Welcome

I am a sociologist researching contemporary political conflicts and their roots in social inequality. I work as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Humboldt University Berlin.


On this website you can find information about my research and publications, teaching, media appearances, and my CV.

Research

I am interested in the way ordinary people relate to politics, and how divided political worldviews emerge from unequal lives.
The following are central themes of my research. Publications and projects are listed here.


Class

While inequalities keep growing across advanced capitalist countries, class conflict has become demobilized. How does this change the way citizens, particularly workers, experience and critique inequalities? In which ways do working and middle class citizens relate to politics differently, and how does this shape the larger landscape of conflicts?

Morality

Moral distinctions between good and bad, worthy and unworthy, deserving and undeserving groups are a powerful force in citizens’ political reasoning. Much of my research asks how morality shapes political worldviews. How is morality used to legitimize and critique inequalities? When does morality become a “trigger point” for social and political conflicts?

Cleavages

New issues like migration, climate change, and sexual diversity are reordering political cleavages. I am interested in the way lifestyles and group boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ shape alignments in this new political landscape. Is people’s sense of where they stand on contentious issues linked to their sense of who they are?

Qualitative studies

I believe that studies of public opinion needs to complement survey-based research with ‘listening methods’ that help us understand politics from the point of view of ordinary citizens. How do people make up their minds about politics? What is politics about in their words? What makes specific issues, policies, and styles resonate?

Contact

linus.westheuser@hu-berlin.de / Twitter / BlueSky