My research explores the connections between political systems, nationality, and democracy from a comparative perspective across space and time.
I’m interested in particular in how and why political systems are formed, structured, restructured, and dissolved.
Main projects and publications
Why Centralisation and Decentralisation in Federations?
This project measures dynamic de/centralisation across 22 policy and five fiscal categories in six major federations – Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Switzerland, and the United States – since their foundation. It aims to explain why some federations become more centralised over time while others become more decentralised. I am lead investigator and project manager for this project, the rest of the team includes Professor John Kincaid (co-PI, Lafayette College, USA), Professor Alan Fenna (Curtin University, Australia), Professor André Kaiser (University of Cologne, Germany), Professor André Lecours (University of Ottawa, Canada), Dr Ajay Kumar Singh (Hamdard University, India), Dr Sean Mueller (University of Berne, Switzerland), and Stephan Vogel (University of Cologne, Germany). It is funded by the Leverhulme Trust (grant no. IN-2013-044), the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. IZK0Z1_155030), and the Forum of Federations.
2017. Dynamic De/Centralization in Switzerland, 1848-2010. Publius: The Journal of Federalism DOI: 10.1093/publius/pjx056 (with Sean Mueller).
European Integration and State Restructuring
This project investigated the causal connections between European integration and processes of state restructuring in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, from 1950 to today. It was funded by the James Madison Trust.
2017. Restructuring the European State – European Integration and State Reform. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press
2014. European Integration, Party Strategies, and State Restructuring: a Comparative Analysis. European Political Science Review 6/2: 213-36
2012. Europeanization and the Unravelling of Belgium: a Comparative Analysis of Party Strategies. Acta Politica 47/2: 181-209.
Federalism, Nationality, and Democracy in Switzerland
This project investigated the nature and evolution of Swiss federalism from a comparative perspective. It dealt with a number of aspects, including its relevance for the evolving confederalism of the EU, the degree to which it is challenged by Europeanisation, its connections with democracy and with national identity. It was funded by Presence Switzerland, the Institut d’Estudis Autonòmics (now Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern), and the British Academy (grant no. OCG-44396).
2011. Multi-lingual but Mono-national – Exploring and Explaining Switzerland’s Exceptionalism. In Ferran Requejo and Miquel Caminal (eds), Federalism, Plurinationality, and Democratic Constitutionalism – Theory and Cases. Abingdon: Routledge
2011. The Acid Test? Competing Theses on the Nationality-Democracy Nexus and the Case of Switzerland. Nations and Nationalism 17/2: 357-76 (with Nenad Stojanović).
European Integration and Devolution in Scotland
This project investigated whether and to what extent European integration influenced the demand for self-government in Scotland between the 1970s and the 1990s. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the London School of Economics.
2013 . Between Two Unions: Europeanisation and Scottish Devolution. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
2005. Democratic Deficit or the Europeanisation of Secession? Explaining the Devolution Referendums in Scotland. Political Studies 53/2: 320-42.
2009. Europeanization as Heresthetics: Party Competition over Self-Government for Scotland, 1974-97. Party Politics 15/1: 49-68.