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

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


Digital Parties Research Network

This network’s aim is to analyse political parties in digital age. The main overarching questions are to what extent is there such thing as “digital parties” and if so, what is it and how does it differ from other parties. Furthermore, the degree of (organisational) transformation (or lack of it) of parties in the digital age is a focus of the network.



Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) Euro-lab – Réseau de recherche interdisciplinaire sur l’Union européenne

The Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) « Euro-Lab » – Réseau interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l’Union européenne (Scientific Interest Group – Interdisciplinary Research Network on the European Union), lead by the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, the CNRS, the University of Strasbourg, and supported by 24 other partner universities and Grandes Écoles throughout France, including ESPOL, is a large research network whose purpose is to federate all academics in the humanities and social sciences who work on the European Union.



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).




“Environmental justice analysis to advance rural landscape transformations in the face of climate change”

ESPOL-LAB is a partner in the Just-Scapes project, a 3-year project coordinated by the University of East Anglia and funded by the Pan-European intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative Climate(JPI Climate) as part of its SOLSTICE progamme.



“Scientific Networks & Conferences”

ESPOL is involved in the NETCONF project (Networks & Scientific Congresses) launched in 2019 and co-sponsored with CRIEF (University of Poitiers) and CNRS. Thanks to funding from the Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) Réseau URFIST and the CNRS, NETCONF brings together 7 institutions with the objective of characterising the effect that congresses can have on the dynamics of scientific networks and their internationalisation.



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.




PEOPLE – Pratiques Électorales et OPinions Lors des Élections de 2022 project (2021-2022)

PEOPLE2022 (“Electoral behaviour and political opinions of citizens in the 2022 French presidential elections”) is a research project funded by the “Ambroise” research grants of the Université catholique de Lille, ESPOL and the CERAPS research centre of the University of Lille. The project explores French citizens’ participation in electoral campaigns on online and offline media as well as media’s influence on their voting behaviour in the context of (post) health crisis. The project entails the quantitative analysis of online media content, an online survey and exit polls.



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.




(Semences Paysannes)

Developing the resilience of organic field crop sectors in a context of climate change and protection of water resources: the development of farmers’ seeds and their use by the sector

ESPOL-LAB is involved since late 2020 in the “Semences paysannes” (“Farmer’s seeds”) project alongside Bio en Grand Est and ARDEAR Grand-Est. Funded by Agence de l’eau Seine Normandie for a durationof 3 years, the project aims to contribute to the preservation of water resources by changing agricultural practices through the development of farmer seeds as mean to save water.



The Sport and Politics Research International Network Group

SPRING, the Sport and Politics Research International Network Group, was officially founded on 22 October 2021 to analyse how sport interacts with issues of politics. Its founding symposium “Global Issues and Sport” paved the way for exporing the questions of climate change and greenwashing in sports, of sports and human rights, of sports and globalisation, and other topics.


Former projects

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

The PELICAN project (“Electoral Participation in the Lille Metropolis”) is a research project funded by ESPOL, the school of political science of the Catholic University of Lille, and the CERAPS research lab of the University of Lille. Thr PELICAN team was part of the lager national research group « Collectif de Recherche sur les Élections Municipales et Intercommunales (CREMI) » (Research Collective on Municipal and Intercommunal Elections). The project aimed to examine the composition of the electoral lists of municipalities in the Hauts-de-France region, and to study both the determinants of voter turnout and abstention in this election. This research agenda evolved due to the health crisis overlapping with the project period.


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Project “Farmer-led strategies to resist factory farming in the Global South”

Dr Brendan Coolsaet (ESPOL) and Dr Kristin Reynolds (The New School / Yale University) were awarded a grant by Tiny Beam Fund, a private US-based foundation, in 2019 for the “Farmer-led strategies to resist factory farming in the Global South” project.

The research project was about understanding the dynamics of small-scale and industrial livestock production in emerging economies such as Brazil, India, and China, as well as regions of the world that have traditionally received less attention in ‘pro-poor’ agricultural development, such as parts of West Africa or East Africa.

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 twenty-one faculty members working on the transformation of European and global politics: eighteen 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 ten 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.


Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy

François BRIATTE

Assistant Lecturer of Political Science, Co-Head of International Mobility


Associate Professor of Political Science

Thierry CHOPIN

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


Associate Professor of Environmental Politics

Shoshana Fine

Associate Professor of Political Science, Head of the Bachelor's degree in International Relations


Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Political Science, Deputy Director for International Affairs


Associate Professor of Political Science

Michael HOLMES

Associate Professor of Political Science, Co-Head of International Mobility

Camille KELBEL

Director of the academic programmes


Professor of political science, Deputy Director for Research


Director of ESPOL, Associate Professor of Political Science

Pierre-Yves NERON

Associate Professor of Economic and Social Ethics


Associate Professor of International Relations


Associate Professor of Political Science


Associate Professor of Political Science, Academic Advisor, Head of the Bachelor's degree in Political Sciences


Associate Professor of international law

Felix-Christopher VON-NOSTITZ

Associate Professor of Political Science


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

Postdoctoral Researchers


Postdoctoral Researcher

Mathilde Gingembre

Postdoctoral researcher

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. To be eligible, researchers have to maintain a working relationship (e.g. a joint piece of research, writing project etc.) with one or more members of ESPOL-LAB prior to their association.

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


Teaching and Research Assistant & Associate Research Fellow at ESPOL

Benjamin NEIMARK

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

Massimiliano NICOLI

Teaching Fellow & 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


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


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



20 January 2022 – ESPOL seminar
The UN SDGs and food system transformation

Sabine WEILAND ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille

3 February 2022 – ESPOL conference
« No Demos, souveraineté et démocratie à l’épreuve de l’Europe »

Céline SPECTOR Sorbonne Université

24 February 2022 – ESPOL conference
The politics of (non)knowledge at Europe’s borders: Errors, fakes and subjectivity

Sarah PERRET King’s College London, United Kingdom

3 March 2022 – ESPOL seminar
Europeanisation of digital health policies in France, Austria, and Ireland
Laboratoire Printemps, DREES (Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé)

9 March 2022 ESPOL seminar
Climate change and security. Administrations facing the global and uncertainty
Sofia KABBEJ – University of Queensland, Australia

17 March 2022 – ESPOL conference
Populist radical right parties in Europe and Latin America
Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, Chile

24 March 2022 – ESPOL seminar
« Une perspective wébérienne de l’articulation empirie et théorie »
Béatrice HIBOU
Sciences Po Paris, CERI

Download the semester programme


28 January 2021 – ESPOL Conference
Beyond populism: Critical reflections on the debate about populism
Benjamin DE CLEEN Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

11 February 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
The European Union in the Sahel: Projecting stability, transforming the region
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

4 March 2021 – ESPOL Conference
Diplomatic courtship and contestation in EU-Russia relations
Anna-Sophie MAASS
University of Lancaster, United Kingdom

18 March 2021 – ESPOL Conference
Harassment in Politics. The character, explanations and impact of political harassment
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

15-16 April 2021ESPOL Symposium
The Making of Modern International Realm:
T. Hobbes to J. Bentham
Benjamin BOURCIER ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France
Mikko JAKONEN University of Jyväskylä, Finlande

22 April 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
Un nouveau droit pour l’anthropocène ?
Vers un droit des relations humains/non-humains ?
Université de Bordeaux, France

6 May 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
Militer, soulager, humilier, injurier :
Regards sur le rire politique en France lors des élections présidentielles de 2017
Guillaume GRIGNARD
– Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

23 September 2021ESPOL Seminar
Framing Covid-19: Crises narratives and Europeanization in French, German and Swedish public discourse
Tatiana COUTTO Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE), Sciences Po Paris, France

30 September 2021ESPOL Conference (online)
Continuation or change? Germany after the Federal Elections

Stephan BUKOW Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin, Germany

14 October 2021ESPOL Inaugural Lecture (online)
Making moral migration policies

Shoshana FINE ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France

21 October 2021ESPOL Seminar
Face à la nécessaire adaptation aux bouleversements de notre monde – Climat / biodiversité / géopolitique / technologie : Les défaillances de l’organisation institutionnelle française

Thomas WERQUIN urban planner and teaching assistant at ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France

18 November 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
Book launch: “Rewriting Histories of the Use of Force.” Cambridge University Press 2021
Agatha VERDEBOUT – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France

25 November 2021 – ESPOL Conference (online)
Book launch and panel discussion: “Digital parties. The Challenges of Online Organisation and Participation.” Springer 2021

Giulia SANDRI – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France and guests




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