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Özlem Atikcan


Room: E2.20

Advice and Feedback Hours:

Tuesdays: 11:30-12:30 (via Teams)
Thursdays: 13.30-14:30 (in person)
Please use this online booking form to book a 10-minute slot.

Framing the European Union


I am a Professor of Politics and International Studies. I am also the Principal Investigator of the FRAMENET project, a Co-Investigator of the RED-SPINEL project, and a member of Jean Monnet Network on Transatlantic Trade Politics.

Please click here for my full CV.


I joined PAIS as an Assistant Professor in September 2016 and have been a Professor since August 2021. Before PAIS, I was based at Université Laval, Canada. I completed my doctoral programme in political science at McGill University in Canada and I was also a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of Université de Montréal-McGill University.

My work has appeared in Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, 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

I am fascinated by Comparative Politics and comparative research designs. My research focuses on framing theory, global policymaking and diffusion of norms, referendum politics, direct democracy, migration studies, and politicisation of trade agreements.

I have been studying framing processes in referendums on the European Union by using comparative designs. This body of work led to a unique dataset consisting of over 160 interviews with campaign elites (extensive field research on 14 referendums in 7 countries) as well as archival, media content and public opinion data. My more recent research started exploring framing and politicisation dynamics in international trade agreements.

I am 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, with an overall budget of £1 million). FRAMENET brings together scholars from Warwick and Essex from the UK, University of Dresden from Germany and Université Laval from Canada. Partnered by the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), 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.

I am also a Co-Investigator of the RED-SPINEL project, 'Respond to Emerging Dissensus: SuPranational Instruments and Norms of European democracy'. This project is funded by Horizon Europe and is led by Université Libre de Bruxelles. It started in October 2022 and is a €3.2 million, interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral project involving seven universities and four non-academic partners across Europe. George Christou and I are leading a work package on ‘Capacity-building, promoting democratic deliberation and problem-solving', which will develop a set of original training sessions and toolkits aimed at supporting European citizens and policymakers.

Teaching and supervision

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Comparative Politics and European Integration.

I am keen to supervise PhD students whose proposals relate to the research interests noted above. My current PhD students include:

  • Rayane Anser, Role of Constitutions in Consolidating Hybrid Regimes, co-supervised with Renske Doorenspleet at UoW. (External scholarship)
  • Anne-Marie Houde, Role of Emotions in Framing Europe, co-supervised with Alex Homolar at UoW. (University scholarship)
  • Holly Rodgers, Populism and Identity Shifts in Central and Eastern Europe, co-supervised with Mike Saward and Richard Youngs at UoW. (ESRC 1+3 scholarship)

  • Guillermo Alonso Simon, The Lagging South: A historical analysis of the capitalist development of Spain and Italy during the third stage of the EMU, co-supervised with Ben Clift at UoW. (University scholarship)

  • Louis Stockwell, The Impact of Direct Democracy on Polarisation, co-supervised with Mike Saward at UoW. (Department scholarship)

  • Sofie Roehrig, FRAMENET project, co-supervised with Anna Holzscheiter at University of Dresden. (ORA funding)
  • Serafine Dinkel, GEM-DIAMOND, co-supervised with Seda Gurkan at Université Libre de Bruxelles. (EU funding)
  • Damien Pennetreau, Framing of Employment and Health Policy, committee member at UC Louvain. (FNRS scholarship)



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:

'Moral Framing and Referendum Politics: Navigating the Empathy Battlefield', Political Psychology, vol.45, no.1, 193-210, 2024.
Co-authored with Karen Hand.

'Politicisation, Business Lobbying, and the Design of Preferential Trade Agreements', Journal of European Public Policy, forthcoming.
Co-authored with Elise Antoine and Adam Chalmers.

'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.