Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann - Research

While our past research agenda can be seen from our publication lists, here is an overview of our current research interests:

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

The project investigates the ways in which interactions between citizens, social movements, and a specific breed of political party - the so-called 'movement parties' - influence democratic quality in several countries of the European Union. In the context of the European financial, economic, and migration crises, mass protests since 2011 have engendered new social movements and political parties. Scholarly research suggests that protesters vote for movement parties. They display a wide range of ideological orientations, from leftlibertarian to far right, and are expected to bring into the institutional arena the voices of citizens who have hitherto felt disaffected from the democratic process. Their mobilisation strategies often rely upon populist anti-establishment framings, which can polarize political competition and delegitimise democratic institutions. The team aims to comparatively assess the medium- and long-term effects of this triple interaction between citizens, social movements, and movement parties in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and the UK between the peak of the global wave of protests in 2011 and 2019. The researchers will examine five hypotheses regarding the impact of the triple interaction on the perceived erosion of democratic quality in European countries. The project will develop new insights by combining concepts from social movement studies, political behaviour and party politics, political culture, critical theory, media studies, and policy analysis. It will use an innovative cross-national, multimethod research design, bridging qualitative and quantitative approaches with computational, set-theoretical, and critical methods in order to map contextual conditions, cross-national, cross-issue, and social network patterns that can enhance democratic quality.

Project coordinatiors:

Prof. Dr. Christina Neumayer/ Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Mosca/ Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann/
Dr. Dan MerceaDr. Toma Burean

Funding period: 12/2020 - 11/2023

More information can be found here

“Smart Authoritarianism? Comparing the Internet Strategies of Authoritarian Regimes"
(funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG)

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 and the general efforts of authoritarian regimes to digitally extend their rule pose serious challenges for the future of democracy. Why do some autocracies maintain daily-updated social media profiles and stimulate relatively open online interactions despite the risks of greater informational uncertainties? How do these and other authoritarian Internet strategies threaten democracy? Guided by these central research questions, the proposed project applies innovative computational methods to analyze how modern authoritarian regimes expand their rule online.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Seraphine F. Maerz

Funding Period: August 2021 - August 2024

For updates also see here

Variations of governance in the hybrid regimes: companies, the state and civil society in today's Russia

DFG-Project of Free University of Berlin in cooperation with Goethe University Frankfurt

Despite the fact that the research on modern authoritarianism and hybrid regimes grows richer by the day, little is known about how those regimes deal with specific policy issues. Russia is case in point that represents a typical instance of a new authoritarian (hybrid) regime.

The latest studies argue that the Russian state regularly partakes of the resources belonging to the companies and civil society actors to tackle specific policy issues. A major string of literature has developed that investigates the role of civil society in such patterns of governance, but the role of the companies remains largely unexplored.

(Para-)state and private companies do, however, present an interesting subject, because they have more resources at their disposal than the civil society actors and are even partially able to engage with international markets. They, therefore, are the focus of this research project.

Project coordinators: Prof. Dr. Katharina Bluhm/ Prof. Dr. Sabine Kropp / Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Funding period: 04/2018 - 09/2022

More information can be found here

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA): Quality of applied QCA

Our team is constantly working on improving the standards of QCA: starting with concepts all the way to the application of the method.

This work is based on Prof. Wagemann's previous affiliation with Prof. Dr. Carsten Q. Scheider (Central European University Budapest) in 2010, during which both authors developed several handouts with best practices for high-quality QCA applications.

Recently Claudius Wagemann and his team analysed a range of published QCA applications in Business and Management Studies as well as in Sociology. The results of this study reveal serious shortcomings in the commonplace applications of QCA, which significantly impair the quality of their results. Since then our research team works on an in-depth systematic analysis of the quality of QCA applications in different fields of social sciences.



Prof. Dr. Claudius Wagemann

Professor of Political Science
with a focus on Qualitative Empirical Social Research

Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute of Political Science
Goethe University Frankfurt/Main
post office box 39
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Room: PEG Builing, 3rd floor, room 124
Phone: +49 69 798 36647  
E-Mail: wagemann[at]

Administration office:

open office hours:

Tuesday 1 - 3 p.m.
Friday 9 - 11 a.m.
Room:  PEG, 3rd floor, room 107
Phone: +49 69 798 36510
E-Mail: methoden-qualitativ[at]

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