Former Guests

Our former Guests have advanced our Cluster and our research agenda in many ways. We are in ongoing, lively contact, and remain grateful for their invaluable contributions.

Alexandra Bögner

Alexandra Bögner is a doctoral student at the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (SCEUS). She worked at the Cluster supporting Prof. Dr. Gabriele Spilker until June 2023.

Her research focused on trade policy and linkages with other issues, particularly climate policy, EU external governance through trade power, and decision-making processes within the European Commission.


Prof. Rogers Brubaker, Ph.D.

Rogers Brubaker is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has written widely on social theory, immigration, citizenship, nationalism, ethnicity, religion, and populism. His most recent books are Grounds for Difference and Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities. His current book project is about digital hyperconnectivity and its discontents.

Rogers stayed at the Cluster until 15 December 2020.


Matias Engdal Christensen

Matias Engdal Christensen is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Aarhus University. In his dissertation, he investigates to what extent citizens’ welfare state attitudes are shaped by the information they acquire about the economy through “the slow drip of everyday life”. At the moment, his research interests are mainly but not exclusively related to the causes and consequences of economic inequality perceptions. Hence, one of the central arguments in his dissertation is that economic differences observed in everyday life shape perceptions of economic inequality, which then in turn influences welfare state attitudes. During his time at the cluster, Matias collaborated with the "Inequality Barometer" Project.

Matias stayed at the Cluster until mid-July 2022.


Elisa Funk

Elisa Funk is a doctoral student at the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (SCEUS). At the Cluster, she was a guest researcher with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Spilker up until July 2023.

Her main research interests included climate policy, development aid and EU foreign policy.


Picture: Katy Otto

Dr. Heiko Giebler

Heiko Giebler leads a junior research group in the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script" at Freie Universität Berlin. Together with his team he is responsible for the comparative mass survey "Public Attitudes towards the Liberal Script" (PALS).

His research interests lie within the area of ​​comparative research on attitudes and behavior as well as methods of data collection. As part of the research group, he works on data collection efforts from a global perspective and investigates micro and macro factors that help to explain differences in the support of democracy, market economy and open society. 


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Glassmann

Ulrich Glassmann is professor of Comparative Institutional Analysis with an area focus on Southern Europe, and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Studies at the Europa-University Flensburg, Germany. His research is concerned with institutional regimes governing employment, education and innovation in regional economies. In particular, he focuses on the nexus between family networks and economic performance in Mediterranean countries. In his current project he analyses educational inequalities in authoritarian capitalist systems.

Ulrich stayed at the Cluster until the end of June 2021.


Picture: David Ausserhofer

Dr. Swen Hutter

Swen Hutter is Lichtenberg Professor of Political Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin and Director of the Center for Civil Society Research, a joint institution of Freie Universität and the Social Science Research Center Berlin WZB.

His research interests lie where political sociology and comparative politics intersect; he is particularly interested in the changing dynamics and structuring of political conflict and civil society in European democracies.

The Centre for Civil Society Research investigates the foundations, self-understanding and change of civil society in contemporary democratic societies. Using an integrative research approach, it systematically combines protest and social movement research with the empirical analysis of political conflict structures and research on social capital. By analysing political conflicts and transformations in civil society over longer periods of time, the Centre provides answers to fundamental questions about the future of democracy and social cohesion. Furthermore, the Centre makes an important contribution to the data infrastructure for the long-term observation of party competition and protest in Europe. The Manifesto Project and the Observatory for Political Conflict and Democracy (PolDem) are based at the Centre.


Prof. Jan Germen Janmaat

Jan Germen Janmaat is Professor of Political Socialization at the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education, London. He has published widely on the relation between education, civic values and social cohesion. Among other activities, he has headed a project on the net effect of school-related conditions on civic attitudes, including tolerance, trust and political engagement. Currently, he is working on a Nuffield Foundation funded project about the role that post-16 educational pathways play in enhancing (or mitigating) social inequalities in political engagement. His latest book is "Education, Democracy and Inequality: Political Engagement, and Citizenship Education in Europe" (Palgrave) (co-authored with Bryony Hoskins).

At the Cluster, Jan Germen Janmaat has contributed to the development of research instruments for the project "Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness". Jan German Janmaat stayed at the Cluster until the end of November 2020.


Prof. Chris Koski, Ph.D.

Chris Koski is Professor of Political Science and Dan Greenberg Chair of Environmental Studies at the Department of Political Science, Reed College, Portland, OR. His research interests include theoretical work in public policy theory development, specifically punctuated equilibrium theory and policy design. Substantively, Chris has focused on environmental policy, American state budgeting, and the politics of climate change.  He is co-editor (with Peter Steinberger) of the American politics reader, The Real World of American Politics: A Documentary Approach.  

Chris is the current chair of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy section of the American Political Science Association (until 2023) and is the chair-elect of the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association (beginning August 2022 until August 2023). 

While at the University of Konstanz, Chris worked with Christian Breunig on a project on 'Environmental Inequalities.'


Davy-Kim Lascombes

Davy-Kim Lascombes is a Ph.D candidate in Political Science at the University of Geneva, funded by the Inequality in the Mind  SNF project. He is also an affiliated researcher of the ERC Unequal Democracies research group and shared responsibility for the design and implementation of the Inequality and Politics dataset, a cross-national public opinion survey.

In his research, Davy-Kim studies citizens’ perceptions of inequality and their attitudinal and behavioral implications. His PhD dissertation focuses on fairness evaluations and their effects on individuals’ redistributive preferences and vote choice.

Davy-Kim stayed at the Cluster until the end of June 2022. 


Prof. Dr. Paul Marx

Paul Marx is Professor of Political Science and Socio-Economics at University of Duisburg-Essen. In addition, he is affiliated to the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies and to the IZA Institute of Labor Economics. His research interests are related to social and political inequality, political behaviour, and comparative welfare state and labour market analysis. He currently works on the politics of taxation and the socio-economic foundations of political integration. In Konstanz, he collaborated with the research project “Digitalization, Automation and the Future of Work in Post-industrial Welfare States”. He recently published a co-edited volume on this topic with (Marius Busemeyer, Achim Kemmerling and Kees van Kersbergen).


Dafni Kalatzi Pantera

Dafni Kalatzi Pantera is a  PhD student at the University of Essex, Department of Government in the UK. She is mainly interested in environmental attitudes and corporate green commitments. In her dissertation, she studies the propagation of pro-environmental ideas. In particular, she examines how international forces influence individuals’ environmental attitudes, and how the domestic political system responds to this influence. Currently, as part of her dissertation she focuses on the localized effect of the COP meetings on environmental attitudes. In related projects, she focuses on natural disasters, green commitments by multinational corporations, and environmental protests. 

At the Cluster, Dafni was a guest of Prof. Gabriele Spilker. 


Prof. Fabian Pfeffer, Ph.D.

Fabian Pfeffer is Associate Chair at the University of Michigan's Department of Sociology and Director of the Center for Inequality Dynamics. In his research, Fabian investigates social inequality and its maintenance across time and generations. His current projects focus on wealth inequality and its consequences for the next generation, the institutional context of social mobility processes and educational inequality in the United States and other industrialized countries. He is also greatly interested in expanding the social science data infrastructure and quantitative methods needed to address questions on inequality and mobility.

Fabian stayed at the Cluster until 30 June 2021.


Prof. Dr. Lena Maria Schaffer

Lena Maria Schaffer is Professor (Ordinaria) of International and Transnational Relations at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland). Her research interests are in the field of international comparative climate and energy policy, as well as attitudinal research on globalisation and climate change. One focus of her international comparative research is to theoretically and empirically examine the politicisation of climate change and polarisation through climate politics.

Lena stayed at the Cluster until September 2023. 


Prof. Pieter Vanhuysse, Ph.D.

Pieter Vanhuysse is Full Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Department of Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Odense. He also leads the Societies and Demographic Change research group at the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies. Pieter is Senior Fellow of Business and Social Sciences at the Danish Institute for Advanced Study. He is a founding Board Member of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics at SDU's Faculty of Business and Social Sciences and a member of the Roster of Experts at Population Europe, the network of Europe's leading demographic research centres.

Pieters research is focusing on public policies, welfare states, democracy in East Central Europe, political demography, and intergenerational resource transfers and intergenerational justice.


Dr. Tevfik Murat Yildirim

Tevfik Murat Yildirim (PhD, University of Missouri) is an associate professor of political science at University of Stavanger, Norway. His research broadly focuses on political elites, social inequalities in day-to-day politics (mostly related to gender), and policy agendas. Much of his recent research is concerned with questions relating to the dynamics of elite behavior in parliament and challenges facing women and other traditionally underrepresented groups in politics. 


Anna Zamberlan

Anna Zamberlan is a PhD student in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Trento. From September 2022 to January 2023, Anna worked at the Cluster as a guest doctoral researcher with Prof. Dr. Susanne Strauß. Her research interests included gender inequalities, discrimination in the labour market, social inequality and stratification, experimental designs and quantitative methods for data analysis.