Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Political Sociology and Social Policy


Final Thesis (MA/BA)

The chair supervises theses in the field of political sociology and social policy (see the chair’s subject areas). It is recommended that topic and questions should be developed and prepared in the courses taught by the chair’s team. The research topic should be agreed upon at an early stage and concretized in a short synopsis. The development of the synopsis is a condition for participation in the research colloquium. Regular participation and presentation of a research design in the research colloquium are expected.


Courses in Summer Semester 2024


53090 SE (MA) Advanced Theories of Policy-Making

Lecturer: Hanna Schwander

Governments need to solve societal problem and public policies are the result of their problem-solving effort. The course introduced Master and PhD students to the Comparative Political Economy perspective on the policy-making process focusing on the core problems of our time: Democracy, inclusive growth and climate change. The tension between democracy, based on the promise of equality, and capitalism, based on the promise of freedom, is a core question of comparative political economy. We first discuss this tension. We then expand the question and discuss whether the tension between growth and democracy changes into a trilemma between growth, democratic governance and climate change where countries can only achieve two goals at the time.

Students will write an essay of 4000 words on the subject of the course and discuss their position in a final session. Please note that this is a reading-intensive course, which is why it is organized in roughly bi-weekly structure to give students time to process the readings and advance their project.


53171 CO (BA/MA) BA-, MA- und Doktorand:innen-Kolloquium

Lecturer: Hanna Schwander

Das Forschungskolloquium richtet sich an Studierende, die eine Fragestellung im Bereich der politischen Soziologie oder Sozialpolitik untersuchen. Vorzugsweise haben Studierende bereits eine oder mehrere Veranstaltungen von Dozierenden des Lehrbereichs besucht.

Das Kolloquium folgt einem zweistufigen Verfahren: In einem ersten Schritt reichen Studierende ein einseitiges Kurzexposé ein, welches individuell mit mir besprochen wird.

Die Entwicklung und Einreichung des Kurzexposés über Moodle bis spätestens 5.5. (18.00) ist Bedingung für die Teilnahme am Forschungskolloquium. In einem zweiten Schritt entwickeln Sie ein Forschungsdesign (FD), welches Sie im Kolloquium präsentieren.

Mögliche Fragestellungen, die Sie gerne bearbeiten können, finden Sie hier:

Die regelmäßige Teilnahme am Kolloquium, die Präsentation Ihres FD sowie 2-3 Kommentare zu 4 Designs Ihrer Kommiliton:innen im Forum der entsprechenden Sitzung werden erwartet. Die Kommentare sollen bis 8 Uhr des Tages der Präsentation ins Forum gepostet und in der entsprechenden Sitzung diskutiert werden. Bitte laden Sie Ihr FD bis Donnerstag 12.00 Uhr vor der Präsentation ins Forum, so dass Ihre Kommiliton:innen genügend Zeit zur Formulierung konstruktiver Kritik haben.  

Zur ersten Sitzung in der zweiten Vorlesungswoche (22.4.2024) treffen wir uns in Präsenz, die Besprechung der Kursexposés und der Forschungsdesigns wird online stattfinden.


53044 VSE (BA) Reactionary Politics in Liberal Democracies

Lecturer: Luke Shuttleworth

Across the globe, we have witnessed the resurgence of far right parties and social movements, as well as the normalisation and mainstreaming of reactionary political demands and discourses. In this seminar, we will look at how reactionary political actors and ideas have been mainstreamed in liberal democracies. Next to analysing how far right actors mobilise and gain support, we will also examine the role which mainstream parties and media play in amplifying and legitimising reactionary politics in the mainstream. We will also critically assess how existing inequalities and social injustices embedded in liberal democracies provide opportunities for far right actors to mobilise. The seminar closes with a deeper look at counter-measures and the ways in which state actors, civil society, and activist groups can resist and combat the mainstreaming of reactionary politics.

The seminar involves a mix of formats including direct inputs from the lecturer, individual and group assignments, discussions during class, and the watching of a documentary film. At the end of the seminar, students are required to submit a term paper. The paper needs to cover a topic relevant to the course and include an empirical analysis. Students are free to choose their topic and methodological/theoretical approach. The seminars will take place in English. Term papers can be submitted in English or German.

More information on the course can be found here:


530541 SE (BA) Dynamics of far-right mobilization in Western Europe

Lecturer: Damla Keskekci

This seminar aims to provide the participants with a general yet inclusive outline of the contemporary research on far-right mobilization in Western Europe, with a focus on its potential for transnationalization, or in other words, transnational diffusion. Following a social movements perspective, this seminar looks at various far-right actor types and their multifaceted online and offline mobilization strategies for purposes such as becoming transnational. The seminar is especially suitable for those who are willing to learn about the definitions of the far-right, mobilization theories and the far-right, the process of transnationalization for (far-right) social and political mobilizations, and the historical trajectory of far-right mobilization in Western Europe. Participants will also gain a comprehensive insight into various research methods used for exploring far-right mobilization and transnationalization. Key objectives of the seminar include equipping students with the analytical tools to dissect far-right politics and mobilization both theoretically and empirically. At the end of the seminar, by critically engaging with diverse interdisciplinary perspectives and case studies, students will develop a nuanced understanding of far-right mobilization and its potential transnationalization, as well as the implications of these processes for liberal democracy.

The preliminary syllabus can be found here: