Ongoing Dissertations

Christoph Bruckmüller, M.A.

The Development of the Swedish Party System since 1988 (working title)

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Heinrich Pehle

The frozen Swedish party system first began to thaw in the year of 1988 – a longevity that made this system stand out in comparison to other Western European systems. Since then it has undergone diverse changes that make a study of the period after 1988 much more complex than it was prior to this turning point. A longitudinal analysis of the now more fluid Swedish party system has to consider not only stabilizing factors but also processes of change. As operationalization established party system dimensions are used, which are identified for each new plenum composition after elections and generate an instant empirical basis to make changes visible and describable. Such a structure analysis provides morphological descriptions of state for the party system and thus forms reference points to investigate the development in steady intervals. Since progress between these reference points does not have to be linear, developments in between have to be examined as well. A convincing advantage of an in-depth exploration of a single party system over the prevailing comparative research on Western European party system change is that there is no necessity to generate typologies; it therefore allows for more precise causal research, which is a main aim of this thesis. Such an approach requires identification and integration of different variables determining a party system, for which there is no consensus in political science so far. Furthermore, it is necessary to disentangle a network of changing sociological structures and varying electoral behavior as well as party strategies that are based on ideological mobilization of voters and institutional conditions for the forming of government. More generally speaking, the dense interrelations between agents and structures have to be analyzed. This leads to an analysis of the development of the Swedish party system on the national parliamentary level that embeds quantitative data into a qualitative context and provides causal explanations for the changes in the period since 1988.

Dipl.-Pol. Kristina Chmelarkristina-chmelar

Exhibiting Communism. A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of State-Organised Remembrance in Germany

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Heinrich Pehle


Patrick Michael Dino Finke, M.A.

The working method of the Bundesrsat committees

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

Up until now, the Bundesrat committees are a German constitutional body that has been largely neglected by both media and science. This is surprising since the committees play an integral part in the proceedings within the Bundesrat. The main task of the committees hereby consists of preparing decisions for the Bundesrat plenary which due to its workload usually only plays a notarial role.

The goal of this thesis therefore is to shed light on the working methods in the Bundesrat committees. To do so, the voting patterns of the Länder governments within selected committees is analyzed in a first step. By doing so, it is determined whether the voting behavior can be characterized by party conflict or by other motives. The following part of the thesis deals with the Länder representatives that are present in the committee sessions. Unlike the plenary where Länder ministers are usually present in the sessions, civil servants from either the Länder ministries or the country´s representation in Berlin dominate the committees. Moreover, it is common for those civil servants to remain responsible for the committees for many years. By conducting interviews, further insights into the work of this group of people are gained.

Dipl.-Pol. Florian Fößelflorian-foessel

Why was the Third Way of Social Democracy politically unsuccessful? A British-German comparison

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

The research project is about the Third Way of Social Democracy in Germany (Neue Mitte) and the UK (New Labour). The term Third Way refers to a political strategy aimed at recalibrating the programmatic objectives, policy instruments and traditional core values of Social Democracy. It was created in direct response to both the socio-economic challenges imposed by globalisation and the political rise of the New Right. On the policy level, the concept of the Third Way tries to reconcile right-wing economic and left-wing social policies by advocating a varying synthesis of Keynesianism and Neoliberalism. Despite overwhelming political and electoral success at the outset of the Third Way, it meanwhile has entirely vanished as central topic of Social Democracy’s programmatic and strategic agenda. This provokes the research questions: Why was the Third Way given up? And why today both the Labour Party and the SPD reject the strategy of the Third Way?

In order to explain the reasons for the rejection of the Third Way, the modernisation processes of New Labour and the Neue Mitte are compared and analysed in the context of a strategy-based party change. Therefore, the theoretical framework sets out internal, external and policy-related factors that determine success and failure of intentional party change. The guiding hypotheses is: The programmatic, political and strategic rejection of the Third Way is in both cases the result of a complex interaction between lack of internal legitimacy, conceptual policy-failures and the loss of electoral competitiveness. The empirical part of the research project is based on guided expert interviews with political actors and academics from Germany and the UK who were directly involved or have profound expertise in the conceptual planning and political implementation of the Third Way.

Dipl.-Pol. Felix M. Franckefelix_francke

Netzneutralität als Nebenbedingung politischer Kommunikation in digitalen Demokratien Europas

Advisor:  Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm


Dipl.-Pol. Manuel Kronschnabelmanuel-kronschnabel

From D’Hondt to Hare/Niemeyer – a study of the electoral system reform’s impact on the local party system and on current local politics in Bavaria

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

In 2010 the Bavarian Parliament changed the electoral system of local government level and replaced the method for the allocation of parliamentary seats, the D’Hondt formula, with a new allocation method, the Hare/Niemeyer formula. At the Bavarian local government elections of 2014 the Hare/Niemeyer method was used for the first time. Since 2016 the majority fraction in the Bavarian Parliament has shown efforts to withdraw this change of the local electoral system for the reason, that local party systems have fragmented increasingly, which may cause the local parliaments to malfunction. However, empirical studies, which verify these assumptions, don’t exist for the local government level in Bavaria.

This dissertation will research these both questions: How fragmented are the local parliaments in Bavaria in fact? How is the structure of local politics and of local decision-making processes in Bavaria and (last) what malfunctions as a consequence of fragmentation are thinkable?

A structural analysis of the local party systems should answer the first research question about the fragmentation. This analysis will show the development of the most important characteristics of party systems since the local election in 2002 until the latest election in 2014. In this analysis there will be a focus on the impact of the electoral system reform with the change of the seats allocation method. The second research question should be answered by an empirical survey, asking mayors and members of local parliaments in Bavaria how they evaluate current local politics and fragmentation.

Daniel Lemmer, M.A.daniel-lemmer

Spanish Party System Change from 1977 to 2017: Position Issues and Competition

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

The aim of this dissertation is to analyze the changes in the Spanish party system from 1977 until 2017 by developing a method to extract issue positions from electoral programs and to analyze the changes these undergo across time depending on the degree of political competition. The method is deductive and departs from the assumption that the primary function of political parties is not to form government, but to represent particular issues. This assumption is combined with assumptions about the expected behavior of parties gleaned from the party system change literature. Although the period under investigation ranges from 1977 to 2017, especially the later period also permits the analysis of the impact of the emergence of new parties on party behavior.

Constantin Schlachetzki, M.A.

Operationalizing Effectiveness and Efficiency of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security – Government and Private Sector Measures for Enhanced Security of Select Critical Infrastructure Sectors in Germany and the United States

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

Critical infrastructure is of paramount importance for the economic competitiveness, national security, and societal quality of life in industrialized countries. As a consequence, threats from cyber warfare to physical attacks abound. This dissertation aims at operationalizing the effectiveness and efficiency of protective measures and processes for hardening critical infrastructure.

Case studies and attack scenarios from two critical infrastructure sectors – maritime supply chains and chemical manufacturing – in Germany and the United States form the basis of this analysis. Microeconomic theoretical models are employed to develop a toolbox of quantitative and qualitative indicators for measuring how effectively German and U.S. protective programs secure the critical infrastructure of the homeland. A particular focus for this task rests on the minimization of potential security-relevant market failures such as interdependencies and security externalities.

The efficiency of critical infrastructure protection is subsequently evaluated based on cost-benefit-analyses. These provide indications for cost-neutral or benefit-generating homeland security investments. Quantitative benefits are calculated based on the minimization of potential human losses and economic cost of a number of attack scenarios on critical infrastructure – both from the physical security and the cyber security threat spectrum.

Martina Schlögel, M.A.martina-schloegel

Strategists in Robes. An analysis of factors that may influence judges of the German Federal Constitutional Court in light of studies examining possibly comparable influences on justices of the United States Supreme Court

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

Within its jurisdiction the German Federal Constitutional Court has the power to affect fundamental questions of political and social life. While the academic world has devoted much attention to studying the subsequent effects of the court’s decisions, there has been little effort to analyze the prior influences to which the judges are exposed, and the impacts such influences may have on their decisions.

The judges of the Federal Constitutional Court have tremendous power and strive for the nimbus of impartiality and objectivity. In the case of the U.S. Supreme Court, however, intense social science research has identified many factors that have been noticeably influential on the judges’ decisions.

This dissertation is discussing those factors of influence, makes a choice of possibly relevant factors for the Federal Constitutional Court, identifies further internal and external factors, which could be relevant for the specific context of the Federal Constitutional Court, and analyzes them empirically.

Antonios Souris, M.A.Bild Antonios Souris

The German Bundesrat and the European Union – participation between territorial interests, party competition and administrative coordination

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

Since the Single European Act and the Treaty of Maastricht, the German federal states (Länder) have contended successfully for extensive participation rights in European Union (EU) affairs, aiming at compensating them for their loss of competences due to European integration. Basic Law Article 23 provides for the involvement of the Länder. According to Basic Law Article 23(4), the Bundesrat shall participate in the decision-making process of the federation insofar as it would have been competent to do so in a comparable domestic matter or as the subject falls within the competence of the Länder. Yet, their objectives in EU affairs that have to pass the ‘bottleneck’ Bundesrat remain largely in the dark because the voting results – and hence individual positions of the Länder – are not documented in the plenary sessions. The dissertation project overcomes this empirical deficit by shifting the attention from the plenary sessions to the committees. Drawing on a new dataset that has been conducted within the scope of research project “Party Politics in the German Bundesrat. Voting behaviour in the Bundesrat Committees”, funded by the German Research Foundation, the Bundesrat’s decision-making in EU affairs will be revealed. Unlike in the plenary sessions, the committees register the individual votes of the Länder. Moreover, as the committees carry the main burden of substantive work in the Bundesrat, the complexity of its decision-making becomes more apparent in their procedures than in plenary decisions, which are of rather notarial character. This approach allows for a sophisticated analysis on the relative importance of sectoral, party political and federal interests of the Länder governments in EU affairs. It is the goal to trace decision-making both within the committees and from the committees to the plenary sessions and thus to explain the positioning of the Bundesrat in German policy towards Europe.


Victor Strogiesvictor-strogies

Engagement in „Lokalparteien“

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm


Tobias Thomala, M.A.tobias-thomala

Why did the Liberal Party of Canada loose its dominant position in the Canadian society and politics? (1980-2011)

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

The Liberal Party of Canada is not only the sole Canadian party in the House of Commons (2018) that is existing since the founding of the Confederation (1867) but also was seen as the “natural party of government” (c.f. R. Kenneth Carty). However a series of defeats on the federal level weakened the Liberal Party since 2006. In 2011 the Liberal Party did not win enough votes to form the Official Opposition and played only a marginalized role. The Liberal Party shared this fate with other parties like the Italian Christian democracy, the Irish Fianna Fáil, the Swedish SAP and the Japanese LDP in the past. Notwithstanding the Liberal Party of Canada was reelected in the federal election of 2015 with its leader Justin Trudeau being the 23rd prime minister of Canada, it is interesting to analyze the reasons for its former loss of influence. The loss of dominance of a political party in the national party system is an interesting and relevant research object in comparative politics leading to the research question of my ongoing doctoral thesis: Why did the Liberal Party of Canada loose its dominant position? In my thesis I will try to figure out the reasons for the loss of dominance, to weight them with regard to their significance and so far as it is possible to create a general explanatory model for the loss of party dominance. I will use a mixed methods design consisting of expert interviews and statistical secondary analysis. Because I assume the explanation to be multifactorial, the causes will be subdivided in long-term structural and short-term situative causes.

Questions for the analysis on a structural level are for instance the influence of the Canadian electoral system or the influence of value change in Canada. Situative influencing factors to be analyzed are for instance the candidates and leaders of the Liberal Party and political scandals. One problem of the analysis is the classification of the factors. Interacting factors have to be considered as do the difficulty that (structural) factors can have an external dimension (e.g. the electoral system) and an internal dimension (e.g. factors associated with the party organization of the Liberal Party of Canada). These circumstances have to be taken into account to allow for a comprehensive evaluation of the reasons and the conjunction of circumstances having led to the loss of dominance of the Liberal Party of Canada. The evaluation should be safeguarded by a statistical secondary analysis.

With the help of and thanks to a research stay in Canada subsidised by the Stiftung für Kanada-Studien I was able to conduct expert interviews with for instance journalists, politicians and academics and to collect other data which were not available in Germany (for instance with regard to regionalism in Canada).

Erik Vollmann, M.A.

One to reform them all: Managing Governance, Elites, and Impressions through Regionalization in Morocco? (working title)

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

Regionalization is presented as one of the most important reform projects of Morocco, dominating the official discourse and permeating many sectors of state politics as well as the international perception of the country. However, the real implementation or even legal outline of Moroccan decentralization or its ‘evolution’ towards regionalization might not keep track with expectations and official presentation. How does the reform process then contribute to regime persistence as principal target of (authoritarian) regimes? What is its real impact on governance, regional elite composition, and legitimation strategies?

Christian T. Wust

From Model Germany to the System of Corporate Governance

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm

The “System of Corporate Governance” is the transformation of the traditional “Modell Deutschland”. Both scenarios are representing a definition of the national economic collaboration and more specific the relationship von State and Economy. The traditional “Modell Deutschland” has several pillars. Those are the Power of banks, the strengths of the trade unions, Corporate co-determination, as well as specific qualities like long-term decision horizon from Company leaderships.

The traditional model – respectively its single pillars – face(s) drastic challenges behind the internationalized and globalized Economy. The State needs to act on those and while maintaining proven successful mechanisms/regulations as a whole or individual pieces thereof, he also needs to be inclusive for new conditions of the „Modell“. Within the Economy, the big corporations are the crucial stakeholders as they pursue Internationalization very strongly and vice versa are affected by it at similar levels.

As a consequence the guidelines for “Corporate Governance” has been conducted by political and economic Institutions.Behind this change, the “Modell” transformed to a system with existing and newly added factors – the “System of Corporate Governance”.The discipline of Political Sciences needs to define the term as Corporate Constitution and in broader sense as Constitution for the Economy, a system which defines the rules of relationship between the State and the Economy.