Stijn van Kessel joined Loughborough in October 2012. Between October 2013 and September 2015 he carried out a research project at the Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung (PRuF) at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. This project was funded through a postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
After having completed a BSc (2005) and MSc (2006, ‘cum laude’) in Political Science at the VU University Amsterdam, Stijn defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Sussex in November 2011. Subsequently, he has been visiting lecturer at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the VU University Amsterdam.
Since January 2014, Stijn has been one of the convenors of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy (together with Sarah de Lange, Andrea Pirro and Matthijs Rooduijn).
Stijn's doctoral research focused on the concept of populism and the electoral performance of populist political parties in Europe. These are also the themes of his monograph Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
The book presents the results of a mixed-methods research project, combining a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 31 European countries with three in-depth case studies of the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom. The study includes populist parties of various ideological kinds – thus moving beyond examples of the 'right' – and covers long-established Western European countries as well as post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Stijn’s wider research interests include populist radical right party discourse, party competition and elections, developments in European party systems, and related questions of democratic legitimacy