Alex Mierke-Zatwarnicki

Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. 

My research focuses on political parties and group representation in advanced democracies. In my book-length dissertation project, Identity politics, old and new: European party formation in the long twentieth century, I explore how and why political outsiders use appeals to social groups to gain a foothold in party competition. In this project, I develop a new framework for differentiating between types of group-based appeals, and theorize the structural and political conditions under which new parties adopt more or less oppositional styles of "identity politics." I provide evidence for this theory from multiple waves of party entry in Western Europe, drawing on a combination of qualitative case studies and quantitative text analysis.

In addition to a theoretical contribution, my dissertation introduces an exciting new dataset: a large corpus of British election addresses (candidate-level campaign speeches) from the interwar period, which I use to explore the rise of the British Labour Party. 

My doctoral work has been supported by fellowships from the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Weatherhead Center for the Study of International affairs, and numerous small grants. I have held visiting positions at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship in Montreal.

I'm originally from Vancouver, Canada. Prior to my doctoral work, I completed my Bachelor’s at the University of British Columbia and my Master’s degree at the University of Toronto, both in political science. During this time, I co-authored two articles on Canadian political behaviour that have been since published in the Canadian Journal of Political Science

I will defend my dissertation this summer, and join the EUI as a Max Weber Fellow for the 2023-2024 academic year.