The article "Swinging Leftward: Public Opinion on Economic and Political Integration in Latin America, 1997-2010", co-authored with Lara Minkus, has just been published open access at Latin American Research Review. The paper argues that coinciding with the shift to the left in Latin American politics, regional integration in Latin America accelerated during the last two decades. Yet, whereas support for European integration has been tracked systematically for decades, trend analyses of public opinion on Latin American integration are still missing. Combining data from eight Latinobarometer surveys on 106,590 respondents from seventeen South and Central American countries, this article provides the first longitudinal analysis of Latin Americans’ support for their continent’s economic and political integration. Using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression, we reveal intra- and intersocietal trends and cleavages. Our results show that support rates are generally declining from high initial levels. Furthermore, while gender and educational gaps in public opinion remained stable over time, considerable shifts occurred with regard to political orientation: starting from the lowest initial values, the left surpassed the right—and, at least in the case of support for political integration, also the center—to become the political wing favoring integration most highly. This finding shows, contrary to prevailing ideas, that the political center is not necessarily the primary supporter of integration. When regionalism is increasingly driven by left-wing governments, public support for regional integration may also swing to the left.
The paper "The Power of Contact: Europe as a Network of Transnational Attachment", coauthored with Jan Delhey, Monika Verbalyte, and Auke Aplowski, has just been published online first at the European Journal of Political Research. A free pre-print version is available here.
In this article, we propose transnational attachment as a novel indicator of sense of community in Europe, arguing that this hitherto neglected dimension is substantially and structurally different from alternative ones such as cross-border trust and identification. Combining Eurobarometer 73.3 data on ties between all EU-27 countries with further dyadic data, we show empirically that the European network of transnational attachment has an asymmetric core-periphery structure centered around five extremely popular countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). In line with transactionalist theory, cross-border mobility and communication are strongly related to transnational attachment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the network of transnational attachment is much denser among those with a higher than among those with a lower level of education. Our results suggest that offering European citizens incentives to travel to peripheral countries may help counterbalance the current asymmetric structure of transnational attachment, thereby increasing Europe’s social cohesion.
On Thursday, 12 October 2017, I successfully defended my PhD Thesis Mapping the Transnational World: Towards a Comparative Sociology of Regional Integration. The examination board, consisting of Prof. Dr. Jan Delhey, Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gerhards, Prof. Dr. Johannes Huinink, Dr. Franziska Deutsch, Dr. Arndt Wonka, and Ms. Nora Waitkus, unanimously decided on a "pass with distinction". I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment.