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Ramsey Albers wins Political Science Master’s Thesis Prize 2022

Each year, supervisors within the Institute of Political Science are asked to nominate exceptional theses for the annual Thesis Prize. This resulted in a shortlist of six well-written and thoroughly researched master’s theses. On 14 October 2022, during the master’ graduation ceremony, the winner was announced: Ramsey Albers. His work on politically excluded parties is the best Political Science master’s thesis of 2021-2022.

Six nominations

For the academic year 2021-2022, the jury received six nominations:

  • Ramsey Albers, Verbannen dissidenten radicaliseren: Een onderzoek naar het veranderende discours van uitgesloten partijen (supervisor: Peter Castenmiller; second reader: Simon Otjes)
  • Casper Leander Djerf, The Justification of Illegal Pushbacks at the EU’s External Borders: Beyond the “General (In)securitized Context” Understanding of the (In)securitization of Migrants in EU Politics (supervisor: Rebecca Ploof; second reader: Marco Verschoor)
  • Merle Giehler, Empowering Sluts: The Manosphere and Feminism, an Analysis of Contemporary Movement-Countermovement Dynamics (supervisor: Hilde van Meegdenburg; second reader: Katharina Natter)
  • Elizabeth de Jager, Pre-Colonial Statehood and Post-Independence Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analysis of Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, and Zambia (supervisor: Leila Demarest; second reader: Jonathan Phillips)
  • Wonjung Kim, Change of Power and Alliance Commitment: The Impact of the Time-Inconsistency Problem on Alliance Reliability (supervisor: Juan Masullo Jimenez; second reader: Roos van der Haer)
  • Martine Schaap, Recognition vs. Redistribution: A False Dichotomy? (supervisor: Frank de Zwart; second reader: Petr Kopecký)

It was up to Martijn Mos and Michael Sampson to pick a winner.

Honourable mention: Martine Schaap

Among these outstanding theses, the jury gave an honorable mention to Martine Schaap for her thesis, titled Recognition vs. Redistribution: A False Dichotomy? The jury was especially impressed by the study’s research design and empirical analysis.

‘Compelling and orginal analysis’

The winner of this year's Thesis Prize, however, is Ramsey Albers. His thesis, the title of which can be translated as ‘The Radicalisation of Ostracised Dissidents: An Investigation into the Changing Discourse of Politically Excluded Parties’, impressed the jury on all counts.

The thesis explores the effects of being ostracized, for instance when parties announce a cordon sanitaire, on the discursive behavior of radical-right parties. Ramsey finds that two Dutch parties, the Party for Freedom (PVV) and Forum for Democracy (FvD), used increasingly radical language on Twitter after the mainstream right-wing party, the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), excluded them from coalition talks.

Mos and Sampson note in the jury report: ‘Ramsey’s thesis ‘displays a great mastery of the relevant literature; makes a relevant theoretical argument; and is based on a compelling and original analysis. The jury therefore congratulates Ramsey Albers with this much-deserved award.’

Ramsey Albers
Ramsey Albers (R) after receiving the prize from jury member Martijn Mos (L), Photo ©: Babra Verbij
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