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Success in the Renowned Emmy Noether Program

Political scientist Arndt Leininger from Chemnitz University of Technology receives funding of 600,000 euros from the DFG's Emmy Noether Program for his research on the effects of referendums on political polarization

Assistant Professor Arndt Leininger, PhD, is head of the Assistant Professorship of Political Science Research Methods at Chemnitz University of Technology and an expert on the highly relevant topic of political campaigns. For his research project entitled "Polarization through and in referendums: mapping polarization within and beyond the party system" on the study of referendums, he was successful with his project proposal at the German Research Foundation (DFG) and will receive funding from the renowned Emmy Noether Program. The funding starts at the end of 2022 and ends - subject to a positive interim evaluation - at the end of 2028. A total volume of 600,000 euros is available for the funding period.

"The question of the significance of the increasing use of referendums at the national and subnational level for political polarization in established democracies arose even before the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. I am pleased to soon be able to work on this highly topical issue with a research group," says Arndt Leininger.

In the DFG-funded project, Leininger will assemble and lead a research group that will investigate the impact of referendums, or plebiscites, on citizens' attitudes. Specifically, the focus will be on whether referendums create new divisions along political lines of contention within a society or merely expose existing divisions.

To this end, Leininger and his team will focus on three main research areas: On the one hand, he and his research group want to provide an overview of existing approaches to explaining the phenomenon of political polarization. On the other hand, the team wants to develop a completely new approach to measure and describe polarization beyond party classifications. In addition, the existing data situation on this question, which has hardly been researched so far, is to be examined and the existing state of research is to be systematized.

Background: Emmy Noether Program

Through its Emmy Noether Program, the DFG funds outstanding young researchers at an early stage of their scientific careers. In this way, the program also aims to qualify the grantees for a university professorship.

The program is named after the mathematician Emmy Noether, who was one of the first female scientists allowed to habilitate in Germany and who made significant contributions to mathematical physics.

(Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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