Meet the Cluster Community: Sergio Zanotto

1. Why are you studying inequality?

I am interested in making political information more accessible to everyone. I began to study the language of politicians because I feel like Politics is becoming more and more an elitist subject, which is increasingly difficult to understand for a majority of citizens. 

2. What are you working on?

My project aims to understand how political speeches influence the choices of the citizens. There are particular ways of speaking that can persuade people, for example by using emotions to influence preferences. I want to characterize those rhetorical tactics and make them clear and "visible"! 

3. How did you end up here?

I decided to pursue a PhD because it allows me to still gain more knowledge about my field, while also having the opportunity to discover something by myself. The idea of improving the collective knowledge by better understanding something has always attracted me. 

4. Recent highlight?

I'm travelling Europe with my studies, and I had never visited Germany before coming to Konstanz. I got to try some famous potato salad and I can even order coffee in German now. I guess my recent highlight was hiking in Feldberg and seeing the Schwarzwald. 

5. Dream research project?

I dream of empowering people by making their political choices more conscious. That would make us more close to being a real democracy, in the name of equity and fairness. 

Sergio Eugenio Zanotto is an Independent Doctoral Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality" at the University of Konstanz. His research focuses on manual and automated detection of arguments in political discourses and the impact of different linguistic features on attracting political preferences among different strata of the population.