Departmental Seminar 2020-21_935x561

October 19, 2021, to January 18, 2022: Departmental Seminar

In the Departmental Seminar, members and friends of the Department of Political Science present their research.

Research projects and work at any stage will be presented: early-stage projects, work-in-progress as well as publications. Afterwards, the presentations will be discussed by the audience and helpful inputs will be given. Moderation: Fabian Habersack.

We look forward to welcoming students and guest auditors! The events will take place on site as well as via livestream. No registration necessary. 
Technical guide
Virtual participation works best with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Please keep your camera and microphone turned off during the presentation!
You can ask your questions or give feedback later in the Q&A session or via the chat function.



Dates for the winter semester 2021/22

(on Tuesdays, 12:30 to 13:30)



Tuesday, 19 October 2021, HS 1 (Sowi)

Julia Mourão PermoserMOURAO PERMOSER Julia

Elise Richter Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Discussant: Martin Senn



Floating sanctuaries: the ethics of search and rescue at sea


Search-and-Rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean have been increasingly criminalized. This criminalization has chilled conversation about the real ethical dilemmas that the practice involves. What, if any, can be the adverse by-products of rescuing life at sea? In this article, we concentrate the dilemmas involved in SAR as seen from the perspective of rescuers. Our aim is twofold. The first is to map the dilemmas from a phenomenological perspective, as they are experienced by rescuers at sea. The paper sheds light on the complexity and nuance of the ethical landscape of maritime rescue, revealing an intricate web of interactions acknowledged by rescuers as posing ethical challenges. The second aim is to offer a conceptual framework for what it is that SAR NGOs are, in fact, doing. We contextualize their actions within the larger terrain of ‘border externalization’, in which states have moved enforcement activities to extraterritorial zones, where human rights law ostensibly does not apply. We thus argue that the set of norms underlying practices developed by SAR NGOs amounts to a strategy of counter-externalization. The idea here is that a window of opportunity can be created at sea, where human rights or international law protections more broadly apply, but enforcement powers of states are suspended. By utilizing these legal grey zones to the benefit of migrants, rescuers effectively turn extraterritorial zones from spaces of lawlessness into spaces of resistance. The rescue ship thus becomes a ‘floating sanctuary’.
More information:



Tuesday, 23 November 2021, online only

AZIM Syed Wasif 2021Syed Wasif Azim

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Discussant: Sarah Dingler



Violent conflict and national identity in Pakistan: A theoretical and empirical exploration


Using an extended constructivist position and the case study of Swat, Pakistan, this study argues that the impacts of conflict and violence on national identity are complex and multi-dimensional. National identity is neither lost nor reaffirmed, yet identity neither hardens nor softens as a result of violent conflict. The impacts can be outlined and explored when the markers of national identity are considered. Situated in this context, the article explores the impacts of violent conflict for religion (Islam), State institutions (military), discourses (of pride, sacrifice and complains) and national symbols (holidays) in Pakistan through a fieldwork in Swat from November 2016 to May 2017.





Tuesday, 14 December 2021, online only

WILLUMSEN David 2021David Willumsen

Assistant Professor of Parliamentarianism and Political Parties

Discussant: Marcelo Jenny



The political geography of satisfaction with democracy


While a substantial literature explores the drivers of satisfaction with democracy, the potential effects of geography on satisfaction with democracy have so far been ignored. Both centre-periphery and urban-rural dynamics have substantial potential for influencing the extent to which voters are satisfied with democratic rule, yet we know little about the functioning and effects of such dynamics.
Seeking to overcome this lacuna, in this paper, we combine CSES survey data with measures of geographical centrality in a country to explore how the geography of a respondent’s electoral constituency relative to the national capital influences levels of satisfaction with democracy. Our primary explanatory variable is the distance between the electoral district and the national capital. We expect an interactive relationship between geographical distance and the federal or unitary structure of the state, with distance to the capital having a less negative effect in federal countries. We further explore the effect of political (de-) centralisation on satisfaction with democracy using the Regional Authority Index. Using data covering over twenty countries over a period of 25 years, we find that both federalism and decentralisation lowers the negative effects of distance to the capital on satisfaction with democracy.





Tuesday, 18 January 2022, HS 1 (Sowi) or online only (depending on the pandemic situation)

MARIOTTO CamillaCamilla Mariotto

PostDoctoral researcher

Discussant: Andreas Maurer



Are member states ready for the next generation EU? A study of the Country-Specific Recommendations


This paper assesses the institutional interactions between the European Semester and the Next Generation EU, with the view to establish whether the member states are ready to implement this unprecedented stimulus package. By explaining the national compliance with the country-specific recommendations, we investigate how these provisions have been changed with regard to digitalization of the public administration and environmental sustainability. These policy areas, indeed, constitute the two pillars of the Next Generation EU. Our unique dataset comprises 112 sub-recommendations addressed to member countries in the period between 2010 and 2019. Using a mixed-method approach, which combines case study analysis with statistical analysis, preliminary results show that member states are rather reluctant in implementing digital and green recommendations. However, when the environment is salient for the general public, governments are more responsive and are more likely to adhere to the European recommendations.





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