Politics and Society

Prof. dr. Jeroen van der Waal

Jeroen is Full Professor of Sociology of Stratification. Explaining the political ramifications of social stratification in Western societies is the bedrock of his research program.

Funded by  various competitive research grants, he especially analyses the various ways in which status hierarchies are salient for a wide range of political issues. He does so by uncovering the mechanisms that underlie well-established relationships between status markers such as education on the one hand, and political attitudes, institutional distrust, and voting behavior on the other.

Conducting theoretically informed empirical research is what makes him tick, and is inspired by Arthur Stinchcombe’s adage that a researcher “who has difficulty thinking of at least three sensible explanations for any correlation that [they are] really interested in should probably choose another profession.”

More information on his research can be found here:

Prof. dr. Willem de Koster

Willem is Full Professor of General Sociology, in particular Cultural Sociology and elected member of the Young Erasmus Academy. He analyses how social groups give meaning to social issues, how this informs their actions and how it shapes their responses to new information and the (urban) environment they live in.

Scholars and policymakers increasingly recognize that such an eye for culture is crucial for understanding pressing social issues, such as societal clashes about governmental policies and democratic institutions and unresponsiveness to information campaigns.

Willem engages in interdisciplinary research addressing contemporary social issues through both quantitative and qualitative methods. In so doing, he aims for both academic impact and societal relevance. This is evidenced by a combination of various competitive research grants and academic publications on the one hand with knowledge dissemination through public outlets, lectures and governmental advisory bodies on the other.

For more information, please visit

Dr. Asya Zhelyazkova

Asya is Assistant Professor in European Politics and Public Policy at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has also worked as a senior researcher at the School of Management of Radboud University Nijmegen and at the European Politics Research Group at the Center for Comparative and International Studies at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Asya’s research interests focus on the complex interplay between EU politics, national policies and political actors, and citizen policy preferences. It is widely recognized that supranational institutions like the EU have transformed national political systems by compelling governments to adopt policies that meet pre-existing international commitments. The increasing transfer of powers to international organizations has raised questions about the legitimacy of new modes of governance. In her most recent research, Asya analyses the transparency of these supranational institutions and their responsiveness to citizen preferences. Her research also investigates the opportunities of citizens and civic actors to contribute to more effective implementation of European public policy.

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