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 My PhD research asks how and why parties speak about democracy and the political system.  While my primary interest is the salience and politicization of issues related to the political system, I also look at the differences in salience and politicization between different forms of communication, e.g. news reports on election campaigns, party manifestos, speeches and online communication.  I use a mix of hand-coded data and machine learning approaches to track changes in party discourse and explain them by characteristics of individual parties as well as patterns of party competition in different countries.

I regularly present my work at conferences and workshops, for example at the EUI 2016 State of the Union Conference,  the 2017 and 2018 General Conference and Joint Sessions of the ECPR, the 2018 EPSA Conference and at the Manifesto Project Corpus Conference 2018. 

Other Current Projects and Papers

Next to my PhD, I work on several other papers related to democracy, party competition and the role of legacies in European politics today. Some of these papers are currently under review or in the process of publication: 

  • Hutter, Swen and Theresa Gessler (forthcoming). “Design, Methods, and Cross-Validation.” Chapter 3 in “Transformative Elections? Restructuring the National Political Space in Europe in Times of Multiple Crises”, Edited by Swen Hutter and Hanspeter Kriesi.
  • Gessler, Theresa, and Anna Kyriazi (forthcoming). “A ‘Hungarian Crisis’ or ‘the Crisis in Hungary? The effect of the Great Recession on Hungarian party competition” Chapter 8 in “Transformative Elections?”
  • Gessler, Theresa, and Endre Borbáth (under review). “Different worlds of protest. ”
  • Borbáth, Endre, Theresa Gessler, and Hanspeter Kriesi (under review). “The Hour of the Citizen – The Evolution of Eastern Europeans’ Conceptions of Democracy since the Transition to Democracy.
  • Gessler, Theresa, and Julia Schulte-Cloos (under review as part of a book). “The Return of the
    Economy? Issue Contention in the Protest Arena”, Chapter 5 in “Contention in times of crises: Comparing political protest in 30 European countries, 2000-2015”, Edited by Hanspeter Kriesi, Jasmine Lorenzini, Bruno Wüest and Silja Häusermann.

Previous published work

Gessler, Theresa. 2017. Invalid but not Inconsequential? The 2016  Migrant Quota Referendum in Hungary. East European Quarterly, Direct Democracy Notes ,45 (1-2), pp. 85-97.

Gessler, Theresa. 2017. “Book Review:  ‘The Hungarian Patient. Social Opposition to an Illiberal Democracy’, By Péter Krasztev & Jon Van Til (Eds).” Europe-Asia Studies 69 (3).

Gessler, Theresa. 2016. “Book Review: What is Populism? By Jan-Werner Müller” LSE Review of Books. Reposted on EUROPP  Blog and British Politics and Policy at LSE Blog.

Gessler, Theresa. 2015. “NGOs and the public sphere as targets of illiberal democracy in contemporary Hungary”, MA Thesis,  awarded the CEU Political Science Department’s ‘Best MA Thesis’ Award.