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Özlem Atikcan

Associate Professor

Room: E2.20

Advice and Feedback Hours:

By appointment

Framing the European Union


Dr Ece Özlem Atikcan is an Associate Professor of Comparative Politics. She is the Director of Research Degrees and a member of the Senior Management Team at PAIS, and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the European Institute of UCL.

Dr Atikcan is also the Principal Investigator of the FRAMENET project and member of Jean Monnet Networks on Transatlantic Trade Politics and on the Politicisation of Europe.

Click here to view Dr Atikcan’s home page.


Before joining PAIS in 2016, Dr Atikcan was an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at Université Laval, Canada. She completed her master's programme in EU law at the University of Sussex in the UK, and her doctoral programme in political science at McGill University in Canada. She was also a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of Université de Montréal-McGill University.

Her work has appeared in European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties, Journal of Public Policy, Journal of European Integration, and as books with Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and McGill-Queen's University Press.

Research Interests

Dr Atikcan is fascinated by Comparative Politics and comparative research designs. Her research focuses on European integration, framing theory, global diffusion of norms, referendum politics, direct democracy, political campaigns, social movements, and politicisation of trade agreements.

Dr Atikcan's research has studied framing processes in referendums on European Union by using different comparative designs. Her work built on a unique dataset consisting of over 160 interviews with campaign elites, a result of extensive field research on 14 referendums in 7 countries, as well as archival, media content and public opinion data. Her more recent research started explores framing and politicisation dynamics in international trade agreements.

Dr Atikcan is currently leading a multinational research project, Frames in Production: Actors, Networks, Diffusion (FRAMENET). The project started in April 2021 and is funded by the Open Research Area (ESRC, DFG and SSHRC). FRAMENET brings together scholars from Warwick, Essex and Aston from the UK, University of Dresden from Germany and Université Laval from Canada. Partnered by the German Development Institute, the project team aims to create a new, comparative research agenda that investigates when and how specific statements emerge in a political debate, by which kinds of actors they are proposed, and whether and how they diffuse to others. The project studies frames in five issue areas (trade, immigration, environment, global health, and transparency), with two carefully selected political debates in each of these issue areas. The study will rely on Discourse Network Analysis (studying the content of arguments together with the networks of actors) and interviews to study these exciting research questions.

Teaching and supervision

Dr Atikcan teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Comparative Politics and European Integration.

She is keen to supervise PhD students whose proposals relate to the research interests noted above. Her current PhD students include:

  • Rayane Anser, Role of Constitutions in Consolidating Hybrid Regimes, co-supervised with Renske Doorenspleet at UoW.
  • Anne-Marie Houde, Role of Emotions in Framing Europe, co-supervised with Alex Homolar at UoW.
  • Holly Rodgers, Populism and Identity Shifts in Central and Eastern Europe, co-supervised with Mike Saward and Richard Youngs at UoW.
  • Damien Pennetreau, Framing of Employment and Health Policy, committee member at UC Louvain.



Framing the European Union: The Power of Political Arguments in Shaping European Integration, (Cambridge University Press, October 2015).

Framing Risky Choices: Brexit and the Dynamics of High-Stakes Referendums, (McGill-Queen’s University Press, May 2020).
Co-authored with Richard Nadeau and Éric Bélanger.

Edited textbook:

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of Key Concepts, (Oxford University Press, 2021).
Co-edited with Jean Frédéric Morin and Christian Olsson.

Refereed journal articles:

'Emotions, Cognitions and Moderation: Understanding Losers’ Consent in the 2016 Brexit Referendum', Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties, vol.31, no.1, 77-96, 2021.
Co-authored with Richard Nadeau and Éric Bélanger.

'Choosing Lobbying Sides: The General Data Protection Regulation of the EU’, Journal of Public Policy, vol.39, no.4, 543-564, 2019.
Co-authored with Adam Chalmers.

    'Agenda Control in EU Referendum Campaigns: The Power of the Anti-EU Side', European Journal of Political Research, vol.57, no.1, 93-115, February 2018.

    The Puzzle of Double Referendums in the European Union’, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol.53, no.3, 937-956, September 2015.

    Diffusion in Referendum Campaigns: The Case of EU Constitutional Referendums’, Journal of European Integration, vol.37, no.4, 451-470, February 2015.

    Referendum Campaigns in Polarized Societies: The Case of Turkey’, Turkish Studies, vol.13, no.3,449-470, September 2012.
    Co-authored with Kerem Oge.

    European Union and Minorities: Different Paths of Europeanization?’, Journal of European Integration, vol.32, no.4, 375-392, July 2010.

    Book chapters:

    ‘The Shifting Will of the People: The Case of EU Referendums’, in Julie Smith, ed., Palgrave Handbook on European Referendums, (Palgrave, forthcoming).

    ‘Referendums on European Integration’, in Laurence Morel and Matt Qvortrup, eds., The Routledge Handbook to Referendums and Direct Democracy, (Routledge, 2017).

    ‘Les référendums et les élections européennes’, in Olivier Costa and Frédéric Mérand, eds., Traité d’études européennes, (Larcier, 2018).

    ‘Direct Democracy: Remedying the Democratic Deficit?’, in Finn Laursen, ed., The EU and the Eurozone Crisis: Policy Challenges and Strategic Choices (Routledge: 2013).

    Policy papers and blogs:

    Framing risky choices: How the Leave campaign convinced Britain to take a leap into the unknown’, European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog, The London School of Economics and Political Science, November 2020.

    Losers’ consent and Brexit: the distinction between ‘graceful’ and ‘sore’ losers’, British Politics and Policy blog, The London School of Economics and Political Science, May 2019.

    'Political Controversy about International Economic Agreements: Lessons for the Canada-UK Trade Negotiations after Brexit', International Journal 74 (3), 453-462.
    Co-authored with Achim Hurrelmann, Adam William Chalmers and Crina Viju-Miljusevic.

    'Brexit Divisions: What You Ought to Know about EU Referendums and the UK Debate?’, openDemocracy blog, March 2016. (Guest Editors with Claudia Sternberg)

    'The Puzzle of EU Referendums’, openDemocracy blog, March 2016.

    Asking the Public Twice: Why Do Voters Change Their Minds in Second Referendums on EU Treaties?’, European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog, The London School of Economics and Political Science, October 2015.

    Working papers:

    Citizenship or Denizenship: The Treatment of Third Country Nationals in the EU’, Sussex European Institute Working Papers, no.85, May 2006.


    'Is Brexit Definitely Going to Happen?', video explainer, The Guardian, 24 August 2018.