Research

Work in progress

Lawall, Katharina. “Protect ‘our’ women: the effects of gendered anti-immigration messages

Parties that are seen as taboo by voters might try to engage in a variety of strategies to make themselves feel and appear more mainstream without actually changing their policy positions. By framing their most controversial, “unacceptable” policy positions in more normatively acceptable ways, parties might try to present themselves as a respectable political option. In this paper, I examine the effects of one particular frame used by the radical right: using women’s protection and gender equality to justify anti-immigration claims. I argue that these gendered immigration messages make anti-immigration policies and parties more acceptable. Through survey experiments conducted in Germany and Norway, I find that gendered anti-immigration messages make voters more likely to express anti-immigration preferences and to report voting for the radical right. These findings have important implications for our understanding of how previously unacceptable positions become normalised, and how gender equality rhetoric is used as a powerful legitimising device to this end.

Lawall, Katharina. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend: the implications of negative partisanship in multi-party systems

Strong negative feelings towards political parties and their supporters
seem to be on the rise and have been shown to have important implications
for behaviour in- and outside of politics. While most of the current
literature on negative partisanship was developed in two-party systems
like the US, I explore in this paper what consequences strongly disliking a
political party has in multi-party systems. I argue that negative partisanship
changes how voters evaluate all parties on offer, not just the one that
they really dislike. Along the idea of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, I
argue that really disliking a party can also move voters closer to another
party. I test these ideas using a survey experiment conducted in Canada.
I find that priming voters about negative partisanship has the expected
effect on party evaluations but does not affect political participation. This
paper makes an important contribution to our understanding of negative
partisanship, showing that negative partisanship has empirical implications
that are distinct from positive partisanship, and that this concept
merits further engagement and attention, also – and especially- in multi-party systems.

Lawall, Katharina. “Mobilising migrants: how effective are online interventions in increasing political participation among immigrants?

In Europe today, there is still a large gap in political participation between
immigrants and native citizens. For example, although mobile EU citizens (EU citizens residing outside their home country) have the right to vote in local elections in their country of residence, they often do not participate in these elections. These
gaps in participation matter, as they can exacerbate existing political inequalities.
This research project explores if social media interventions (Facebook groups and
pages) are effective in increasing the political participation of mobile EU citizens. The
project tests this through a field experiment carried out with local civil society partner organisations in the run up to local elections in Germany.

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