New at Leuphana - Prof. Dr Astrid Séville: "Statesmanlike flippancy"

2024-04-17 The Professor of Political Science, in particular Political Theory, specialises in political communication and representation, among other things. She also analyses the language of politicians such as Robert Habeck.

Prof. Dr. Astrid Séville ©Leuphana/Teresa Halbreiter
"I like the great collegiality at Leuphana. That's not a given and makes it easier to do research together." explains Astrid Séville.

Political representation is changing: "In political science, we have been discussing a crisis of representation for some time now. Party ties, for example, have become fragile. It is also no longer evident which political identity someone has, which milieu they feel they belong to. Parties and politicians in general need to respond to this," explains Astrid Séville. In the Re/Präsentation research project, the political scientist cooperates with Prof Dr Julian Müller, visiting professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leuphana, and the literary scholar Prof Dr Christian Kirchmeier, University of Bremen, to investigate modern forms of political advocacy and discourse. "In social media, for example, citizens can present themselves. Self-narratives are evidence of a form of politicisation, for example when people post about their own plastic avoidance or veganism," explains Astrid Séville.

However, the researcher is also interested in politicians' self-narratives: "There is a genre of political self-testimonies, such as books in which politicians talk about how they came to their politics."

Re/Präsentation is based on the hypothesis that the transformation of political representation and the transformation of political self-presentation not only take place simultaneously, but are also interrelated. The research group therefore investigates the interrelationship between media forms of presentation of subjects and their political representation.

The research project "Re/Presentation" is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

Astrid Séville's book "Politische Redeweisen", co-authored with Julian Müller, was recently published. It also contains a chapter on Robert Habeck. Astrid Séville and her colleague Julian Müller used the scene when the Minister of Economic Affairs stood in Qatar with a flapping tie and spoke to the German people: "I am now in Doha. On the second day of a trip that is totally strange. People are dying in Ukraine, and here, you can see how the skyline is here." Robert Habeck is on first-name-terms with his viewers, talks about his feelings, and reports on conversations with the emir about energy supplies.

The two authors attest to Habeck's "statesmanlike flippancy": "On heute-Journal, Robert Habeck suddenly said 'You won’t get it, mate'. At the same time, he often refers to his oath of office with great pathos. However, we recognise paradoxical couplings not only in Robert Habeck," says the political scientist.

In another project, the political scientist is looking at the semantics of renunciation. "We are asking how Western affluent societies wrestle with the concept of renunciation. We are not used to the idea of economic shrinkage," explains the researcher. She is continuing the project at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities as a corresponding member. An anthology on the semantics of renunciation is to be published.

Transferring her research to the public and to politics is also part of her work. She is frequently in political Berlin, for example in the Federal Chancellery and the Office of the Federal President.

Astrid Séville made a conscious decision in favour of Leuphana. "I like the great collegiality at Leuphana. That's not a given and makes it easier to do research together." When it comes to teaching, she is impressed by the students: "The Leuphana semester definitely has an impact: the bachelor's students understand that a seminar room is not a classroom. They are critical and alert."

Astrid Séville studied Political Science, Historical Anthropology and Romance Studies in Freiburg and Paris. After completing her Magister Artium, she was a doctoral scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation from 2011 to 2015. She received the Körber Foundation's German Study Prize for her dissertation in 2016. Astrid Séville was a research assistant at the Geschwister Scholl Institute for Political Science at LMU from 2012. She has been a temporary academic counsellor at the Chair of Political Theory there since 2017. In 2014, she visited the Centre des Études européennes (CEE) at Sciences Po in Paris as a Visiting Fellow and in 2015 the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought at Queen Mary University London. From 2016 to 2020, she was a member of the Junge Akademie Mainz; in 2018, she was appointed to the Junge Kolleg of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities with the research focus "The Provocation of Liberal Democracy. Phenomenology of Antipopulism". She left here when she took up her position at Leuphana. From 2018 to 2022, she led the third-party funded project "Antipopulism: Knowledge Transfer and Action Strategies in Political Education" together with Prof. Dr Karsten Fischer (LMU) in the research network "Future of Democracy" funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts. In the winter semester 2023/24, she became Professor of Political Science, in particular Political Theory, at Leuphana University Lüneburg.


  • Prof. Dr. Astrid Séville