Dr. Carsten Weiß is a senior research fellow at the University of Siegen and was a NRW School of Governance/AICGS Fellow from August to October 2012. His research analyzes political communication about the “middle class” in the U.S. Although a lot of sociological research about the dynamics and structure of the middle class exists, very little is known about how meaning is given to terms like “middle,” “mittelstand,” and “middle class” in political communication. By combining expert interviews and field work, Dr. Weiß will create new frameworks for dealing with the notion of “middle” and “middle class.” He is working on new designs in linking objective data of social structure analysis with qualitative and narrative data of cultural patterns in communication and campaigning by political parties in the U.S. While at AICGS, he will be writing an essay about heuristic benefits for the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) by studying the political communication about the middle class. NRW’s economy and society is highly based on the middle class and medium-sized manufacturing, which has led to a strong interest in middle class-related objectives. In short, the question is: How is the middle class and the so-called Mittelstand addressed in political campaigning in the U.S. and what can NRW learn from that?
Carsten Weiß holds a Ph.D. in social and political sciences and two diplomas in educational sciences and social pedagogy. As a senior research fellow he teaches and conducts research projects at the University of Siegen. His writings cover different topics, including labor market policies, social politics in rural areas, informal economy, social farming, and evaluation of public services. Some of his research contract partners are the Research Institute of the Federal Employment Agency, departments of the States NRW and Baden-Württemberg, the Federal Employment Agency, and partners associated with the European Social Fund.
Made possible by the support of NRW School of Governance