Research Interests

My research has a strong interdisciplinary focus and lies at the intersection between Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Public Health.

Discrimination of mobile EU-citizens

Together with my colleagues Antia Manatschal (University of Neuchâtel), Eva Thomann (University of Konstanz), Christian Adam (LMU), Xavier Fernández-i-Marín (LMU), and Oliver James (University of Exeter) we aim at detecting and analysing discrimination against mobile EU. European Union (EU) integration allows EU citizens to freely move to, work, and study in other EU countries. EU law grants mobile EU citizens living in other member states rights and access to public services and programs. In this multilevel system, bureaucratic discrimination by national administrators applying EU law jeopardises mobile EU citizens benefiting from these services. Discrimination by bureaucrats is evident in many contexts. Still, we know little about how it compares to discrimination in broader societal populations and even less about how it can be tackled. This paper asks two questions: Is bureaucratic discrimination against mobile EU citizens merely a representative reflection of discriminatory behaviour within the society at large? And, can the explicit reference to existing EU laws minimize the risk of mobile EU citizens facing bureaucratic discrimination? We examine two policy areas – EU citizens’ access to local elections and social benefits. We choose Germany, a long-standing EU member with the highest influx of migrants over the last years, where migration and mobility are highly salient and politicized topics. We use survey experiments in a general population sample including a sub-sample of frontline bureaucrats (conjoint) and in a targeted sample of frontline bureaucrats.

The first part of our design is pre-registered with EGAP. The pilot study is financed by seed funding from the NCCR On the Move. Currently, we are working on the third paper that focuses on how perspective-taking may reduce discrimination.

National attachments, solidarity, and democratic values

Following the national identity argument (Miller 2002, 2017; Miller and Ali 2014), a strong identification with one’s country will lead to more social cohesion and solidarity. Yet, researchers have shown that feelings of belonging can be too strong and exhibit opposite effects than hypothesised by the national identity argument (Huddy and Khatib 2007; Pehrson et al. 2009; Shayo 2009). Some see an explanation in the rising influence of right-wing populist movements in Europe that continuously try to activate chauvinistic nationalist sentiments that draw a clear line between who belongs and who does not belong to the nation. Others argue that nationalism entails multiple dimensions of social cohesion, solidarity, and support. Hence, to fully understand the link between nationalism and solidarity, I aim to clarify how different forms of nationalism relate to redistributive solidarity.