Merve Schmitz-Vardar, Visiting Fellow

AICGS is pleased to welcome Merve Schmitz-Vardar as a Visiting Fellow at AICGS from August to October 2019. 

Ms. Schmitz-Vardar is a research and teaching assistant at the Chair of Public Policy and Regional Policy of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She is a representative of the non-professorial teaching staff at the Institute of Political Science and at the Faculty of Social Sciences. In addition, she is one of the spokeswomen from the junior scientist network of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM).

During her time at AICGS, Merve Schmitz-Vardar will be working on the topic of the sense of belonging from a comparative perspective. The rules of citizenship and naturalization in countries have an impact on the question “who belongs?”. Why can statehood be a challenge for democratic citizenship? Many studies show that democracy needs nation-states and national identity in a modern world (Eger und Valdez 2015; Helbing 2009; Manent 2013). Critical perspectives on nation-states remark that in the contemporary situation frameworks of transnational democracy or supranational democracy do not work (Fukuyama 2018). Based on these considerations, the following research question is examined: How do including and excluding ideas of identity, trust, and belonging affect democratic value orientations of German and American citizens? The main hypothesis assumes that exclusionary ideas of community – regarding identity, trust, and belonging – and resentments toward migrants promote the rejection of democratic values and thus endanger political support for democracy of the people. The data analysis is based on survey data and the theoretical foundations of social identity theory, social threat theory, and group-based enmity.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Merve Schmitz-Vardar

Visiting Fellow

Merve Schmitz-Vardar was a Visiting Fellow at AICGS from August to October 2019. 

Ms. Schmitz-Vardar is a research and teaching assistant at the Chair of Public Policy and Regional Policy of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She is a representative of the non-professorial teaching staff at the Institute of Political Science and at the Faculty of Social Sciences. In addition, she is one of the spokeswomen from the junior scientist network of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM).

She began her PhD project with a scholarship from the Mercator Foundation and researches political culture in immigration societies. Her puzzle starts with the three following observations: (1) migration has a structuring and transforming impact on societies, (2) the presumed “others” are part of the political collective, (3) the support of democratic value orientations needs a normative benchmark of free and equal citizens so that the support can be considered valid. She addresses the following question: How do attitudes toward regional and national political units affect democratic value orientation in the Ruhr area and in Germany? Her multi-level comparative perspective needs a mixed-methods research design. She collects and analyses focus group data, expert interviews, and survey data.

During her time at AICGS, Merve Schmitz-Vardar will be working on the topic of the sense of belonging from a comparative perspective.