Alex Mierke-Zatwarnicki

Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. For the 2021-2022 academic year, I am conducting fieldwork in Europe, based out of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Advanced Societies in Cologne, Germany.

My research focuses on political parties in advanced democracies. Broadly, I am interested in the development of party organization and electoral strategies since the early 20th century. My dissertation seeks to propose a new typology of group-based appeals, and to use this new framework to describe and explain the electoral strategies of European parties throughout the 20th century. My approach to research is methodologically pluralist; to this end, my dissertation combines qualitative case studies with quantitative text analysis.

Notably, I came into my doctoral program initially as a political psychologist and gradually developed into a historical institutionalist. My approach these days is to try to apply the theoretical frameworks of historical institutionalism towards the subject matter of political behaviour, in the tradition of political sociology.

During my time at Harvard, I've been lucky to receive financial support for my research from the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies (CES), the Weatherhead Center’s Canada Program, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), and the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS). My current fieldwork is supported by funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), as well as a Dissertation Writing Grant from the Weatherhead Center.

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.