I am a political sociologist at Utrecht University, where I work as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Previously, I was a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and a postdoctoral researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Inequality Studies (AMCIS) (both University of Amsterdam). In 2013 I received my PhD degree (cum laude) from the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). My dissertation, titled “A Populist Zeitgeist? The Impact of Populism on Parties, Media and the Public in Western Europe”, won the annual dissertation award of the Dutch and Flemish political science associations (NKWP/VPW). Recently, I received a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the research project “Building or Burning Bridges? Social Polarization and the Pervasiveness of Pro- and Anti-Immigration Messages”.
My research focuses on the rise of populist radical left and radical right parties. On the one hand I study the causes of the upsurge of these parties. Which people vote for these parties and why? And which social, political and economic circumstances generate a fertile breeding ground for populist radical left and right parties? On the other hand I assess the consequences of the upsurge of these parties. To what extent do they affect other actors in the electoral process (such as other parties and mass media)? And to what extent do they have an impact on public opinion? My work is published in journals such as the European Journal of Political Research, Party Politics, West European Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies and Government and Opposition. I recently co-edited the book “Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties in Western Europe” (Routledge).
I have developed and taught various courses in Bachelor and (Research) Master programs of various departments and universities, concerning a wide variety of topics such as comparative politics, populism, research methodology and the sociology of organizations. Recently, I have developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Basic Statistics for the online platform Coursera. Since its launch in January 2016 it has already been viewed by more than 175.000 people.
I regularly write about my research in newspapers and magazines and on weblogs. My Dutch work has appeared in NRC Handelsblad, nrc.next, Trouw, de Volkskrant, Het Parool, Openbaar Bestuur and Socialisme & Democratie. I have also published English articles on various weblogs, such as the Monkey Cage, Policy Network, Democratic Audit, and the European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) Blog of the London School of Economics. Further, I am co-founder of the Dutch political science blog Stuk Rood Vlees, co-convener of the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy, and co-director of the Hot Politics Lab (an interdisciplinary research group combining experiments, physiological measurement and automated text analysis to analyze the role of emotions, personality and language in politics).
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