The ghost of Stein Rokkan is with me at studio #11

CASBS has more than 50 studios, each one displaying a long list of ghosts, previous CASBS fellows that occupied the studio for a year since 1955. In my door, I have some names that blow my mind, like Sidney Verba and John Aldrich. But my favorite one is Stein Rokkan. There are several reasons why he is my favorite. First of all, Rokkan is a proper ghost: 2019 will be the 40th anniversary of his death. He died young, only 58, but he had enough time to leave a lasting imprint in the people that worked with him. My dear former supervisor Stefano Bartolini (who is not prone to compliments, but knows how to make them when they are due), told me many times during our time at the EUI about the generous, humble, brilliant academic nature of Rokkan. These warm feelings of admiration have somehow reached me without knowing him personally. While writing my PhD I read and re-read Rokkan’s work on European cleavages and party systems (some of which has been re-edited by Peter Flora at OUP), each time finding some new source of inspiration in it. These pages structured the way I think about politics, which are now about to be shaken upside down by my year at CASBS. As it happens my PhD dissertation later was awarded the Stein Rokkan prize for Comparative Social Science Research, one of the academic achievements I am most proud and grateful about (with my UAB research group and my CASBS fellowship, of course!). And about 20 years after, here I am again with Stein, who was sitting right here about half a century ago, by my side.

PS. Applications for 2019-20 CASBS fellowships are now open!