Nicole Lindstrom is visiting CSGR on a GARNET faculty mobility scheme. She holds a full-time position as Assistant Professor in the departments of International Relations and European Studies and Political Science at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. In 2005-06 she was a visiting faculty member in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School for Social Research in New York City. She completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 2002, with concentrations in comparative politics and international relations.
Her main area of expertise is the comparative political economy of the New Europe, with a particular focus on the dynamic interactions between transnational influences and domestic change in Central and East Europe (CEE) and the Balkans. Her major project to date is a monograph entitled East of Eden: Domestic Politics of Europeanization in the New Europe, which seeks to “bring politics back in” to the study of Europeanization by examining how domestic conflicts over European integration are embedded within path dependent varieties of capitalism in CEE. An article outlining the main analytical framework of the book is currently under a second review at World Politics. Forthcoming in Competition and Change is an analysis of domestic debates surrounding the implementation of EU competition policy in Slovenia, namely over the sale of domestic banks and breweries to West European investors. A volume she co-edited with Mitchell Orenstein and Stephen Bloom, entitled Transnational Actors in Central and East European Transitions, compares rationalist and constructivist approaches to transnational agenda setting and the impact of transnational actors (including but not limited to the EU) on domestic change in the region.
Her next planned research project analyses political debates over the liberalization of services in the newly enlarged EU. Her interest in this topic was piqued by the Laval case in which a Latvian construction firm, hired by a Swedish municipality to refurbish a primary school, refused to enter a Swedish collective bargaining agreement. After Swedish courts ruled in favor of the Swedish electrical union’s right to boycott the construction site, the Latvian government has now taken the case to the European Court of Justice on the grounds that Swedish labour laws violate EU rules related to the free movement of services (Article 49). Observers point to the case as evidence of a growing rift between old and new EU member states, with the former raising fears of social dumping and a “race to the bottom” and the latter appealing to European and global norms of free market competitiveness. An article in progress assesses whether debates over this case indeed are waged along Old/New EU member divide or, alternatively, whether the case highlights new trans-European ideological cleavages over the future of social Europe. The article is the beginning of a book length project that will examine the extent to which political struggles over the liberalisation of EU services are linked to broader debates over GATS negotiations in the WTO.