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Transnational and

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Regional Dynamics

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Ph.D. Scholarships in
Humanities and Social Sciences

„Trajectories of Change“ series at TRAFO Blog

15 December 2020

Since December 2020 TRAFO Blog for Transregional Research hosts articles originating form 
“Trajectories of Change” programme.  The series attempts to combine the critical revision of regional and transregional geographies with studies in entangled histories. It examines complex change trajectories in the East of Europe, the Middle East as well as in the Maghreb and Sahel regions.  more

Programme

“Trajectories of Change” addresses historical and current transformation processes in the European neighbourhood. Between 2014 and 2018 the programme awarded 92 stipends and fieldwork grants for Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences studying political and social change in Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East as well as Central Asia. Conferences, workshops and joint publication projects following these funding activities concentrate on the interdisciplinary exchange. 

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New at TRAFO Blog

16 March 2021

“When neighbors expect the EU to help them transform: Survey Data from protesting Belarus" – Blog entry by Bucerius fellow Stas Gorelik

Yet, the question of how international players can encourage or suppress protest mobilization has not been researched in earnest, neither in general nor in relation to the post-Soviet countries. International sanctions can help autocratic leaders boost nationalistic sentiment and organize rallies (Hellmeier, 2020), but international pressure can also make opposition believe that pro-democracy protests will be recognized worldwide (e.g., Grauvogel et al., 2017). more

New at TRAFO Blog

06 January 2021

“Constitutional Capture in and around the Contested Neighborhood” – Blog entry by Žilvinas Švedkauskas shows how autocratization affects both the EU and its neighbouring countries


“Scholars of area studies and policymakers have been “dividing” the neighborhood, narrowing their respective research questions and policy problems into “eastern-” and “southern-”, country-, and region-specific issues. Though compartmentalization simplifies research and policymaking, I believe it turns our attention away from gradual changes occurring on both sides of the contested European border. Let us consider the contemporary script of autocratization, which I aim to explore in my doctoral dissertation.” 
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Analysing Change

A Green Gambit: The Development of Environmental Foreign Policy in Morocco

28 December 2020

Bucerius Fellow Katharina Nicolai explores the function and significance of environmental sustainability policy of Morocco:

“I argue that Morocco’s expanding reputation as a posterchild of environmental sustainability is not merely a product of specific need, but an instrument of broad governance realignment whose drivers and purpose go significantly beyond concerns over the environment and energy security.” 

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New at TRAFO Blog

16 December 2020

“Trajectories of Change: New Research Projects on the European Neighbourhood” – Introduction to the new blog series by Anna Hofmann


“The revolutionary moments of the Arab Spring in 2011 and the Ukrainian “Euromaidan” in 2014 called for a remarkable rise of public and academic attention towards regions in the east and south of the European continent. Protests, repressions, regime changes or authoritarian reinforcements were closely followed by international media. They resulted in debates about the changing political, social and economic situation in the region, the resilience of the authoritarian regimes, the prospects for liberalisation and democratisation as well as economic outlooks for countries in turmoil. In these circumstances, novel academic inquiries have also arisen, and new research projects have been developed. They have been increasingly questioning prevailing assumptions about the historically founded inertia and path dependencies in the political and social developments at Europe’s margins, within the so called “European Neighbourhood”. 
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Analysing Change

03 December 2020

Bucerius Fellow Regine Schwab and her colleagues Hanna Pfeifer and Clara-Auguste Süß on “Who are these ´Islamists´ everyone talks about?! Why academics struggles over words matter”:

“Politicians, the media, and social media users alike have framed recent attacks in Europe as instances of “Islamist” violence. The current debate often remains superficial and uses the umbrella term of “Islamism” to describe a diverse spectrum of actors, ideologies, and activities.”

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Analysing Change

19 November 2020

Bucerius Fellow Adam Baczko and Gilles Dorronsoro on the dangers of subcontracting research and remote methodologies in the context of Covid-19: “The Ethical, Epistemological, and Conceptual Need to Resume Fieldwork”

“Too often reduced to a ´collection´ of data, and therefore possible to be outsourced without too many safeguards to companies, or even to students, fieldwork is actually a decisive moment in theoretical questioning. In particular, the sequence - hypothesis/conceptualization, data collection, analysis, publication - describes very poor social science research. In fact, the investigation itself is an essential moment in conceptualization and obligates, especially in crisis contexts, a more reactive modality of theoretical elaboration, with a continual interaction between hypotheses and data production.”

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Analysing Change

18 November 2020

Bucerius Fellow Anne Wolf about the counterrevolution in Tunisia and the rise of Abir Moussi in the POMED Snapshot, November 2020:

“Beyond her anti-Islamist agenda, Moussi supports a range of policies that could threaten Tunisia’s fragile political balance. For example, she seeks to change the constitution to increase the powers of the president, returning Tunisia closer to the authoritarian system that existed under Ben Ali and Bourguiba. Moussi also seeks to weaken the role of political parties in government by promoting the rise of ostensible ‘technocrats,’ rather than members of parliament, as ministers. This is a common strategy used by authoritarian regimes to weaken potential challengers." […] 

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Analysing Change

01 November 2020

Advisory Board Member Isabelle Werenfels comments on Africa policies of Maghreb states: “Maghrebi Rivalries Over Sub-Saharan Africa”

“Morocco is the Maghreb state with the most sophisticated Sub-Sahara policy. Its motivations include attractive growth markets in Africa, frustration over restricted access to Europe, stalemated in­tegration in the Maghreb and the wish to see the Western Sahara recognised as Moroccan. Morocco’s Sub-Sahara policy has heightened tensions with Algeria and awakened ambitions in Tunisia. Algiers, as a significant funder and security actor in the African Union (AU) and “protector” of the Western Sahara independence movement, is seeking to thwart Rabat’s advances. Tunis for its part is trying to follow in Rabat’s foot­steps, hoping that closer relations with Africa will boost economic growth.”
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