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Chair in Qualitative Empirical Research Methods

Our research

The idea of our research

We conduct both methodological and substantive research at our professorship.
Regarding methodological research, we focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and other set-theoretical approaches as well as case comparison. At the same time, some of our methodological publications are also introductory in nature.
Our substantive research is also methodological in nature, whether through QCA or other methods such as content analysis. Following our broad range of interests, we deal with topics as diverse as political protest, interest groups, democracy and autocracy, and the German-Italian relationship.

Protests and Democracy: How Movement Parties, Social Movements and Active Citizens are Reshaping Europe (PRODEM)

ProDem is an interdisciplinary project funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung. It aims to comparatively assess the medium- and long-term effects of the triple interaction between citizens, social movements and movement parties on European countries. We want to explain how social movements and movement parties together with a realignment of citizens' values and attitudes have affected democratic quality in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and the UK. We approach democratic quality from a citizens' perspective as the acquisition of political, civil, and social citizenship rights through democratic institutions and processes.

To the official project website

Duration

12/2020 - 11/2023

From our team

Principal Investigator & Contact

Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Professor for Political Science

PEG 3G 124
+49 69/798 36647
wagemann@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Requests for office hours to
methoden-qualitativ@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours
Wednesday afternoons
in exceptional cases mondays

International Partner(Universities)

Prof. Dr. Christina Neumayer

Department Digital Design
IT University of Copenhagen
Dänemark

Dr. Dan Mercea

Department of Sociology
School of Arts and Social Sciences
University of London, Großbritannien

Dr. Toma Burean

College of Political Science Public Administration and Communication
Universitatea Babes-Bolyai
Rumänien

Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Mosca

Department of Social and Political Sciences
Università degli Studi di Milano
Italien

ProDem investigates how interactions between citizens, social movements, and a specific breed of political parties (so-called 'movement parties', della Porta et al 2017; Kitschelt 2006; Mosca and Quaranta 2017) influence democratic quality in Europe. We approach democratic quality from a citizens' perspective as the acquisition of political, civil, and social citizenship rights through democratic institutions and processes (della Porta 2016:8-9). The interplay among citizens, media, and political organisations is at the heart of our inquiry into democratic quality.

Since 2011 and in the wake of the European financial, economic, and migration crises, mass protests have engendered new social movements and political parties. This development has been interpreted in two main ways. Research into political culture describes the increase in protests as a consequence of long-term sociocultural change, leading to growing numbers of 'critical citizens' who question authority but remain committed to democratic values (Dalton and Welzel 2014; Norris 2011). Protesting therefore belongs to civic attitudes deeply rooted in European democracies (Klingemann 2014:139-140).

Researchers studying the 'quality of democracy' have developed a more ambivalent approach, regarding the spread of protests as symptomatic of democratic backsliding (Bermeo 2016; Foa and Mounk 2016; Krastev 2014). Dissatisfied with the performance of democracies, sizeable sections of the citizenry have protested by voting for populist parties, contributing to an erosion of liberal democratic standards (Pirro 2015). Some social movements and their populist party vehicles (e.g. Movimento 5 Stelle) have mobilised citizens by framing political conflicts as a confrontation between corrupt, unaccountable, foreign-controlled, mainstream media-supported elites and ordinary people (Mudde 2004) expressing their grievances on social media (Engesser et al. 2017; Neumayer 2016). Polarising worldviews, often coupled with nativist frames, tend to negate political pluralism and erode attachment to the norms underpinning liberal democracy (Mudde 2007; Levitsky and Ziblatt 2018). Activists have, however, also resorted to protest to resist illiberal policies (Dimitrova 2018; Fomina and Kucharczyk 2016).

ProDem comparatively assesses the medium- and long-term effects of this triple interaction between citizens, social movements, and movement parties on democratic quality in European democracies. We seek robust and innovative explanations for how social movements and movement parties, alongside shifting divisions in citizens' values, ideologies, and attitudes, have affected democratic quality in six European countries (Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and the UK) between the onset of a global wave of protests in 2011 and 2019. ProDem will generate new, timely insights from comparative analysis of democratic quality by combining concepts and methods from social movement studies, political behaviour and party politics, political culture, critical theory, media studies, and computational social science.

GDPR-compliance: The project collects data based on public profiles of political parties and social movements on social media platforms using publicly available information. This may include handles of users who interacted with these profiles.

Smart Authoritarianism? Comparing the Internet Strategies of Authoritarian Regimes"

Authoritarian ways of dealing with the Internet are highly diverging. There are a range of autocracies, particularly the closed and rather isolated regimes such as North Korea or Turkmenistan, which are still in the Stone Age of Internet diffusion and rigorously limit Internet freedom via online censorship, strict control or blocks on websites. In contrast to this, other types of autocracies seem to have moved beyond the exclusive usage of the so-called 'negative control' of the Internet. Instead of merely suppressing Internet freedom, these regimes strategically use cyberspace by maintaining responsive platforms and promoting online interaction. Such manipulations of the Internet pose serious challenges to the future of democracy.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Duration

2021/22 – 2024/25

Contact

Dr. Seraphine F. Maerz

Research Fellow

maerz@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Sprechstunden / Office hours
Registration by email

Variations of Governance in Hybrid Regimes. Business, State and Civil Society in Contemporary Russia (GOVRUS)

Das Projekt «Variationen von Governance in hybriden Regimen. Unternehmen, Staat und Zivilgesellschaft im heutigen Russland»untersucht, welche Rolle russische und internationale Unternehmen im Rahmen von CSR-Strategien spielen und welche Formen von Governance zwischen staatlichen, nicht-staatlichen Akteuren und Unternehmen sich daraus in Russland ergeben. Von besonderer Bedeutung ist die Frage, wie die Befunde in das Spannungsfeld zwischen pfadabhängiger Entwicklung und der Entstehung neuartiger Formen unternehmerischer und staatlicher Kooperation einzuordnen sind. Die Analyse umfasst vornehmlich die Branchen der Öl- und Gasindustrie, des Handels sowie der Metallurgie in den Regionen Volgograd, Tyumen und Kemerovo. In methodischer Hinsicht verbindet das Projekt ein Fallstudiendesign mit einer QCA-Analyse.

Zur offiziellen Webseite des Projekts

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Duration

04/2018 bis 04/2021

From our team

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Professor for Political Science

PEG 3G 124
+49 69/798 36647
wagemann@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Requests for office hours to
methoden-qualitativ@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours
Wednesday afternoons
in exceptional cases mondays

Contact

Dr. Benedikt Bender

Research Fellow

PEG 2G 157
+49 69 798 36641
b.bender@soz.uni-frankfurt.de
Website, Orcid, Twitter

Office hours
Registration by email
Tuesday 16:00 - 17:00

Partner(Universities)

Luca Verzichelli

University Siena

Damir Kapidzic

University Sarajewo

Although the state of research on modern hybrid regimes is continuously differentiating, there are few studies that provide insights into how these regimes deal with concrete policy issues. This is particularly true of Russia, which represents a "typical case" of new authoritarian or hybrid regimes. Recent studies show that the Russian state regularly draws on resources from businesses and civil society actors to solve concrete policy problems. While a growing body of literature is devoted to the role of Russian civil society in such governance patterns, that of corporations is less well explored. (Para-)state and private companies are of particular interest, however, because they are more resource-rich than civil society actors and, in some cases, operate in international markets. They are therefore the focus of the planned project.

One arena in which interactions between companies and state actors take place, and in which NGOs are also partly involved, is represented by the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of large companies in Russia. In a narrower sense, CSR does involve voluntary commitment; this is also repeatedly emphasized by Russian business associations. From the very beginning, however, CSR has also been used by the state as an instrument to integrate companies into the restored power vertical and to commit them to state programs. This is especially true at the regional level, whose administrations are burdened with a wide range of sociopolitical and development tasks without having sufficient tax revenues.

The aim is to clarify why companies, state actors and NGOs participate in CSR, which - more or less institutionalized - variants of governance result from their interactions and how these are linked to vertical instruments of state governance. CSR thus serves as an application example to study patterns of governance in new authoritarian or hybrid regimes.

The project operates at the interface of political science and corporate sociology. Theoretically, the metagovernance perspective is combined with approaches of resource dependency and exchange. In comparative qualitative case studies, different industries and regions are examined. The starting point of the survey is 21 enterprises of large companies from the oil and gas industry, metallurgy and trade in three selected subjects of the Federation (Volgograd, Tyumen, Kemerovo). A Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is associated with the case study design, which allows to precisely elaborate different configurations and invariants. The project therefore also adds methodological value.

Political Conflict Reform Monitor (ReMoPo)

The focus of the data set "Reform Monitor of Political Conflicts" (ReMoPo) created by Dr. Benedikt Bender is the question of political conflicts of organized interests. What are the positions of employers' associations, trade unions and political parties on labor market, social and family policy? How do they position themselves on protection against dismissal, fixed-term employment, unemployment benefits, minimum wage, KITA infrastructure or parental benefits? Can changes over time and / or variations within the organizations be shown, and how much do the positions on political parties differ? Do the organizations change their positions in times of crisis, such as the economic and financial crisis or the Corona pandemic?

Funding

Self-financed

Contact

Dr. Benedikt Bender

Research Fellow

PEG 2G 157
+49 69 798 36641
b.bender@soz.uni-frankfurt.de
Website, Orcid, Twitter

Office hours
Registration by email
Tuesday 16:00 - 17:00

The focus of the data set "Reform Monitor of Political Conflicts" (ReMoPo) created by Dr. Benedikt Bender is the question of political conflicts of organized interests. What are the positions of employers' associations, trade unions and political parties on labor market, social and family policy? How do they position themselves on protection against dismissal, fixed-term employment, unemployment benefits, minimum wage, KITA infrastructure or parental benefits? Can changes over time and / or variations within the organizations be shown, and how much do the positions on political parties differ? Do the organizations change their positions in times of crisis, such as the economic and financial crisis or the Corona pandemic?

To answer these questions empirically, documents (press releases and Twitter data) are analyzed and expert interviews are conducted. The ReMoPo dataset starts in 2000 and currently includes seven employers' associations, six trade unions and seven political parties. The dataset is used by Dr. Bender and his team in teaching and research, as well as by our students for term papers and theses.

In summary, from the analyses to date, support for welfare state policies varies by issue and can change as contexts change. Particularly in the topic of social investemnets, equal interests have been shown to explain welfare state development. This means that purely ideological factors of organization types per se (such as labor vs. capital) are not sufficient explanations but need to be complemented by pragmatic explanatory factors.

In perspective, the data set will be extended in two directions: On the one hand, the positions of the Acutere are to be analyzed in an EU country comparison, and on the other hand, a focus is also to be placed on the German states.

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

A methodological focus of our research is on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and related set-theoretic methods. Our work mainly involves publications, both in the field of textbooks and handbooks, as well as in the advanced specialized literature on QCA.

Funding

Self-financed

Contact

Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Professor for Political Science

PEG 3G 124
+49 69/798 36647
wagemann@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Requests for office hours to
methoden-qualitativ@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours
Wednesday afternoons
in exceptional cases mondays

Methodology application in Europe

The (book) project on the use of methods in Europe examines leading national and international political science journals with regard to the methods used and investigates the question to what extent national or subdisciplinary differences can be discerned and whether trends in the use of methods can be identified. The work is based on a self-generated database for the years from 2010 to 2020.

Funding

Self-financed

From our team

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Professor for Political Science

PEG 3G 124
+49 69/798 36647
wagemann@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Requests for office hours to
methoden-qualitativ@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours
Wednesday afternoons
in exceptional cases mondays

Contact

Lukas Brenner

Research Fellow

PEG 3G 114
+49 69 798 36646
brenner@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours
Registration by email

Partner(Universities)

Luca Verzichelli

University Siena

Damir Kapidzic

University Sarajewo