Head of the Department of Political Science, Professor of Political Science and Political Theory

T +41 41 229 55 92
F +41 41 229 55 85

Frohburgstrasse 3, Room 3.B16
Appointments upon request 


Joachim Blatter is Professor of Political Science at the University of Lucerne since 2008. He studied Social Sciences, Political Science, Public Administration and Law at the University of Konstanz (Germany). In 1999, he received his PhD in Political Science with a thesis on "Political Institution Building in Cross-Border Regions in Europe and North America" from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. In 2006, he finished his Habilitation titled "Governance: Theoretische Formen und historische Transformationen" at the University of Konstanz. From 2006 to 2008 he hold a position as Assistant Professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He did research and taught at many other institutions: the University of St. Gall, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Zurich, the University of Victoria, the California State University in San Bernadino, Harvard University, the European University Institute in Florence and the Australian National University, Canberra.

Curriculum Vitae Joachim Blatter

List of Publications Joachim Blatter


Major Fields of Research and Related Projects and Publications

The Second Transformation of Democracy

Our main research focus is on the contemporary challenges that Western democracies face. We believe that we have to rethink and transform our understanding of democracy in order to cope with the technical, socio-economic and cultural challenges of the 21st Century. The main transformations can be scrutinized as follows:

  • The transformation from national self-determination to cooperative decision-making in multi-layered systems
  • The transformation of political interests formation and mediation from "representation" to "presentation" in multimodal systems of communication
  • The transformation from exclusive to overlapping demoi through migration, mobility and multiple citizenship

While many commentators and most political scientists assume that the current challenges to democracy will lead to a crisis and even perhaps to its demise, our aim is to analyse both dangers and opportunities for democracy. In particular, we assume that new understandings and conceptualizations of democratic politics are needed. The "first transformation of democracy" (and democratic theory) occurred with the transformation from the direct and elitist democracy of the ancient Greek republics and early modernity to the representative national democracies of modern nation states. Assuming that we are currently experiencing a "second transformation of democracy," we need to ask the following questions:

  • Which aspects of modern democratic rule are getting contingent, become politicised and in turn form the basis for a reconstitution of democracy? What are the main drivers and factors that influence these processes and their outcomes (positive analysis of the ongoing transformation of democracy)?
  • Which principles, institutions and practices are necessary or helpful so that we can also speak of a legitimate and democratic political order after the second democratic transformation (normative evaluation of ongoing and proposed changes; development of own proposals)?  



Migration and its Impact on National, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Citizenship

Migration is seen mainly as a problem for the socioeconomic and political integration of nation states, in both public discourse and in most research within the social sciences. In contrast, many theorists and activists see migrants at the forefront of a transnational or cosmopolitan citizenship. In our research we aim to look at the interaction amongst national, transnational and cosmopolitan citizenship and their particular forms of political engagement (interests, identification, participation and solidarity). Theoretically, our main aim is to clearly differentiate between transnational (i.e. multinational) and cosmopolitan (i.e. supranational) citizenship. Empirically, we look at the extent to which the status of dual citizenship has an impact on political information, participation and identification in the country of residence and on the development of transnational and cosmopolitan political involvement. 

Projects and Publications 

By Andrea Schlenker


Governance – Theories and Transformations of Political Steering and Integration


The notion of governance allows for a multi- and transdisciplinary conceptualization of political steering and integration by bringing together a multiplicity of theories from diverse fields of the social sciences and from cultural studies. This permits for a wider understanding of politico-societal steering and integration. Core elements from economics, sociology, psychology as well as cultural and communication studies can be loosely connected through a typology of forms of Governance. All ideal types are characterized by specific micro-foundations (theories of individual behaviour) and by the corresponding institutional structures and mechanisms. 

Paradigms and real cases of political steering and integration are analysed and interpreted with the help of such typologies. Whereas the dissertation focused on forms of governance in European and North American border regions, the Habilitation work looks at changes in the underlying conceptions (paradigms) towards political steering and integration at US metropolitan regions from 1850 until 2000. The empirical analysis makes it clear that the latest paradigm shift is characterised by the change of a rational-instrumental to a reflexive-constitutive approach towards socio-political steering and integration.

Projects and Publications 

Case Study Methods and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Case studies play an important role in Political Science. In recent years, we have witnessed an unprecedented methodological reflection on this research approach. Together with colleagues, Joachim Blatter has contributed to the methodological discourse. In his own research and in text books, he has combined case studies with other qualitative methods, especially Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA).


  • Qualitative Methoden in der Politikwissenschaft. Eine Einführung. Grundwissen Politik 76, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, (with P. Langer and C. Wageman), October 2017; order the book
  • Designing Case Studies: Explanatory Approaches in Small-N Research. Palgrave (with Markus Haverland), 2012; Slightly modified paper-back edition published in 2014;  download flyer; order the book
  • Qualitative Politikanalyse. Eine Einführung in Forschungsansätze und Methoden. Grundwissen Politik 44, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, (with F. Janning and C. Wagemann), 2007; download flyer 

Contributions to the methodological discourse 

Major applications of case study and QCA methods 

  • Enhancing Gender Equity Through Evidence-based Policy-Making? Theorizing and Tracing the Use of Systematic Knowledge in Family and Tax Policy Reforms. European Policy Analysis, (with Clara Bombach and Roman Wiprächtiger), 1(1), 3-34, 2015; download
  • Performing Symbolic Politics and International Environmental Regulation. Tracing and Theorizing a Causal Mechanism beyond Regime Theory. Global Envirnomental Politics, 9(4), 81-110, 2009; download
  • Preconditions for Foreign Activities of European Regions. Publius - The Journal of Federalism (mit Matthias Kreuter, Michaela Rentl und Dan Thiele), 40 (1), 171-199, 2009; download 

Click here to access Joachim Blatter's publications (including full texts)


Authored book

Journal Article

Book Section

Working Paper


Contribution/presentation at a scientific conference

Contribution/presentation at a non-scientific event

Functions and services for other Higher Educational Institutions or research organisations

Vested interests


  • Schweizer Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft, Member, Switzerland, 2017–
  • Schweizer Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaften, Board member, Switzerland
  • American Political Science Association, Member, Switzerland
  • Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaften, Member, Germany
  • International Political Science Association, Member, Canada
  • Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft, Member, Germany, 2017–
  • American Political Science Association, Member, United States, 2017–
  • International Political Science Association, Member, Switzerland, 2017–

Functions and services for other Higher Educational Institutions or research organisations

  • Member of commission, Schweizer Nationalfonds, 2019–

Services in favour of the public

  • Mitglied der Schulkommission, Kantonsschule Musegg
  • "Buch", Human Library, 2019–2019

Other vested interests

  • Mitglied der Schulkommission der Kantonsschule Musegg, Kantonsschule Musegg, 2009–