Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of ESPOL-LAB Research Centre

Thierry CHOPIN

Professor of Political Science and Deputy Director of ESPOL-LAB Research Centre


The ESPOL-LAB Research Centre for European and International Politics is composed of a team of researchers analysing public decision-making processes and contemporary transformations in the political sphere. Questioning the boundaries of politics and the relationship between politics and society is at the heart of ESPOL-LAB’s scientific project. What is the actual impact of political decision-making? What are its drivers? To what extent do policies still refer to the regulation of society?

The apparent fragility of the contemporary state, in conjunction with the fragmentation of identities, growing globalisation of economies, and the emergence of new forms of violence highlight the difficulty of organising social relations and giving meaning to societal life. Yet, while the modern state may no longer be seen as the exclusive framework within which common rules are developed and transformed, it nevertheless retains an unparalleled appeal and ability to guide and organise societies.

In this context, ESPOL-LAB research aims to help inform political decision-making processes, their normative underpinnings and the constraints they face, also including their continuously transforming relations to territory and violence. Our research team is composed of specialists in various political science fields, such as public policies, international relations, comparative politics, history of political ideas, and political theory.



Research at ESPOL-LAB focuses on changes in contemporary societies and political dynamics within multilevel settings. It is organised around three major research areas:

Europe constitutes a cross-cutting dimension of research at ESPOL which is present in each of these three areas.


Associate Professor of Political Science, Deputy Head of international Mobility

1) The quality of democracy

Representative democracy has been put to the test for several decades, in Europe as in the rest of the world. Understanding the multifaceted causes of this crisis is one of the major challenges of social sciences and, more particularly, of contemporary political science. The role of political parties and governments is changing. In a globalized world, the position of nation states, including in the European Union is evolving. The forms and arenas of political participation are diversifying. The rise of so-called ‘populist’ movements challenges the political elites.


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Based on a reflection of the fundamental principles of democracy, this thematic research area aims to analyse the formal and procedural conditions of democracy, the capacity of political institutions to meet these criteria as well as the causes and consequences of democratic transformation. The research conducted on these issues goes beyond a strictly legalistic reading of democratic rules to include a theoretical reflection on the criteria of good governance with an empirical analysis of political processes.

Using the tools of political philosophy, political sociology and public policy analysis, the work of this research area focuses specifically on:
– political representation, such as elections, parties and parliaments,
– new spaces of democracy, especially economic democracy,
– e-democracy.


Associate Professor of Political Science

2) Reconfigurations of the International

This ESPOL-LAB research area explores the contemporary transformations of the international stage. The latter is traditionally understood as an abstract space without an own territory where political and social phenomena would evolve either completely outside the state or between states. The International can however also be understood as a certain regime of limits, historically contingent, articulated around the spatial division between the internal and the external. From this, a whole series of normative and structuring distinctions of political practice and the very understanding of politics could be elaborated: a distinction between the citizen and the foreigner, between domestic and foreign policy, between crime and war, between the criminal and the enemy, between internal security and national defence, between the police and the armed forces etc.

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The International has always been put to the test and also has continuously been transformed in the process of global integration, as suggested in the literature about the advent of a ‘global and borderless world’. Yet, the International has never totally dissolved in ‘world politics’ that would disregard or override the states. Rather than disappearing, the State is being transformed and, in this context, the International is also undergoing a transformation.

This third research area analyses the contemporary reconfigurations of the International.In a critical and reflexive perspective, these research works particularly question the reorientation of the historical construction of the modern state, the evolving notions of space, borders and the enemy, the contested (and yet continually reaffirmed) procedures of legitimising state sovereign authority and the transformation of the conditions for the exercise of violence.

The topics that drive the work of this research area are in particular:
– international security and regional and international security organisations,
– armed conflicts, war and military strategy,
– terrorism and anti-terrorism.


Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of ESPOL-LAB Research Centre

3) Politics of the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene denotes a new geological epoch in the Earth’s history in which humans have become the main drivers of planetary-wide changes. Climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, ocean acidification, plastic seas, overexploitation of natural resources, and other problems prompted by capitalist globalisation accumulation endanger the habitability of the planet. It characterises a fundamental change in the human-environment relation, as the human species dominates over biological and geological processes on Earth. This in turn points to the political and social implications of the Anthropocene concept.

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In our work, we focus, first, on the politics of the Anthropocene from different perspectives. The changing relations of nature and society shed light on the acceleration of contradictions and dualist divisions as a way of organising these relations under capitalist conditions (e.g. North/South, nature/culture, men/women, us/them, human/non-human). The idea of the Anthropocene brings to the fore the political necessity for thinking our relations to the environment in the era of advanced capitalism, or Capitalocene. This second strand of work focuses on politics for the Anthropocene. In response to the challenges of the Anthropocene, human societies must question power relations and rethink their principles and practices in order to navigate away from critical tipping points in planetary natures.

The work of this research area focusses on the Politics of and for the Anthropocene, including:
– social and political responses to the environmental crisis,
– current food systems and alternative food systems,
– visions and pathways towards collective change, relating to sustainable development and radical reorganisation of nature-society relationships.

Research projects


H2020 Project “Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law”

ESPOL-LAB is a partner in the RECONNECT (Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law) project. This 4-year multi-disciplinary project funded by the European Union under the framework programme H2020.





Towards “just conservation”: linking theories and practices of justice in biodiversity conservation

JUSTCONSERVATION is a 3-year research project led by ESPOL and funded by the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB).




Collaborative Observatory on Terrorism, Anti-Terrorism and Violence

ESPOL-LAB participates in the ‘Collaborative Observatory on Terrorism, Anti-Terrorism and Violence’ (O.C.T.A.V.). This is an initiative of scientists from various disciplinary backgrounds, supported and funded by LabToP-CRESPPA-Paris8-CNRS, ESPOL-ICL, REPI-ULB and CERI-SciencesPo/CNRS.





Electoral Participation, Lists and Candidates in the North [of France] – 2020

ESPOL-Lab launched an electoral sociology project, together with the Collectif de Recherche sur les Élections Municipales et Intercommunales (CREMI) and CERAPS (University of Lille), focussed on the 2020 local elections in the Hauts-de-France region.


Former projects

Project “Reviving democratic participation in Europe: lessons from the crisis”

Professor Michael Holmes (Liverpool Hope University) completed a research stay at ESPOL-LAB, funded by the Regional Council Nord-Pas de Calais under their ‘Invited researchers’ programme. During his stay in Lille throughout the year 2017, Michael Holmes pursued a project on the impact of the Euro crisis on political parties as agents of democratic participation. Results of this work is an edited volume (to be published by Manchester University Press) to which Julien Navarro and Antonella Seddone contributed, and to the organisation of an international conference on Brexit in November 2017. Michael Holmes continues to collaborate with ESPOL-LAB as associate researcher.

Project “Between personalization and democratization”

From September 2015 to August 2017, ESPOL-LAB hosted a post-doctoral researcher, Antonella Seddone, to conduct her research project ‘Between personalization and democratization: the changing role of members within political parties’. As part of the ESPOL-LAB research area ‘Quality of democracy’, this project was funded under the programme ‘Accueil de Jeunes Chercheurs 2015’ by the Conseil Régional Nord – Pas de Calais. During her stay at ESPOL, the post-doctoral researcher published widely in collaboration with members of the research unit, especially with Giulia Sandri. Antonella Seddone continues to work with several colleagues as an associate researcher of ESPOL-LAB.

ESPOL-LAB team and network

The ESPOL-LAB team consists of 18 faculty members working on the transformation of European and global politics: thirteen Associate professors, a Professor (HDR), a Lecturer, three Post-doctoral researchers. ESPOL-LAB is headed by Sabine Weiland (Director) and Thierry Chopin (Deputy Director).

ESPOL has also eight associate researchers. We welcome applications of interested researchers to become associated with ESPOL.

ESPOL-LAB is member of the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research), the principal political science research network in Europe. The ESPOL-LAB team supports the Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée and the Politique européenne journal.


Director of ESPOL, Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy

François BRIATTE

Lecturer of Political Science

Oriane Calligaro

Associate Professor of Political Science

Thierry CHOPIN

Professor of Political Science, Deputy Director of the ESPOL-LAB Research Centre


Associate Professor of Environment and Development

Thibaud Deruelle

Deputy Director of the academic programmes


Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Political Science

Michael Holmes

Associate Professor of Political Science, Deputy Head of international Mobility

Camille Kelbel

Director of the academic programmes

Pierre-Yves NERON

Associate Professor of Economic and Social Ethics, Head of the Bachelor's degree in Political Science


Associate Professor of International Relations


Associate Professor of Political Science, Deputy Head of international Mobility


Associate Professor of International Relations

Felix-Christopher von Nostitz

Associate Professor of Political Science, Head of International Mobility


Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of ESPOL-LAB Research Centre

Postdoctoral Researchers

Neil Dawson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Marie Neihouser

Teaching and Research Assistant

ESPOL-LAB Associate Researchers

ESPOL welcomes researchers to become associated with the School and, more specifically, with ESPOL-LAB, our Research Centre. The association of researchers serves the purpose of enriching the academic and intellectual life at ESPOL. We invite researchers with a scientific profile matching the research topics pursued at ESPOL to join us as associate researchers.

More information can be found below

How to Apply

Download the application form



Director of European Surveys & Media Coverage at Institut Viavoice, Teaching Fellow at Sciences Po and ESPOL & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL


Researcher at ETHICS, Lille Catholic University & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Benjamin NEIMARK

Senior Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Stéphanie NOVAK

Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Kristin Reynolds

Lecturer at The New School in New York City, and at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Antonella SEDDONE

Postdoctoral researcher at the Dipartimento di Culture, Politica e Società, Università degli Studi di Torino & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Daniel-Louis Seiler

Full Professor emeritus at Sciences Po Aix-en-Provence & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Diana Watts

Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced Studies, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Chair of the Business Department at Trinity Washington University & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL



Press & media




6 February 2020 – ESPOL inaugural conference
Understanding world politics through bordering practices:
from the Caucasus to the Sahara‐Sahel

Giulia Prelz OltramontiMaîtresse de conférences, ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille

20 February 2020 – ESPOL seminar
Politics of irrationality – emerging technologies and their publics

Gabriel Dorthe – Postdoctoral researcher, ETHICS, Université Catholique de Lille

12 March 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [CANCELLED]
The norm cluster of sustainability and the global regime complex for food: Norm interpretation and contestation among key international organizations

Sandra SCHWINDENHAMMERAssistant Professor, University of Giessen, Allemagne

19 March 2020 – ESPOL inaugural conference – [POSTPONED]
Rethinking the political economy of food after the 2007/8 global financial crisis

Elisa GRECOMaîtresse de conférences, ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille

24 March 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [POSTPONED TO 19/11/2020]
« La guerre des philosophes, ou : La guerre peut-elle être un objet de la philosophie ? »

Thomas BERNS – Professeur de philosophie politique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique 

26 March 2020 – ESPOL conference – [POSTPONED]
Compromise and publicity in democracy

Stéphanie NOVAKAssistant Professor, Université Ca’ Foscari de Venise, Italie

9 April 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [POSTPONED TO 01/10/2020]
« Vérité, science, pouvoir. Foucault historien des sciences »

Jérôme LAMY– Chargé de recherche, CNRS-CERTOP, Université Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès

24 September 2020 – ESPOL conference
The politics of covid-19: Cooperation and conflict

Michael HOLMESMaître de conférences, ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille

1 October 2020 – ESPOL seminar
« Vérité, science, pouvoir. Foucault historien des sciences »

Jérôme LAMY– Chargé de recherche, CNRS-CERTOP, Université Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès

15 October 2020 – ESPOL conference
Demand action or do-it-yourself? Climate justice movements and the changing role of the state

Joost DE MOORPostdoctoral researcher, Stockholm University, Sweden

22 October 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [POSTPONED]
A gender just and sustainable food system in Europe

Lara FERGUS – Director Research, Knowledge and Advocacy, Mama Cash, The Hague, Netherlands

6 November 2020 – ESPOL conference
US presidential elections – European and American perspectives

Matthew KERBEL Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, Pennsylvania, USA
– Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, Pennsylvania, USA
– Professor of American Politics and Government, Université de Paris, France

19 November 2020 – ESPOL seminar
« La guerre des philosophes, ou : La guerre peut-elle être un objet de la philosophie? »

Thomas BERNS – Professeur de philosophie politique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique


Download the semester programme



24 January 2019 – ESPOL seminar
Weapons of Mass Destruction and Global Security

Paolo ForadoriAssociate Professor, University of Trento

7 February 2019 – ESPOL conference
Quand l’Europe improvise. Dix ans de crises politiques

Luuk van Middelaar Université de Leiden

21 March 2019 – ESPOL conference
1989-2019 : de Vaclav Havel à Viktor Orbàn.
De la démocratie libérale au national-populisme?

Lukáš Macek – Sciences Po Dijon

11 April 2019 – ESPOL seminar
Pour une sociologie des inégalités environnementales”
Valérie Deldrève
Directrice de la recherche, IRSTEA Bordeaux

9 September 2019 – ESPOL opening conference
Comment revitaliser la démocratie à l’heure de la post-politique ?
Chantal Mouffe
Professeure de théorie politique, University of Westminster

3 October 2019 – ESPOL seminar
Towards an African organic model of agriculture?
Institutionalization’s path comparison between Uganda and Benin
Pauline Bendjebbar
 – Université Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée et CIRAD

10 October 2019 – ESPOL seminar
Pour une histoire globale conceptuelle de la Paix
Thomas Hippler
Professeur d’histoire contemporaine, Université de Caen

24 October 2019 – ESPOL conference
Populism and Euroscepticism
Duncan McDonnell
Professor of Politics, Griffith University, Australia

7 November 2019 – ESPOL seminar
Contributive justice and the importance of
inclusive agricultural innovation system
Cristian Timmermann
Universidad de Chile, currently Hoover
fellow at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve

15 November 2019 – ESPOL-LAB seminar
International Political Theory and Economy from Hobbes to Bentham
Benjamin Bourcier

21 November 2019 – ESPOL conference
French Foreign Policy and Identity, or the End of Gaullism?
Falk Ostermann
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany



18 January 2018 – ESPOL seminar
Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late! –
Popularity Gains as an Incentive to Legislate Frantically?
Etienne Farvaque et Mamadou BoukariLEM, Universités de Lille

25 January 2018 – ESPOL-LAB seminar
La séquence électorale du printemps 2017

2017 : un nouveau système partisan ?
Florent Gougou et Simon Persico
IEP de Grenoble

2015-2017 : un retour à gauche des quartiers marginalisés ?
Antoine HardinUVSQ

Le vote FN de 1992 à aujourd’hui
Joël GambinUPJV /

25 January 2018 – ESPOL conference
Constructivism and World Politics Today
Oliver Kessler
Erfurt University

8 February 2018 – ESPOL seminar
Quasi-states in IR
Françoise Mengin
Researcher at CERI, Sciences Po Paris

15 February 2018 – ESPOL conference
L’Europe face au défi de la mondialisation : de la crise pétrolière au marché unique (1973 – 1986) – Présentation de l’ouvrage « Governing Europe in a Globalizing World. Neoliberalism and its Alternatives following the 1973 Oil Crisis » (Routledge 2018)

Laurent WarlouzetProfesseur d’Histoire, Université du Littoral-Côte d’Opale (ULCO)

29 March 2018 – ESPOL conference
Les ressorts et limites de la primarisation de la vie politique française

Rémi LefebvreProfesseur de Science Politique, Université de Lille 2 (CERAPS)

28 September 2018 – ESPOL conference
International Relations and Contemporary Global Problems
Thomas J. Biersteker
Gasteyger Professor of International Security, Director, Policy Research, The Graduate Institute (Geneva)

4 October 2018 – ESPOL seminar
Retour sur la sequence électorale française du printemps 2017
Caterina Froio
Sciences Po Paris – Nonna MayerCNRS Sciences Po Paris – Julien TalpinCNRS Université de Lille – Annie LaurentCNRS Lille 2 – Clémentine BerjaudParis 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne – François Briatte et Giuila SandriESPOL

29 November 2018 – ESPOL Conference
China’s Outward Investment: Direct and Indirect Issues for Europe
Jean-Marc Blanchard
Distinguished Professor, School of Advanced International and Areas Studies, East China Normal University (ECNU – Shanghai, China)