Agnieszka Kwiatkowska

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Agnieszka Kwiatkowska is a Jean Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI) and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the SWPS University in Poland.

She holds her PhD in Sociology from the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. Her research interests and expertise include political preferences and voting behaviours, encompassing both the electorate and political elites. She is also an expert in survey research, undertaking projects alongside academic, non-governmental, and business organisations, as well as political parties, think-tanks, and media outlets, including the European Commission, The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

In her recent research project PARLIN. Institutionalisation of political parties in the parliaments of Central Europe - data mining of parliamentary debates (National Science Centre, 2020-2024) she led a team in analysing voting behaviour and parliamentary speeches within five Central European countries. Currently,she also takes part in several other research projects, including ULTRAGEN. Becoming an adult in times of ultra-uncertainty: intergenerational theory of 'shaky' transitions , PI: prof. Paula Pustułka (National Science Centre, 2020-2024), aimed at mixed-methods analysis of the the long-term effects of social crises on adulthood in contemporary Poland and Women in the 2023 Polish elections, PIs: Agnieszka Kwiatkowska, Przemysław Sadura (SWPS University and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, 2023-2024).

During her Jean Monnet Fellowship at the Robert Schuman Centre, she is investigating the discursive strategies related to democratic backsliding and democratic resilience. This research aims to dissect the predominant narratives of democracy as utilised by governing right-wing populist parties and the principal anti-populist opposition parties in Europe by integrating mixed methods research, including the application of advanced machine-learning tools to a database of parliamentary speeches from several European parliaments.

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Research projects

Current projects

  • Discursive strategies od democratic backsliding and democratic resilience in Europe (2023-2024)

    Position: Jean Monnet Fellowship, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

    De-democratization, autocratization or the illiberal turn has been taking place in Europe throughout recent years. The aim of this research is to analyze the most prominent frames of democracy used by the governing right-wing populist parties and main anti-populist opposition parties in Europe. Using mixed-methods research, including advanced machine-learning tools on the database of parliamentary speeches in several European parliaments, I evaluate the effectiveness of discursive strategies of democratic backsliding and democratic resilience.

  • Institutionalization of political parties in the parliaments of Central Europe - data mining of parliamentary debates (2020-2024)

    Funding: National Science Centre

    Position: Principal Investigator

    The research objective is an analysis of institutionalization of political parties since the democratic transition in five Central European countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia and Hungary) as reflected in parliamentary discourse and voting. The goal will be accomplished using a set of data mining methods of analysis of textual (parliamentary debates) and numerical (roll-call voting) data on an innovative database which will be created in the project. We analyse in particular:

    • How and by which parties new political issues were introduced to public discourse?
    • How the semantic content of individual issues, their context and salience changed in the parliamentary debates?
    • What is the relationship between the level of cohesiveness in parliamentary speeches regarding key political issues and party capability of influencing the behaviours of other political parties?
    • What are relationships between: party cohesion in debates, unity in legislative voting and party splits?
  • Polarization and unanimity in Central Europe after the democratic transition - analysis of legislative voting (2018- )

    Funding: National Science Centre

    Position: Principal Investigator

    Roll calls are widely used as a source of data for quantitative analyses, especially for US and Latin American legislators (Carey 2007, Morgenstern 2004) and Western Europe (Rosenthal, Voeten 2004, Hug 2006, 2010). Data collections from Central and Eastern Europe are incomplete and inaccurate (cf. VoteWorld: The International Legislative Roll-Call Voting Website), and their analysis includes, with rare exceptions (eg Carey, Formanek and Karpowicz 1999; Sokolowski et al. al 2008; Dudzińska 2015), only one country and a limited number of terms. As a result, there are no comparative analyses between countries, and it is virtually impossible to generalize the results of research on Central European parliaments.

    The goal of the project was to produce a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of individual voting results in selected Central European Parliaments (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Romania), enriched with parliamentary and legislative metadata. The source of the data will be the websites of the parliaments of selected countries and data provided by governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions. In order to achieve high interoperability and the widest range of applications, the collection will be complemented by ParlGov world-wide resources, including election results, parliaments and governments. This will isolate local and universal effects when controlling macro level variables.

    The result will be the creation of a unique collection of data to analyze the dimensions of the behaviours of political elites. In particular, the following research aims have been investigated: dimensions determining party competition; ideological cohesion of the parties; transformation of inner-party ideological divisions into party splits or loss of members; polarization of party systems; relations between the government and the opposition; socio-political divisions (especially: the attitude towards the communist past, ethnic issues, the state-church dimension, at a later stage - the issue of European integration).

  • Issue Competition Comparative Project (ICCP) (2019- )

    Funding: SWPS University research fund

    Position: Principal Co-investigator for Poland

    Basing on the theoretical foundation of issue yield theory (De Sio and Weber 2014; De Sio 2018), focusing on the herestethic use of policy issues as strategic resources in multidimensional party competition, we analyse party competition in Poland through an issue competition perspective. We use data from two waves of a survey on a representative sample conducted before and after the 2019 parliamentary elections in conjunction with political party activities on Twitter and data from the Manifesto Project.

  • "I will not pass high school exams because I have to fight for women's rights." Social protests in Poland after the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 22,2020 (2020-2021)

    Funding: SWPS University research fund

    Position: Principal Investigator

    The ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 22, 2020, which recognized the embryopathological premise as inconsistent with the Polish Constitution, caused the largest social protests since the democratic transition in 1989. According to police data, at the height of the protests approximately 430,000 people took to the streets in over 400 locations in Poland. The research objective of the project, conducted in mixed-methods methodology, is a sociological and political analysis of people taking part in protests in defense of women's rights, taking into account their motivations, forms and agents of socialization on the way to activism interpreted as entering adulthood in the civic dimension, as well as ideological coherence of participants and intra-group diversity.

  • Political representation in the Parliament of the Republic of Poland during the term 2015-2019 (2017- )

    Funding: SWPS University research fund

    Position: Principal Investigator

    Survey among 125 Polish MPs focusing on their values and preferences and their perception of an idea of representation.

  • Polish people about Polish movies - Research study on opinions on Polish cinema and attitudes towards Polish movie productions (2019-2020)

    Funding: National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute, Polish Film Institute

    Position: Coordinator of survey research

    The study aimed at portreying of the Polish cinema audience: their aspirations and needs, emotions related to cinema, knowledge and behaviours. Secondly, we examined how, in the perception of Poles, Polish cinema presents men and women, society and family, social and professional groups.

Past projects

  • Participation of women in public life (2019)

    Funding: The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

    Position: Coordinator & researcher

    The aim of the study was to analyze the participation of women in the elections to the European Parliament and the national parliament in 2019. The report on the study was presented at the seminar organised by The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • Poles' attitudes to the European Union, democracy and the rule of law (2018-2019)

    Funding: European Commission Representation in Poland

    Position: Coordinator & researcher

    The aim of the analyzes is to provide reliable, in-depth knowledge of Poles' awareness of the European Union in general and in relation to specific issues within the remit of the EU, as well as phenomena inherent in EU membership - democracy and the rule of law.

  • Women's rights to be elected and the anti-discrimination mechanisms (2018)

    Funding: The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

    Position: Coordinator & researcher

    The aim of the project was to obtain in-depth knowledge on the impact of the quota mechanism introduced in 2011, introducing the amount of 35% for each gender on the election lists in all elections using proportional electoral system. The study was conducted on a representative quota-random sample (N = 10,521) at the turn of October and November 2018 (between the 1st and 2nd round of local elections). The report from the study, Women in elections and anti-discrimination mechanisms - the current state and forecasts for the future, presented on a conference Unfinished emancipation? 100 years of women's suffrage examines a number of issues relating to the differences observed in the political participation of women and men, including:

    • Poles' beliefs about the reasons for the lower presence of women in politics
    • Differences in political participation between women and men
    • Awareness about the the quota system and public preferences towards modifications of this tool, i.e. what potential improvements to this project have a chance of gaining public support.

  • Green Politics in Poland

    My Ph.D. thesis was concerned with the process of the Polish Green Party institutionalisation and based on the research project I started as soon as the party emerged. I analysed their institutionalisation, internal divisions and conflicts, co-operation with other movements, their social base, allies and opponents as well as opportunities and obstacles of implementing their demands and achieving political success. The research methods included regular surveys at all official party congresses, interviews with key position holders, participatory observation, analysis of party documents, promotional materials and media coverage, and national and cross-national survey data analysis.

    I am now extending my analyses to the Green voters in East and Central Europe, their preferences and possibilities of mobilisation to identify cultural, institutional and political obstacles for the Green Politics in East and Central Europe.

  • Social Movements in Poland

    Transition from communist systems to democracy has found new social movements (NSM) activists in a very difficult situation. Their pre-war organisational structures and networks were destroyed by the communist governments or infiltrated by the security services. The externally imposed authoritarian regimes had also caused a number of pathologies in public life: the lack of tradition of self-organising and the destruction of fundamental social bonds that form the basis of trust towards fellow citizens, resulting in mistrust and suspiciousness against any public activity and, therefore, low levels of social activism. My research in this area is focused on the environmental, feminist and LGBT movements, as well as contemporary social and political activism in Poland in general.

  • State, Citizenship and Inequality

    I am interested in the issue of political representation and inequality in possibilities of exercising individual’s citizenship rights and political impact. I analysed differences in citizenship knowledge and practices between men and women, their divergent ways of self-defining as members of a social and political community, and parties’ and voters’ preferences on gender of the candidates on electoral lists. I also conducted research on political preferences and voting behaviours, the impact of socio-political cleavages on the political competition, and analysed political elite formation in Poland. Currently I am researching the causes of differentiation in government responsiveness towards social movements’ claims.

  • Political aspects of immigration and problems of translating political systems

    I have recently started researching the impact of the process of migration on changes in political perception and behaviour of the immigrants from Central East European countries. Researching migrants gives an exceptional opportunity of discovering the process of adjustment of political orientations to the new system by adult, socialised individuals, and assessing which of their components remain invariant and are carried over to the new situation, and which are replaced by local equivalents. I am interested both in how they translate political preferences and ways of understanding political events across different political systems and spaces of political competition, and, what kind of differences exists in conceptualisation of belonging and citizenship between home country and state of residence; which parts of citizen identification and practices are exclusive and which exists in both countries.

  • Parliamentary elites

    ‘Political representation in the Parliament of the Republic of Poland during the term 2015-2019’. Survey among MPs focusing on their ideological position and their perception of an idea of representation

  • Parliamentary speeches

    Parliamentary debates are a very multifaceted source of information, in comparison with other methods of determining party positioning, like roll-call data analysis (especially when party discipline is enforced), party programs (in which the organisation is trying to present one, coherent approach, strategically imposed by a party elite, rather than a variety of ideological options existing within a party), or expert evaluations (in which experts are asked to provide an ideal point of a party position instead of a range). Therefore, they allow for the broader comparison of inter-party and intra-party conflicts and dimensions of competition and their change in time.

  • Polish National Election Study PNES)

    The Polish National Election Study (PNES) survey began in 1997 and has been carried out after each of the five subsequent elections. Each PNES survey incorporates the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) core module, providing political scientists with a rich set of data on the mode and quality of political representation and accountability, the extent and durability of political cleavages, citizens’ normative visions of and evaluations of democracy, the positions of citizens on key political issues and their broad ideological leanings, retrospective and prospective evaluations of the economic situation, party identification and political preferences, socio-demographic characteristics, and the relationship between all the aforementioned factors and the key dependent variables of electoral participation and vote choice.





Selected media appearances