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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Research Group: Political Analysis

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Politics & International Relations (PAIR) at the University of Southampton has a commitment to social scientific understandings of government, politics and society. We promote the use of a range of quantitative and qualitative empirical methods, with an emphasis on analytic reasoning, research design and methodological sophistication. Our expertise in this area is evidenced by the five PAIR staff working in the broad field of political analysis as well as other colleagues in Social Sciences with research interests in this area.

The Political Analysis Research Group has a wide range of substantive interests and methodological expertise. Particular areas of research strength include:

Political parties

Interest groups

Democratic innovations

Media and political communication

Public opinion and electoral behaviour

Comparative politics

Research methods

Dr. Adriana Bunea

Research profile

My research expertise lies in the field of comparative politics, with a focus on EU lobbying, policymaking and bureaucratic politics, the structure and dynamics of systems of interest representation and the methodology of research on interest groups. My research examines the role of interest groups and consultations in EU politics and policymaking and systematically investigates key aspects such as factors explaining lobbying success, influence strategies and lobbying coalition behaviour, the impact of open consultations on the European Commission’s bargaining power in legislative decision-making and whether stakeholder consultations alleviate or reinforce bias in the EU system of governance. My research was published in international journals of political science such as Governance, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, European Union Politics and European Political Science. I was a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2012-13), a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (2013-14) and a Marie Curie Fellow at University College London (2014-16).

Current projects

Regulating lobbying and transparency in the European Union

The expertisation of stakeholder consultations (with Adam Chalmers and Raimondas Ibenskas)

Better Regulation in Europe (with Raimondas Ibenskas)

PhD supervision interests

European Union politics and policymaking, participative policymaking, stakeholder consultations, online governance, interest groups, lobbying. 

Dr. Raimondas Ibenskas

Research profile

My main research interests lie in the field of party politics in Western and Eastern Europe. Several of my recent research projects examine the patterns, causes and consequences of party transformations including party mergers, electoral alliances, splits and dissolution, as well as party organization and retrospective economic voting. I am also interested in lobbying, interest groups and regulation in the European Union, both from the substantive and methodological perspective. My research has been published in the British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, European Journal of Political Research, European Union Politics, Party Politics and European Political Science. Prior to joining Southampton, I was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Exeter and a Visby post-doctoral researcher (funded by the Swedish Institute) at the University of Gothenburg.

Current projects

Electoral competition after party splits in Europe

Party dissolution in established democracies (with Nicole Bolleyer)

European parties and party mergers and electoral alliances in Central and Eastern Europe

Party policy change in post-communist democracies

The expertisation of stakeholder consultations (with Adam Chalmers and Adriana Bunea)

Better Regulation in Europe (with Adriana Bunea)

PhD supervision interests

Party politics, legislative politics, Central and Eastern European politics, lobbying and policymaking in the European Union.

Professor Will Jennings

Research profile

My research interests are wide-ranging in the fields of public policy and political behaviour, including agenda-setting, public opinion, electoral behaviour, and policy disasters. As such I am interested in questions such as how issues get onto the policy agenda, how voters form their preferences over time (and how polls do or don’t line up with the eventual outcome as election day approaches), how voters judge the competence of parties, and why major projects and sports events go over budget so often. My work has been published in a wide range of journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, European Journal of Political Research, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science and Research Methods, and Governance. I was a member of the independent inquiry instigated by the British Polling Council and Market Research Society to investigate the performance of the pre-election polls at the 2015 general election.

Current projects

The Politics of Competence (with Jane Green)

The UK Policy Agendas Project (with Shaun Bevan)

The Rise of Anti-Politics in Britain (with Nick Clarke, Gerry Stoker and Jonathan Moss)

Comparative Analysis of Policy Blunders (with Martin Lodge and Matt Ryan)

A Comparative Study of News Influence on Party Support (with Gunnar Thesen, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Peter Mortensen, Rens Vliegenthart and Stefaan Walgrave)

The Bifurcation of Politics (with Gerry Stoker)

Citizens’ Assemblies (with Matthew Flinders, Alan Renwick and Graham Smith).

PhD supervision interests

Agenda-setting, anti-politics, political participation, policy disasters and mega-projects, electoral behaviour, public opinion.

Dr Matt Ryan

Research profile

I am motivated by a desire to understand how people can have more power over important decisions affecting their lives. My research asks how and when citizens can, should, and will take part in collective decisions. I am particularly interested in citizen participation in implementation and monitoring of political decisions, as well as in policy formulation. This has led me to further inquire as to what methods of analysis and forms of expertise best provide answers to wicked collective problems, and how we can redesign institutions to improve our experience and understanding of politics. The majority of my work engages directly in collaboration with stakeholders from government and civil society and I have worked with various government departments and agencies in the UK and abroad, local councils and associations, and networks of public participation practitioners. My peer-reviewed publications can be found in journals such as PS: Political Science and Politics, Politics, Political Studies Review, and Revista Internacional de Sociologia, as well is in book chapters with Policy Press and ECPR Press (visit Dr Matt Ryan publications for more information).

Current projects

Calibrating and Piloting a Toolkit of Indicators for Measuring Regional Policies on Access to Medicines in UNASUR (with Pia Riggirozzi and Ana Amaya)

Effectiveness of National Public Policy Conferences in Brazil (with Thamy Pogrebinschi)

Southampton People’s Panel and Citizen Science (With Southampton City Council and the Web Sciences Institute)

Comparative analysis of Democratic innovation (with

Comparative Analysis of Policy Blunders (with Will Jennings and Martin Lodge)

Civic Technology and failure of Democratic Innovation (with Paolo Spada)

Field experiments investigating nudges and citizen contributions to the public good (with Peter John, Gerry Stoker, Liz Richardson, Oli James and Alice Moseley)

Exploring the Philosophy of Comparative Method.

Areas of interest for PhD supervision

Participation in politics/governance, institutional design in democracies, comparative politics/public policy, relevance of political science to public policy, methods and methodology in political science.

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