Archive for the 'Data' Category

Back in Office

After having come back from my holiday at Rügen (or:Rugia – for those not familiar with german geography, Rugia is the largest german island, located in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), regular work will start on the next monday. And there is really a lot of work to do in the upcoming semester.

My current research focuses on theories of transition of political systems and particularly the transition to and stabilization of authoritarian regimes. The case of my interest is Russia, as it can be considered as an example for sucessful re-authoritarization under former President Vladimir Putin and current President Dmitrij Medwedew. One really interesting thing is that in Russia elections to the executive (the President) and the legislative (State Duma) are held regularly and seem to be of some importance and impact despite all rumours and proofs of manipulation. There are several scholars dealing with the phenomenon of elections in authoritarian regimes, that call these types “competitive authoritarian regimes” (Levitsky and Way 2002) or, more precise, “electoral authoritarianism” (Schedler 2006). These approaches seem to be helpful to distinguish these variations of a full-scale “authoritarianism+” from diminished subtypes of democracy, e.g. democracies with adjectives (Collier and Levitsky 1997) and hybrid regimes (Diamond 2002). But when one asks for the functions in terms of a system analysis, most of the approaches in transitology do not give satisfactory answers. My aim is to come closer to a non-democracy-biased analysis of functions of structures and actors within an autopoietic political system. I hope to get new inspiring insights when I am hopefully travelling to Moskow at the end of the month.

Developments in Russia are also interesting in a comparative perspective. Together with my collegue Patricia Graf, I am working on a compartive analysis of elections and their functions in Russia and Venezuela. We will present the results at the annual meeting of the “AK Demokratieforschung” of the DVPW in Hamburg from 16th to 18th October 2008.

Another project origins in my participation at the ISPP-Conference earlier this year. Together with Michael Arfken I am working on a contribution to the 2009 meeting. As we both are in some way (Michael as a psychologist) or the other (me as a political scientist) concerned with how social reality is represented in political psychology, we like the idea to debate different approaches to the social in political psychology, as thinkers like Marx, Hegel, Foucault, Baudrillard, Rawls and others developed them. We are planning to contribute a workshop or panel or symposium to the meeting that could be called “Political Psychology, Social Reality, and the Specter of Intersubjectivity”. Anyway, we have to wait for the reaction of the chairs of the conference.

In teaching there will be three courses, that I will give in the Wintersemester: “Introduction to Political Science” for B.A.-Students (1st Semester), the “Teaching-/Reasearch-Project” for B.A.-Students (5th and 6th Semester) and “Methods of Empirical Research in Political Science” for graduate students (Magister and Master). This includes the update and reformulation of all syllabuses and suggested readings.


  • Schedler, Andreas (Hg.) (2006): Electoral Authoritarianism. The Dynamics of unfree Competition. Boulder, Coll.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Levitsky, Steven; Way, Lucan A. (2002): The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism. In: Journal of Democracy, Jg. 13, H. 2, S. 51–65.
  • Diamond, Larry (2002): Thinking about Hybrid regimes. In: Journal of Democracy, Jg. 13, H. 2, S. 21–35.
  • Collier, David; Levitsky, Steven (1997): Democracy with Adjectives. Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research. In: World Politics, Jg. 49, H. 3, S. 430–451.


Sometimes it is necessary to re-arrange things. This led Clemens and me to open a new blog for professional purposes: KopfmaennchenConsult. This is the place where you find information about what we can offer to you. In turn, Kopfmaennchen now is – as it was some time – my privat-public space, where I will blog what I am interested in.

Back from Paris, in the French Republic

Coming back from my visit at the ISPP Conference in the holy halls of french political science at sciences po, paris, I have brought with me a lot ofnew insights and perspectives on the field of political psychology and cognate disciplines. As t was a conference with many panels I wasn’t really able to attend all of the panels I wanted to, but I was amazed how many people for example are doing authoritarianism studies. Another important thing to learn was that political psychology is still an academic discipline heavily relying on quantitative research – or to put it otherwise: Many researchers are concerned with counting the legs of the fly, but by doing this do not really learn much about the fly itself. Despite some really exciting contributions that are approaching phenomena from other sides – philosophy, phenomenology, and qualitative research methods – most of the scholars seem to be stuck in the paradigmatic mud of social sciences following Descartes.

This is not to say that these approaches could not produce interesting insights, but they for sure are not able to capture all the important informations out there. As French Philosopher J.F. Lyotard put it in his study of “postmodern knowledge”, all information not to be encoded in binary codes gets lost and is devaluated: The narrative, myths, fairy tales, witchcraft, imagination, just to name a few.

What I also learned at the conference is that there are at least some people out there in the world that largely share equivalent academic experiences, are reading similar or even the same books, are asking questions and are adressing phenomena that are not really in the mainstream of social sciences, and that are using innovative theories and methods in their fields. This really encourages to keep a “good spirit” and to carry on for a littly while (Thanx to S.). And by the way it is a lot of pleasure and fun to hang around with these people (Thanx to S. and M.).

I am really looking forward to the next ISPP Conference in Dublin and hope to organize atleast one panel or workshop that is concentrating on this “otherness” of perspectives, theories and research methods in political psychology and more general, in the social sciences.

If you are interested in the papers I presented at the conference, please check the publications-page at this blog, where you can load them down as pdf-files. Comments of any kind are welcome.

31st ISPP Annual Meeting in Paris

On Wednesday 9th July 2008, the 31st Annual Meeting of the International Society for Political Psychology will open its doors at Sciences Po, Paris. I am really looking forward to this conference, not only because Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in Old Europe, but also because there will be some very interesting panels. To learn more about the conference program, pleas visit the conference homepage. You can also search all papers presented of the conference there. I will present two papers. One ison an empirical research project about postmodernity and personality conducted in Germany. The other is a bit like selling coals to Newcastle, as it is named “Learning from Baudrillard and Foucault. Consumer Culture, Social Milieus and The Governmentality of Lifestyle” and is presented in Paris.I am looking forward to inspiring discussions.

This also means that I will be out of office most of the next week – sorry.

Brunei Darussalam / Vorschau

In der Reihe “Politik ist überall reloaded” wird heute abend Patrick Theiner referieren über “Brunei Darussalam, oder: DIe GEschichte von 1932 Autos und den Parteien, die keiner wählen darf”. Aus aktuellem Anlass beginnt die Veranstaltung schon um 19 Uhr c.t. Im Anschluss wird das EM-Viertelfinale Portugal-Deutschland übertragen. Wenn Sie also die perfekte Gelegenheit suchen, Politik und Sport zu verbinden, kommen Sie ins Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Raum 124.

Nächste Woche ist es dann soweit. Das Geheimnis um die Sneak Preview wird gelüftet werden. Nur soviel vorneweg: Das Thema ist echt aufregend und total nah am richtigen Leben. Auch ist die Sitzung total engendered und es wird mehr als einen special guest geben…. Dann auch wieder zur normalen Zeit 20 Uhr c.t, Donnerstag, 26.Juni.

Wie immer gilt: Der Weg zum IfP lohnt sich, für Getränke (gegen einen kleinen Obulus) ist gesorgt.