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: www.jeroenvanderwaal.com

Dr. Willem de Koster

Willem is Associate Professor of 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 www.willemdekoster.nl.

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.

Kjell Noordzij, MSc

Kjell is a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. His research is primarily focused on the role of status and contestation of status beliefs in contemporary cultural and political conflicts. His research is part of prof. dr. Jeroen van der Waal's project "What Explains the Educational Gap in Distrust of Institutional Professionals? Scrutinizing the Role of Affinity with Elite Culture." Kjell researches why less-educated citizens trust politics and political professionals less than their more educated counterparts. By combining insights from political science and cultural sociology, he empirically uncovers the role of perceived cultural distance to the lifestyles and attitudes of politicians among less-educated citizens. For more information on this project, see www.dutchculturewars.com.

Josje ten Kate, MSc.

Josje is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. She applies a cultural-sociological perspective to aid understanding of contemporary social issues, such as social disparities in mental health and institutional trust. Central in this endeavour is the disentanglement of how social and cultural resources play a role in these issues, and how social groups attribute meaning to them. This approach also informs her PhD project, in which she aims to understand vaccine scepticism among Dutch parents. In this project, Josje combines a cultural-sociological attention for processes of meaning-making with a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including in-depth interviews, statistical analyses, and survey experiments.