Candidate List

Biographical Sketches and Programmatic Statements

Candidates for C&M Chair & Vice-Chair

Chair: Zachary Elkins / Vice-Chair: Philippe Blanchard

Zachary Elkins is Associate Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Elkins’ research focuses on issues of democracy, institutional reform, research methods, and national identity, with an emphasis on cases in Latin America. He is currently completing a book manuscript, Designed by Diffusion: Constitutional Reform in Developing Democracies, which examines the design and diffusion of democratic institutions, and is the co-author of The Endurance of National Constitutions, which explores the factors that lead to the survival of national constitutions. Elkins conceived and co-directs both the Comparative Constitutions Project, a NSF-funded initiative to understand the causes and consequences of constitutional choices, and the website which provides resources and analysis for constitutional drafters in new democracies. Elkins earned his B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Philippe Blanchard, PhD in political science, is an Associate professor in political science at the University of Warwick, UK. He works on green politics, political communication, and methods for social and political sciences: multivariate statistics, longitudinal methods, interviewing, content analysis and digital data. He has taught methods and techniques for social and political sciences in France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, the USA, Germany and the UK. He co-convenes the ECPR Standing group on Political Methodology and is currently director in Warwick of the BA in "Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods", and co-director of the MA in "Politics and International Studies: Big Data & Quantitative Methods". Recent relevant publications: “Comprehensively Mapping Political Science Methods: An Instructors’ Survey.” International Journal of Social Research Methodology (2016, with B. Rihoux and P. Álamos-Concha); Advances in Sequence Analysis: Theory, Method, Applications. London: Springer (2014, with F. Bühlmann and J.-A. Gauthier)

Programmatic Statements

Zachary Elkins

This is a joint statement from Zachary Elkins and Philippe Blanchard. We (Elkins and Blanchard) are deeply appreciative of self-conscious, rigorous, and inventive approaches to Political Science methodology. We share rather eclectic research tastes and backgrounds and are open to a truly plural set of approaches, in both the qualitative and quantitative traditions. We both are committed to maintaining a healthy balance between data analytic methods and the attention to data collection and dissemination. Also, we seek to encourage the cumulation, replication, and comparison of methods and data. In particular, we recognize that the art of conceptualization and measurement is not only the foundation of any empirical endeavor, but also constitutes a thoroughly captivating genre in its own right. We feel humbled to have been a part of a committee founded by Giovanni Sartori (and nurtured by many of his followers) and we feel deeply committed to continuing to advance the work of the committee. Our programmatic goals for the committee are to increase the visability of the committee and to add to its tangible digital products. We are committed to updating and maintaining the C&M website, which is already a terrific resource, with intellectual news and products. Our base in both the Americas and Europe will allow us to reach broad audiences and to increase investment in the activities of the committee.

Philippe Blanchard

This is a joint statement from Zachary Elkins and Philippe Blanchard. We (Elkins and Blanchard) are deeply appreciative of self-conscious, rigorous, and inventive approaches to Political Science methodology. We share rather eclectic research tastes and backgrounds and are open to a truly plural set of approaches, in both the qualitative and quantitative traditions. We both are committed to maintaining a healthy balance between data analytic methods and the attention to data collection and dissemination. Also, we seek to encourage the cumulation, replication, and comparison of methods and data. In particular, we recognize that the art of conceptualization and measurement is not only the foundation of any empirical endeavor, but also constitutes a thoroughly captivating genre in its own right. We feel humbled to have been a part of a committee founded by Giovanni Sartori (and nurtured by many of his followers) and we feel deeply committed to continuing to advance the work of the committee. Our programmatic goals for the committee are to increase the visability of the committee and to add to its tangible digital products. We are committed to updating and maintaining the C&M website, which is already a terrific resource, with intellectual news and products. Our base in both the Americas and Europe will allow us to reach broad audiences and to increase investment in the activities of the committee.

Candidates for C&M Board

Chris Alcantara

Christopher Alcantara is associate professor in the department of political science at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Much of his research examines the roots of collective action and intergovernmental cooperation in Canada, especially between Indigenous communities and the other three levels of government (e.g. federal, provincial/territorial and municipal). He also writes about the importance of institutional design and the dynamics of institutional change using a variety of theoretical (e.g. rational choice, historical institutionalism, and political economy), conceptual (e.g. multilevel governance), and methodological approaches (e.g. archival research, elite interviews, experiments, and statistical analysis, the latter of which he relies heavily on his generous and talented co-authors!). He has also come to appreciate and to emphasize in his research the important role of agency in a variety of Canadian political arenas. He has written three scholarly books, A Quiet Evolution: The Emergence of Indigenous-Local intergovernmental Partnerships in Canada (University of Toronto Press: forthcoming fall 2016, co-authored with Jen Nelles), Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada (UTP: 2013) and Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (MQUP: 2010), the latter of which was coauthored with Tom Flanagan and Andre Le Dressay. He has published numerous journal articles in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, Public Choice, Publius: Journal of Federalism, Regional and Federal Studies, and Urban Affairs Review, among others. His research was a finalist for the Donald Smiley Prize in 2014, the Donner Prize in 2011 and the McMenemy Prize in 2013 and has won the 2014 International Council for Canadian Studies Pierre Savard Award for the best book in Canadian Studies, the 2014 Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d’études canadiennes Prize for the best book in Canadian Studies, the J.E. Hodgetts Award for best article in the journal, Canadian Public Administration, and the David Watson Memorial Award for "the paper published in the Queen's Law Journal judged to make the most significant contribution to legal scholarship.”

Programmatic Statement

If elected, I'd like to use my time on the board to create more publication and discussion spaces for conceptual development and research in political science. Initiatives might include exploring the possibility of a new online journal devoted to political concepts and conceptual innovation (e.g The Journal of Political Concepts and Methods), a blog on the website where members can summarize and publicize their research, and the use of new social media and other technological tools (e.g. podcasts, videos, and the like) to publicize the conceptual and methodological innovations being produced by our members.

Derek Beach

Derek Beach is a professor of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, where he teaches case study methodology, international relations, and European integration. He has authored articles, chapters, and books on research methodology, referendums, and European integration, and co-authored the books Process-tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines and Causal Case Studies (both with University of Michigan Press). He has taught qualitative case study methods at ECPR, IPSA summer and winter schools, the ICPSR program (May 2016, held short courses at the APSA annual meeting on Process-tracing and case-based research, and numerous workshops and seminars on qualitative methods throughout the world. He is also an academic co-convenor of the ECPR Methods Schools.

Programmatic Statement

In the past term I have been program coordinator for the section for the 2014 IPSA Annual Congress in Montreal, co-organized a joint workshop in September 2015 between RC01 and three other committees. In the next term, I would like to organise one or more workshops together with the ECPR standing group on Political Methodology.

Diego J. Gantus

I'm an Argentinean professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos and Universidad Nacional de Rosario. As a researcher, my work is focused on Public Policies and Administration. I'm head of Political Science Department (U.N. de Entre Ríos, 2014-2018), and Executive Director of the Inter-American Network on Public Administration Education (Red INPAE, 2016-2018). I also serve as Deputy General Secretary of the Argentine Society of Political Analysis (2014-2017) and as a Board Member of Argentine Society of Public Administration Studies (2015-2018).

Programmatic Statement

During my term, I would like to contribute to recent efforts aimed at increasing the visibility of the Committee’s work, with a particular focus on establishing a greater presence in social and professional networks. I'm also committed to bringing new members to the Committee and making their scholarly production more accessible to a wider disciplinary audience. Finally, I want to promote joint initiatives between the Committee and national political science associations. A collaborative C&M/Argentine Society of Political Analysis workshop I helped organize in 2013 can serve as a model in this regard. I see this kind of initiative as a way to address structural deficits in the teaching of methodology in parts of the world (such as Latin America) where our discipline has only recently become institutionalized.

Dilshod Achilov

Dilshod Achilov is Assistant Professor of Political Science at East Tennessee State University. He is a recipient of Alwaleed Fellowship from the National Council on US-Arab Relations. Dr. Achilov’s most recent research focused on formulating new conceptual models in measuring Political Islam, state regulation of religion, and risk-sensitive collective action in cross-national empirical research. His work also extensively examined the dynamics of contentious politics and comparative democratization in the Middle East and Central Asia. Methodologically, Dr. Achilov’s work employs mixed methods that draw from linear (and non-linear) models, structured equaliton modelling, set theory, and configurational qualitative comparative analysis (FS/QCA). His recent work has appeared in Social Science Quarterly, Democratization, International Political Science Review, Journal of Civil Society, Problems of Post Communism, Asia Policy, and other international peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Achilov’s research has contributued to the literature by introducing new conceptual models in the studies politics and religion: - Ideological Support for Political Islam [ISPI] index [Achilov and Sen, 2016] - Politically Moderate/Politically Radical Islamism [PMI and PRI] - (Achilov & Sen, 2016) - High Risk/Low Risk Collective Action [HRCA and LRCA] – (Achilov, 2015) - Permissive/Dismissive State Regulation of Religion [PSRR & DSRR] – (Achilov & Shaykhutdinov, 2013) Full CV:

Programmatic Statement

If elected as a board member of the Committee on Concepts and Methods (C&M), I intend to serve and work hard toward accomplishing the following objectives: - Being as an active advocate for all C&M members - Advance the strategic interests of C&M and help make the committee a more active and assertive player within IPSR and APSA community - Increase and expand the voice of C&M scholars in political science - Facilitate new projects aimed at broadening the research scope and accessibility of the C&M in international academic arena - Support the establishment of new venues (mainly in an online platform) through which scholars can collaborate in joint projects more effectively and efficiently - Help promote and defend equity and equality; ensure equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, race, nationality, and sexual orientation. And above all, I pledge my 100% to support the goal-oriented and high-impact initiatives/projects that will benefit all members and help realize the core mission of C&M. Thank you! Dilshod Achilov

Erica Simmons

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2012. My research and teaching are motivated by an interest in qualitative methods, contentious politics, everyday practices and livelihood strategies, and natural resource extraction. My current work explores the intersection of market reforms and political resistance in Latin America and my dissertation on the topic was awarded the Latin American Studies Association/Oxfam America 2013 Martin Diskin award. My forthcoming book, Meaningful Resistance: Market Reforms and the Roots of Social Protest in Latin America (Cambridge University Press 2016) tackles questions of resistance to the marketization of subsistence in Latin America. In the process of researching for and writing the book (and dissertation) I became interested in questions of qualitative methodological approaches. In particular, I began to explore questions of comparison—why and how we compare what we do and what we learn from those comparisons. I have published on questions of context in Comparative Historical Analysis (Comparative Political Studies July 2010, co-authored with Dan Slater) and have a forthcoming piece (co-authored with Nicholas Rush Smith) in PS: Political Science and Politics on the intersection of comparison and ethnography. I have also published in World Politics, Theory and Society, and Comparative Politics, among others. My research has been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the Mellon Foundation, and the Tinker Foundation.

Programmatic Statement

If elected to the IPSA C&M Committee Board I would focus on promoting substantive engagement among scholars on questions of comparison. I am most interested in helping to foster a discipline-wide conversation about why and how we compare the processes, practices, places, and organizations (just to name a few) that are at the core of politics. What kinds of comparisons are we making? What do are we learning from them? How are we training our graduate students to design comparative studies? How is our current thinking limiting the kinds of questions we can ask and explore? I am interested in pushing political scientists to expand the scope of how we think about what kinds of comparisons are useful for advancing theoretical knowledge. This requires building bridges across subfields and perceived methodological divides. It is also critical to further conceptual development in political science, as well as to how we study the objects of our inquiry.

Francisco Panizza

I am Professor in Latin American and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science and co-editor of the Conceptualizing Comparative Politics series published by Routledge for which I co-edited last year a book on "Conceptualizing Comparative Politics" (with Anthony Spanakos). Among my main research interests is the study of populism to which I have contributed with several publications that engage in the discussion of the concept and its empirical manifestations. I have also published on the politics of financial crises and on varieties of the Left in Latin America.

Programmatic Statement

I firmly believe in the indivisibility between conceptual and empirical research. I would like to contribute to the Committee's efforts to publish working papers that combine rich conceptual discussions and rigorous empirical analysis. Being based in one of the largest and oldest Government Departments in the UK with a strong CP group and with strong working connections with scholars based in Latin America (mainly South America) I would like to contribute to make the work of the Committee better known among my colleagues, particularly among young scholars and graduate students.

Frederic Schaffer

I am a professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My research bridges the subfields of comparative politics and political theory, with a substantive focus on election fraud, the administration of elections, and – most germane to the work of the Committee on Concepts and Methods – translating political concepts from one culture to another. I am the author of Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture (Cornell University Press, 1998), The Hidden Costs of Clean Election Reform (Cornell University Press, 2008), and Elucidating Social Science Concepts: An Interpretivist Guide (Routledge 2016). I also edited Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote Buying (Lynne Rienner, 2007). I have been an active participant in the Committee on Concepts and Methods, chairing it since 2009 and serving as a member of the C&M Working Papers editorial board since its inception in 2005. In addition, I served as C&M program chair for the 2006 IPSA World Congress in Japan.

Programmatic Statement

During my two terms as chair, I focused much of my attention on building the new C&M website, expanding our membership, securing related group status in the American Political Science Association, recruiting a new editor for the working paper series, and setting up joint projects with other IPSA research committees and national political science associations. If elected to the board my main objective will be to support the new chair and vice-chair of the committee and thus provide some institutional continuity for the committee. I will also continue to seek ways to increase the visibility of the committee, and the work of its members, to the wider discipline.

Jason Seawright

My active research interests include optimal multi-method design for discovery, causal inference, and descriptive inference; the politics of representation; and populism and mass political behavior. I have written books about party-system collapse in Peru and Venezuela, and a forthcoming volume, Multi-Method Social Science. My Ph.D. in Political Science, as well as masters degrees in Statistics and Political Science, are from the University of California, Berkeley.

Programmatic Statement

I believe that methodology, both in application and as a primary field of study, should be pluralistic, rigorous, and analytical. In my view, the Committee should be committed to promoting work on concepts and methods that meets these standards.

Magali Gravier

I am associate professor at the Copenhagen Business School. I teach EU politics and methods (predominantly qualitative methods). I received my PhD from the Sorbonne, did a post-doc stay at the European University Institute (Florence). I have previously taught at the Sorbonne (in French), the University of Leipzig (in French) and the University of Salzburg (in German). After having studied, for my PhD, the reintroduction of the “Beamten” system of civil service in two New Länder after German unification, I moved on to study the European Union’s civil service during my post-doc year. My current research on the EU comprises three topics. I study the Commission’s staffing policies and the issue of geographical balance using the theory of representative bureaucracy; I analyse the integration process using the concept of empire; I have started a study on the use of humour in daily interaction among Members of the European Parliament. My research combines comparative political science, historical approaches and socio-ethnographic approaches/methods. I am author of ‘Imperial Governance: Governing Inwards or Outwards?’, Geopolitics, 2015; 'Challenging or Enhancing the EU's Legitimacy? The Evolution of Representative Bureaucracy in the Commission's Staff Policies', Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2013; ‘Imperial administration: Comparing the Byzantine Empire and the EU’, in N. Parker (ed.) Empire and the international order, Ashgate, 2013; ‘Empire vs. federation: which path for Europe?’, Journal of Political Power, 2011; ‘The next European empire?’, European Societies, 2009; ‘The 2004 Enlargement Staff Policy of the European Commission: The Case for Representative Bureaucracy’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 2008; Good Bye Honecker! Identité et loyauté dans les administrations est-allemandes (1990-1999), Paris, Presses de Science Po, 2008. I served as board member in the RC3 ‘European Unification’ of the IPSA (2006-2012). My three working languages are English, French and German thus covering the two working languages of the IPSA.

Programmatic Statement

If elected, I would like to focus on the consolidation of qualitative methods of collection and analysis of data with the aim to increase their legitimacy and credibility vis-à-vis quantitative methods. Sensitivity to the importance of methods, especially qualitative methods, should be raised early in curricula of political science: I would also like to foster a reflexion among members of the RC 'Concepts and Methods' on renewed teaching approaches for these methods, so as to 1) promote early presence in curricula of political science methods courses developing these particular methods 2) in a form which not only teaches the theory of these methods but also the skills and crafts of these methods. I would like to promote a constructive dialogue between qualitative and quantitative methods as well as mixed-methods approach.

marcus kurtz

I have been working at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative methods for my entire career. My methodological work to date has focused on the centrality of appropriate conceptualization and measurement - especially in the arenas of rule of law and governance. I continue this work - and am now working on research design strategies appropriate for causal structures that differ from the typical potential outcomes framework.

Programmatic Statement

I seek to emphasize the centrality of measurement and research design for the appropriate pursuit of social science knowledge. Far too much effort has been spent on developing estimators and assessing their small and large sample properties, relative to that spent on foundational issues of proper conceptualization and measurement. Similarly, relatively more effort need be put on the appropriate research design strategies we use to assess our theories - against competitors - whatever their underlying causal structure.


I, Dr.A.RANJITHKUMAR, am working as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Dept. of Political Science and Development Administration, Gandhigram Rural Institute – Deemed University, Gandhigram, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India. I have been awarded Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Postdoctoral Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences (including languages) for the year 2014-15 University Grants Commission, New Delhi, Government of India. I have cleared National Eligibility Test in three subjects (Political Science, Human Rights and Duties, Public Administration). I have published various research papers in International and National journals and also published books. My research papers have presented in International and National seminars. I was working as an Assistant Professor during 2013 -2015. I have research experience for one year.

Programmatic Statement

Every six month, I will arrange an international workshop for political science students as well as scholars. I try to arrange a platform for all members of this committee to discuss current issues of political concepts and methods.

Robert Adcock

Robert Adcock's scholarship focuses on the emergence of contemporary social science in Europe and the United States, liberal theory, and the philosophy and methods of social science, especially qualitative and interpretive methods. He is author of Liberalism and the Emergence of American Political Science: A Transatlantic Tale (Oxford, 2014), and co-editor and co-author of Modern Political Science: Anglo-American Exchanges since 1880 (Princeton, 2007). His articles have appeared in a broad spectrum of journals, including American Political Science Review, Journal of Theoretical Politics, History of Political Thought, Journal of the Philosophy of History,and the Annual Review of Political Science; as well as in edited collections focused on interpretive methods and the history of the social sciences. From 2011–14 he was Editor of Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, an Organized Section publication of the American Political Science Association.

Programmatic Statement

Having pursued both positivist and interpretive concept analysis in my own research, I would be honored to serve on the C & M board and to help carry forward and further develop its valuable tradition of promoting methodological pluralism in concept analysis. Concept analysis encompasses a wide variety of activities, from analysis of the concepts of the political actors we study, to analysis of the substantive concepts used in our discipline, to analysis of the concepts we use in methodological teaching and reflection. I believe that in promoting methodological pluralism we must be sensitive to the varying ways in which different methodologies might best relate in different parts of this diverse domain, from promoting active collaboration and mutual learning in certain specific areas, to clarifying and respecting divergent aims and premises in others.

Rodolfo Sarsfield

Education Ph.D. in Political Science, FLASCO/Georgetown University/University of Salamanca M.A. in Political Science, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina B.A. in History, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina Biography Professor Sarsfield’s research focuses on the study of social norms, preference formation, and political attitudes, with an emphasis on the attitudes toward democracy, corruption, informal rules, and the rule of law in Latin America. Also, he focuses his research on concepts and methods in political science. He is the editor of one book and of one special issue for Justice System Journal (with Ryan E. Carlin). He has published more than two dozen journal articles and contributions to edited volumes. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in 2004. He has been Associate Researcher of the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University, and Affiliated Researcher of the Department of Legal Studies at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). Selected Publications Rodolfo Sarsfield (2014). “Political Corruption in Mexico” [Politische Korruption in Mexiko], in Barbara Schroter (Ed.), Das politische System Mexikos, Springer: Berlin, pp. 539-557. Rodolfo Sarsfield (2013). “Is Obeying the Law Individually Rational? Micro-Foundation of the Rule of Law” [¿Es racional, desde el punto de vista individual, obedecer la ley? Microfundamentos del estado de derecho], Gestión y Política Pública, 23 (2): 195-221 (2013). Rodolfo Sarsfield (2012). “The Bribe Game: Microfoundations of Corruption in Mexico”, Justice System Journal 33 (2): 215-235 (2012). Andreas Schedler and Rodolfo Sarsfield (2007). “Democrats with Adjectives: Linking Direct and Indirect Measure of Democratic Support”, European Journal of Political Research, 46 (5): 637-659. Rodolfo Sarsfield and Fabian Echegaray (2006). “Opening the Black Box. How Satisfaction with Democracy and Its Perceived Efficacy Affect Regime Preference in Latin America”, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 18 (2): 153-73.

Programmatic Statement

As it's well-known, quantitative and qualitative approaches vary in their methodological assumptions, research designs, and research practices. These differences include sensitive issues such as research questions, deductive versus inductive approaches, techniques of data recollection, and techniques of data analysis. However, from an important literature, the most important issue is on methods of inference (i.e., the use of concepts' attributes versus the use of variables and indicators; causal asimmetry vs. causal simmetry; case selection; error measurement) . Quantitative approach sustains that a unique logic of inference founded in statistical norms should guide both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Although this assumption has been rejected by outstanding scholars –such as David Collier, Colin Elman, Gary Goertz, James Mahoney, Gerardo L. Munck, Charles Ragin, Giovanni Sartori among others–, that idea reigns in most of the more prestigious universities and research centers. These ideas have important consequences in terms of selection and promotion for scholars working in these institutions. For these reasons, I propose that The Committee on Concepts and Methods should aim to increase our understanding of the ways in which quantitative and qualitative methods are different as well as the rationales behind those differences. The epistemic hierarchy of a single statistical logic of inference has had as an unfortunately consequence the absence of the recognition of other methodological foundations for the social inquiry, such as Boolean algebra and the set-theoretical approaches. With this idea in mind, I propose that C&M should pay more attention to two topics: research on meta-methodology in social sciences and research on qualitative logic of inference (i.e., QCA, Fuzzy-Set Analysis). This idea could be developed through the proposal of panels at APSA, IPSA and/or ASA and of the launching of an specific paper series on this topic (i.e., Multi-Methods Working Paper Series, Meta-Metodology Working Paper Series).

Rudra Sil

Rudra Sil is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also the SAS Director of the Huntsman Program in International Studies.  His research and teaching interests encompass comparative politics, international relations, Russian/post-communist studies, Asian studies, labor politics, development studies, qualitative methodology, and the philosophy of the social sciences.  He is author of Managing ‘Modernity’: Work, Community, and Authority in Late-Industrializing Japan and Russia (2002) and Beyond Paradigms: Analytic Eclecticism in the Study of World Politics (2010), coauthored with Peter Katzenstein. The latter was one of thirteen titles in international relations honored as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2011. Professor Sil’s articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, including Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Studies in Comparative International Development, Europe-Asia Studies, and Post-Soviet Affairs.  He is also author of more than a dozen book chapters and coeditor of four volumes, including The Politics of Labor in a Global Age (2001) and Reconfiguring Institutions Across Time and Space (2007).  Professor Sil is currently working on two books, Russia Reconsidered: The Fate of a Former Superpower, and Pathways of the Post-communist Proletariat: The Evolution of Labor Politics in Russia, China, and Eastern Europe. Some of the research for the latter book was presented in a paper (comparing Czech and Polish labor relations) that received the Award for Best Paper in Labor Studies presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA). Professor Sil holds a Ph.D (1996) form the University of California, Berkeley.

Programmatic Statement

I do not have any special insights or agendas that would distinguish me from others who have served on the C&M Board over the years. I can say, however, that I have been strongly committed since my days as a graduate student at Berkeley to explore connections and facilitate conversations across fields, subfields and research traditions. Of course, the problem of incommensurability presents quite serious challenges to working with concepts and analytic principles developed in separate research traditions. But, this need not stand in the way of exploring linkages between concepts, mechanisms, theories and interpretations that are ultimately designed to make sense of concrete empirical phenomena. If I end up on the C&M Board, I would strive to create a more permissive environment for eclectic cross-field conceptual and theoretical explorations, while recognizing the risks posed by incommensurability and the value of work produced within the confines of discrete research traditions. A general ethos of pluralism implies a non-zero-sum relationship between eclectic, integrative pursuits and more focused, disciplined projects developed within the boundaries of a given research tradition.

Simona Piattoni

Simona Piattoni (BA/MA Economics, Bocconi University; PhD Political Science, MIT) is Professor of Political Science at the University of Trento (Italy), having taught also at the Universities of Tromso (Norway), Innsbruck (Austria) and Agder (Norway). She has been President of the Conference Group on Italian Politics and Society (CONGRIPS), a related APSA section (2011-13), Chair of the Executive Committee of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) (2012-15) and is currently President of the Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP) (2015-18). She has studied clientelism and its impact on regional economic development (Clientelism, Interests and Democratic Representation, CUP, 2001); multilevel governance (The Theory of Multilevel Governance, OUP, 2010); and democracy in interconnected settings (The European Union: Democratic Principles and Institutional Architectures in Times of Crisis, OUP, 2015), a theme which she is currently pursuing further. A fuller CV and list of publications is available on her personal webpage.

Programmatic Statement

Throughout my career, I have mostly been interested in phenomena - whether economic, social or political - which somehow marked a transition. I have studied economic development, the shift from government to governance, and am currently engaged with the transition from national to transnational democracy. In all of these transitions, old concepts lose their original meaning or are no longer able to denote with sufficient precision the unfolding phenomena. I have therefore been drawn into conceptual analysis when studying clientelistic interest intermediation, the emergence of multilevel patterns of governance and the transition to a new notion of democracy apt for interconnected settings like the EU. I realize now that my main contributions have in fact been contributions to the sharpening and re-elaboration of concepts. I have revisited the concept of clientelsim (in addition to the 2001 CUP volume I also wrote two monographs in Italian 2005 and 2007, cf. my CV); I carried out an in-depth analysis of the theoretical core implicit in the notion of multilevel governance (in addition to the work mentioned in the bio-sketch, I have written another volume and many more articles and chapters); and I am now engaged in the deconstruction and reconstruction of the notion of democracy for transnational settings like the EU. The contradiction inherent in having to use existing concepts characterized by a distinct genealogy to denote new phenomena have induced me to explore in greater depth the field of conceptual analysis. While I have never written expressly on the theory of conceptual analysis, I have a keen sense of the need to work with sharp concepts or to qualify existing concepts and/or to coin new ones to indicate the new phenomena. Examples are "virtuous clientelism" which I used to explain the positive role that clientelistic interediation can have for economic development; "multilevel governance", which I adopted to denote the transformation of the Westphalian state under the impact of sub- and infra-national mobilization; and "hapticity" which I imported from architectural theory to describe the necessary qualities of the institutional architecture of an interconnected polity like the EU. As member of the C&M board I plan to contribute to raise awareness for the need to disentangle existing concept from their fading referents and to coin new or qualified concepts which can capture the emerging phenonema without creating useless distinctions without difference. I also pledge to continue to update my conceptual and methodological skills which I, like I suspect many mid-career colleagues, need to constantly consolidate and refine.

Thad Dunning

Thad Dunning is Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and directs the Center on the Politics of Development. He studies comparative politics, political economy, and research methods. His current work on ethnic and other cleavages draws on field and natural experiments and qualitative fieldwork in Latin America, India, and Africa. Dunning has written on a range of methodological topics, including causal inference, statistical analysis, and multi-method research. He is chairing the inaugural EGAP regranting initiative, which aims to achieve greater cumulation of findings from experimental research on international development and political accountability. Dunning is the author of several award-winning books, including Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach (2012, Cambridge University Press—winner of the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Experiments Section), and Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes (2008, Cambridge University Press—winner of the Best Book Award from APSA’s Comparative Democratization Section). He also co-authored Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which won the 2014 Luebbert Prize for best book in comparative politics and the Best Book Award of APSA’s Comparative Democratization Section. Dunning’s articles have appeared in several journals, including the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Political Analysis. Dunning received a Ph.D. in political science and an M.A. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley (2006). Before returning to Berkeley, he was Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

Programmatic Statement

I am committed to advancing multi-method research, in the context of a pluralistic research tradition that recognizes the distinct leverage provided by different methods. If selected, I look forward to joining the efforts of the C&M chair and vice-chair to advance these goals.

Tobias Hofmann

Tobias Hofmann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah. He is also the Academic Director of the IPSA-NUS Summer School for Social Science Research Methods as well as a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore. His work examines the political economy of international institutions, with a focus on multilateral and preferential trade agreements as well as European integration. He is particularly interested in studying the design and effectiveness of institutions related to compliance and the settlement of trade disputes, using and integrating a wide variety or research methods. Before joining the University of Utah, Tobias Hofmann held positions at the National University of Singapore, the College of William & Mary, the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He is a graduate of the University of Konstanz and received his PhD from the Free University of Berlin in 2012.

Programmatic Statement

As a member of the C&M board, my focus will be on continuing the current board's efforts at advancing rigorous methods training -- quantitative, qualitative, and formal -- for graduate students and junior faculty not just in the U.S. and Europe, but around the globe by strengthening the ties between the various network of IPSA, ECPR, ICPSR, etc. methods training programs. In addition to fostering methodological and geographical diversity, I plan on working with the other board members as well as initiatives outside C&M towards making methods more inclusive and inviting to groups of scholars that have traditionally been underrepresented in our field. Having worked and taught research methods on three continents and being one of the founding academic directors of the IPSA-NUS Summer School for Social Science Research Methods, I have 'lived' this mission outside C&M for many years. With your support, I now want to commit my energy and experience to pursuing this mission as part of the C&M board.

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