Doctoral Students

Alexandra Berger (Seminar for Political Science and Political Didactics)

Research focus:

"Development Cooperation as a means of European Union external Migration Management: Trade-offs, inconsistencies, and implications for EU institutional balances"

This doctoral project investigates the question of how the EU uses development cooperation as a means of external migration management. In the course of the so-called refugee crisis, the strategy of including countries of origin and transit in migration management is becoming increasingly popular both at EU level and in the member states. This phenomenon is known in academia as the externalisation of EU migration policy. The externalisation strategy aims to ensure that people do not set off for Europe in the first place but find protection in their countries of origin and other third countries. This approach is also called the cause of flight approach, as it aims to eliminate the causes of flight. Development cooperation plays a central role in externalisation policy and in the causes of flight approach. In this context, actors from development cooperation complain that migration management infiltrates them and disregards their actual goals, such as sustainable poverty reduction. This project sees EU development cooperation and EU migration policy as separate policy areas that have recently become intertwined. The hypothesis is that this will create a new EU "development migration policy field". In this sense, this doctoral project asks about the constitution of this policy field by the refugee crisis and about possible different logics of action and paradoxes of this policy field. In addition, the question is asked to what extent the emergence of this policy field has an influence on the institutional network of the EU.

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Isabelle Chaplot (Seminar for German Studies)

Research focus:

"Der Heilige Mensch: Aspekte von kinematographischer Erinnerung im europäischen Nachkriegskino"

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Maria Höppe (Seminar für evangelische Theologie)

Research focus:

The comparison of Christian and Islamic textbooks with regard to their dialogue potential

In this dissertation project, Christian and Islamic textbooks are examined for their image with regard to the other religion. It will be examined which dialogue potential is conveyed to pupils* and teachers* by the textbooks. In a second step, these results will be compared so that a picture of the various religious books in connection with interreligious and dialogical questions becomes clear, especially from comparative theology.

Tobias Nickl (Sociology seminar)

Research focus

Social Services for People in Need of Permanent Help in Europe: Potentials of a Deeper European Integration

Within the EU, social services, such as care for the elderly or people with disabilities, are organised on a national basis. The 2006 EU Services Directive even explicitly excludes the sector from the European integration process. At the same time, the demand for cross-border social services is increasing with increasing employee mobility. This project will explore the possibilities of deeper European integration in this sector. The approaches for this research include the comparison of welfare state systems, the importance of solidarity between member states for past integration attempts, and parallels to the (more advanced) integration of the health services sector.

Suat Alper Orhan (Seminar for Political Science and Political Didactics)

Research focus:

"The Convergence of the Far-right and Far-left Political Parties on the Socioeconomic Policies in Europe"

This research investigates the realignment and the dealignment processes of the radical parties in Europe, especially focusing on the stances of immigration, class appeal and attitudes towards the European Union integration. The project aims to demonstrate the changing and overlapping nature of radical and mainstream politics in Europe while identifying the factors that incite such shifts throughout the 21st century.

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Efe Can Özek (IIM, Comparative Institutional Analysis)

Research focus

"The Relevance of Migrant Integration Policies in Prevention of Diaspora Nationalism"

Following the arrival of the Gastarbeiter (guest workers) in the 1960s and 1970s, German states have pursued various migrant integration policies. While some German states have introduced inclusive and liberal policies, the others have followed a rather assimilationist approach. Since the results of recent studies illustrate that, although to a varying extent, migrant integration policies have an impact on diaspora nationalism, this dissertation concerns with the third generation of migrants, and seeks to understand what role migrant integration policies play in the persistence of ethnic retention.


Sören Carlson (seminar für Sociology)

Research focus:

  • Europäisierung/Transnationalisierung
  • Mobilität
  • Bildung
  • soziale Ungleichheit

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Lea Valentin (Sociology seminar)

Research focus:

Feminismus - als Theorie und in der Praxis

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Monika Verbalyte (Seminar Sociology / Project ValCon)

Monika Verbalyte has B.A. in Political Science from University of Vilnius (2007) and M.A. in European Sociology from Freie Universität Berlin (2010). From 2015 to 2020, she was Research Fellow in the project "Network Europe: Transnational Human Activities and European Integration" at University of Magdeburg ( and now joins Europe-University of Flensburg and ICES in the project "Value Conflicts in a Differentiated Europe (ValCon)" lead by Prof. Monika Eigmüller ( Monika Verbalyte is also a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin. Her doctoral thesis "The Emotional Dynamics of Political Scandal" examines how emotions of the public are produced, articulated and shaped by the media during the political scandal. Her research interests include emotion sociology, political communication, political attitudes and behavior, European sociology, social network analysis and discourse methodology. She has already published some peer-reviewed articles in European Journal of Political Science and Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research. In the later, she is now also a guest-editor of the special issue on affective reactions on political crises in Europe and in American Behavioral Scientist on the link between populism and emotions.

Anna Vormann (Sociology seminar)

Research focus

"Who becomes a European Teacher?

A Bourdieusian approach to internationalisation in teacher education: A cross-field application of the notion of the ‘transnational habitus.’"

This research is concerned with the Europeanisation of teacher education viewed through a sociological lense.

As recognised by policy makers in the European Union (EU), administrators, and scholars alike, teacher education in all EU member states has to prepare teachers for the demands presented by internationalisation and a global context. On a related note, a widely voiced argument is that there is need for increased political and institutional commitment to internationalisation and Europeanisation in teacher education. This work will be concerned with different questions which arise against this background. A central idea discussed here is the concept of the European teacher as a model the EU is striving to create through the internationalisation of and by infusing a global and European perspective into teacher education – with the result to produce educators who can support all students and who can teach from multicultural, global and ethnorelativist perspectives. But how do European teachers become European teachers and who becomes a European teacher? This work approaches these questions through social theory, specifically Pierre Bourdieu´s concepts of social fields and habitus. In line with many recent scholarly works, I aim to apply Bourdieu´s toolbox and explore the notion of transnational habitus in the context of different social fields with the intend to analyse the formation of a transnational habitus – if and under which conditions it emerges and who develops it. In this work, I will explore the notion of transnational habitus as a possible feature of the European teacher and challenges for teacher education in Europe arising in this context.

Craig Willis (Sociology seminar)

Katarína Stratená (Sociology seminar)

Doglas Nunes-de-Sousa (IIM - Comparative Institutional Analysis)

Martin Bittner (social pedagogy department)

Research foci:

  • Internationalisierung und Globalisierung (und dem darin enthaltenen Europa Bezug) in der Lehrer*innenbildung
  • Weitere Schwerpunkte in Lehre und Forschung

    • Ethnographie und Diskursethnographie
    • Rekonstruktive Sozialforschung
    • Verhältnisse zwischen Schule, Familie und Raum
    • Institutionen aus praxistheoretischer Perspektive
    • Erzieherische und pädagogische Grenzverschiebungen
    • Bildung und Gewalt

Further Information

Jule Govrin (philosophical seminar)

Research focus:

  • Politische Philosophie 
  • Sozialphilosophie
  • Politische Ideengeschichte
  • Feministische Philosophie
  • Philosophie der Ökonomie
  • Ästhetik
  • Körpertheorien
  • Philosophie der Emotionen/Affektivität

Further Information

Dr. Tobias Nanz (Europäische Medienwissenschaften)

Stefan Wallaschek (Seminar für Soziologie/ Projekt ValCon)