIDA or Pegida, is a nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right political movement. Clemens Schubert’s thesis is an analysis of Pegida as a new, European Social Movement. The thesis analyses the way Pegida constructs European identity, through framing notions of the “European” both as something essentially different than “Islam” as well as being a shared experience of Europeans of all nations to be ruled by European elite of politicians. Combining approaches in the research field of social movements with Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory/methodology Schubert makes an innovative discourse analysis of speeches given at Pegida demonstrations in the German city of Dresden. Schubert shows that in PEGIDA discourse, European signifies values, freedoms, norms and principles among which the freedom of expression and sexual rights gain central importance. “European” is thus constituted as a unity to be defended against alleged cultural invasions by Muslim immigrants and multiculturalism. This is also to say that Schubert comes to important conclusions about European identity in an age of growing populism and rising levels of tensions where religion and national belonging are given new meanings. Schubert’s thesis if of high academic quality and displays an impressive grasp on several bodies of scholarly literature. He shows a commendable ability to reflect these literatures critically as he synthesizes them to a coherent framework. His thesis contributes to our knowledge of present day xenophobia as well as to our understanding of democracy and multiculturalism.”

 

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Från vänster till höger i bild: Karolina von Mentzer, Lisa Gastaldi och Henrik von Mentzer. Saknas gör masterstudenten Clemens Schubert.
Foto: Karin Andersson