180615 Europe in Political Turmoil. Explaining Party Politics and Electoral Dynamics in European Welfare Democracies

15 Juin, 2018 - 14:15 - 16:15


ROOM HAS CHANGED: Sciences Po, Amphitheater Chapsal,  27 rue Saint Guillaume, 75007 Paris 

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Europe’s political landscapes are in turmoil, and new radical parties challenge the established political order. The process of European integration is more and more contested politically. This panel, based on a recently published book, locates Europe’s contemporary challenges within the longer economic and political trajectories of its “welfare democracies”. Based on the analysis of the specific structures of political competition and voter-party links in different European democracies, it presents a general understanding of the political and economic turmoil of the last decades. The panel provides an analytical framework that links welfare states to party systems, combining recent contributions to the comparative political economy of the welfare state and insights from party and electoral politics. It states three phenomena. First, concerning electoral politics, it identifies a certain homogenization of European party systems, the emergence of a new combination of leftist socio-economic and rightist socio-cultural positions in many parties, and, finally, the different electoral success of the radical right in the north of Europe and of the radical left in the south. Second, it underlines a confluence toward renewed welfare state support among parties and voters. Third, it demonstrates that the Europeanization of political dynamics, combined with incompatible growth models, has created pronounced European cleavages.


Philip Manow is Professor for Comparative Political Economy at the University of Bremen. He held positions at the University of Konstanz and Heidelberg and was senior researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. He is currently fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of Konstanz. His research focuses on comparative political economy, the German political system, and political theory.

Hanna Schwander is Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School. Her research is guided by an interest in how post-industrial transformations of welfare states, labor markets and societies affect various aspects of the political life. She obtained her PhD in 2012 from the University of Zurich and joined the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) at the University of Bremen in the same year. She also worked at the European University Institute in Florence, the Department of International Relations and Politics at the University of Oxford, the University of Essen-Duisburg and the University of Zurich. At the University of Zurich, Hanna Schwander led an Ambizione project on women’s political alignment.

Bruno Palier is CNRS Research Director, Sciences Po, Centre d’études européennes and co-director of Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP). He has published numerous articles and books, on welfare state transformation as well as on European social policies. Trained in social science, he has a PhD in Political science and was the scientific coordinator of an European Network of excellence RECWOWE (Reconciling Work and Welfare). He is also a Member of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Executive Council. His research focuses on welfare reforms in Europe.


Catherine de Vries is a Professor of Politics in the Department of Government at the University of Essex where she also serves as the Director of the Essex Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, and a Professor and Chair of Political Behaviour at the Free University Amsterdam. She is also an associate member of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford.  Over the years, she has published extensively on the most important societal and political problems facing Europe today, such as the ramifications of the Eurozone crisis, the success of extremist parties or political corruption. Her recent monograph Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration with Oxford University Press provides a systematic account of public opinion towards Europe.

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