Eline Severs

Pleinlaan 5 (room 2.67)
1050 Brussels
++32 (0)2 614 81 06

Eline Severs is assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Eline holds a PhD degree in Political Science from the University of Antwerp (2012). From 2012 till 2015, she combined her post-doctoral research with the scientific coordination of the Policy Research Centre on Equality Policies (PRCEP) ('Steunpunt Gelijkekansen'). The PRCEP was an inter-university research consortium funded by the Flemish Government Departments on Science and Equal Opportunities (2012-2015). It conducted policy-preporatory research for the Flemish Minister of Equal Opportunities. Within the framework of the PRCEP, Eline organised the 3rd 'Equal is not Enough: Exploring novel theoretical and empirical approaches toward studying (in)equalities' (2015).

Research Interests: 

Eline conducts research on political representation. Her current research projects centre on (i) the legitimacy of representative democracies and (ii) social group representation:

  • Her research on the legitimacy of representative democracies seeks to shed light on the meaning of the so-called crisis of representation in contemporary democracies. Abandoning prior conceptions of what constitutes legitimacy, she studies (through interviews and focus groups) how elected representatives and citizens give meaning to their expectations toward and disappointments with representative democracy.
  • Her recent research on social group representation aims to clarify which representatives are preferable over others. As an entry point into this puzzle, she studies discourses of 'betrayal' in ethnic minority representation and analyses the ways in which ethnic minority representatives present themselves and are being represented within the press. She compares these findings against representatives' activities in parliament. She combines these empirical findings with theoretical analysis of the nature of (democratic) representation.