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Junior Professorship for Comparative Politics

The professorship studies politics from a comparative perspective. Our research and teaching focuses on the theory-guided empirical analysis of democratic systems, processes and the behavior of citizens and political elites. For this, we draw on a range of tools including traditional quantitative research methods, text analysis, digital data and computational methods.

Thematically, the work of the professorship focusses on three topics: Democracy and democratic backsliding; migration and right-wing populism; as well as digital politics. Questions include but are not limited to: How and when do democratic systems become contested? Is democracy in crisis? How does immigration shape political conflicts in Europe? Can right-wing parties influence politics? How does digitalization transform processes of opinion formation and the communication between elites and citizens?

Recent Publications

Edited Volumes:


Journal Articles:

  • Gessler, T., & Hunger, S. (2022). How the refugee crisis and radical right parties shape party competition on immigration. Political Science Research and Methods, 10(3), 524–544. https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2021.64

  • Gilardi, F., Gessler, T., Kubli, M., & Müller, S. (2021). Social Media and Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Switzerland. Swiss Political Science Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12458

  • Gilardi, F., Baumgartner, L., Dermont, C., Donnay, K., Gessler, T., Kubli, M., Leemann, L., & Müller, S. (2021). Building Research Infrastructures to Study Digital Technology and Politics: Lessons from Switzerland. PS: Political Science & Politics, First View, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096521000895

  • Gilardi, F., Gessler, T., Kubli, M., & Müller, S. (2022). Issue Ownership and Agenda Setting in the 2019 Swiss National Elections. Swiss Political Science Review, 28(2), 190–208. https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12496

  • Gessler, T., Tóth, G., & Wachs, J. (2021). No Country for Asylum Seekers? How Short-Term Exposure to Refugees Influences Attitudes and Voting Behavior in Hungary. Political Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-021-09682-1

  • Borbáth, E., & Gessler, T. (2021). How Do Populist Radical Right Parties Differentiate their Appeal? Evidence from the Media Strategy of the Hungarian Jobbik Party. Government and Opposition, 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1017/gov.2021.28

  • Borbáth, E., & Gessler, T. (2020). Different worlds of contention? Protest in Northwestern, Southern and Eastern Europe. European Journal of Political Research, 59(4), 910–935. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12379


Book chapters:

  • Kriesi, H., Hutter, S., Bojar, A., Altiparmakis, A., Gessler, T., Hunger, S., Pilati, K., & Schulte-Cloos, J. (2021). Introduction: A New Approach for Studying Political Contention – Contentious Episode Analysis. In A. Bojar, H. Kriesi, S. Hutter, & T. Gessler (eds.), Contentious Episodes in the Age of Austerity: Studying the Dynamics of Government–Challenger Interactions (S. 3–23). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009004367.003

  • Gessler, T., & Hutter, S. (2021). Actor Configurations and Coalitions in Contentious Episodes. In A. Bojar, H. Kriesi, S. Hutter, & T. Gessler (eds.), Contentious Episodes in the Age of Austerity: Studying the Dynamics of Government–Challenger Interactions (S. 91–109). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009004367.008

  • Gessler, T., & Hutter, S. (2021). Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Mapping Contentiousness. In A. Bojar, H. Kriesi, S. Hutter, & T. Gessler (eds.), Contentious Episodes in the Age of Austerity: Studying the Dynamics of Government–Challenger Interactions (S. 67–90). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009004367.007

  • Gessler, T., & Kyriazi, A. (2019). Hungary – A Hungarian Crisis or Just a Crisis in Hungary? In S. Hutter & H. Kriesi (eds.), European Party Politics in Times of Crisis (S. 167–188). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108652780.008

  • Gessler, T., & Schulte-Cloos, J. (2020). The Return of the Economy?: Issue Contention in the Protest Arena. In B. Wüest, H. Kriesi, J. Lorenzini, & S. Hausermann (eds.), Contention in Times of Crisis: Recession and Political Protest in Thirty European Countries (S. 128–146). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108891660.007

  • Hutter, S., & Gessler, T. (2019). The Media Content Analysis and Cross-Validation. In S. Hutter & H. Kriesi (eds.), European Party Politics in Times of Crisis (S. 53–72). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108652780.003