20122020

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Research interests

In my thesis, I use latent transition modelling to explain alienation from politics, leading to abstention among first-time voters. Most research on abstention pays far too little attention to the development of civic identities but treats each election as a stand-alone event in a citizen’s lifetime. If anything, political socialisation is considered.

Instead, my central thesis is that we need to understand civic subjectification in the context of adolescence, a time of multiple transitions and vulnerabilities. Since evidence from survey and experimental research shows how anxieties (especially about the future) are detrimental for voting, we need to better understand the exposure to insecurities and the unequally distributed abilities to cope with these insecurities, if we want to know why young people do not exercise their right to vote. Using longitudinal data on young people in England aged 13 to 20 (LSYPE 2004-10), I show how different forms of insecurity solidify into, what I call, “states of precarity” which significantly affect first-time voters’ likeliness to vote.

This approach speaks to debates in political sociology about abstention as the new politics of class. With my background in education and social stratification research, with its plethora of research on and explanations for the reproduction of social inequality (expressed not at last through the decisions people take), it amazed me how scarcely these findings are received in political sociology. I thus want to connect these fields with my research. On the other hand, I deliberately use the terminology of precarity to connect at the same time with the growing body of research into precarious working and living conditions to re-emphasise the political character (in cause and consequence) of precarity. However, as precarity is not a fringe phenomenon anymore, neither are its repercussions – if precarity alienates voters, it lastingly obstructs representative democracies. 

External positions

Researcher, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna

20092015

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