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Isabel Kusche


Current positionProfessor of Sociology, University of Bamberg, Germany  

During her AIAS-COFUND Fellowship, Isabel Kusche worked on the project "Non-programmatic Politics in Times of Fiscal Crisis."

Project at AIAS

The project is based on the assumption that in times of fiscal crisis governments must turn to something else than programmatic politics when attempting to secure a level of popular support sufficient to remain in power. It shall answer the question to what extent political parties and personnel in countries severely affected by the recent European fiscal crisis  react by intensifying non-programmatic linkages with voters or particular groups of voters respectively. Non-programmatic politics is based on strategies that do either not include public criteria for the distribution of resources or violate publicly stated criteria in actual practice in favor of partisan bias. The existence of a link between fiscal crisis and non-programmatic politics has been noted in the literature on neoliberal reforms in Latin American countries. In contrast, with regard to European parties the role of such strategies for mobilizing voters has been largely neglected or relegated to specialized analyses that do not feed back into our general conception of political processes in European countries. 

The project aims to close this research gap using a systems-theoretical approach to politics, which focuses on the threefold relationship between the political public, party politics and public administration. It will compare four critical cases, which have been known for variants of non-programmatic politics in the past, namely Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Greece.

Short bio

Isabel Kusche received a doctorate in sociology at the University of Bielefeld in Germany in 2008. Subsequently, she has worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Kiel and the University of Osnabrueck. She was an AIAS-COFUND Fellow from 2015-2018 at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, and a EURIAS fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK from 2018-2019. From 2019-2021, she held a research position at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe, Germany, where her focus was on political communication and the (re-)production of political power in contemporary democracies. Currently, she is professor of Sociology with a specialization on digital media at the University of Bamberg in Germany.

Project title:

Non-programmatic Politics in Times of Fiscal Crisis

Area of research:

Social and Political Sciences 

Fellowship period:

01 Oct 2015 – 30 Sep 2018