Polish Studies Initiative Grant Recipient Presented Research Findings

Peter J. Tunkis, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State, has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Education for calendar year 2015. Following-up on preliminary findings drawn from research conducted in Poland (May-July 2014) with support from the  Polish Studies Initiative and in affiliation with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS-PAN), Tunkis will be returning to Poland and the Czech Republic to collect archival material and conduct interviews with elected officials needed for his dissertation.

His dissertation, entitled “Safety in Numbers – Group Linkages and the Persistence of Party Switching,” examines the widespread and persistent phenomenon of elected parliamentarians’ defections or changing political party affiliations in Poland (the Sejm) and the Czech Republic (the Poslanecka Snemovna). Tunkis’ dissertation uses biographical and career data of elected members of parliament (MPs), qualitative content analysis of media reports and semi-structured process-driven interviews with current and former Polish and Czech MPs to test his argument that this phenomenon is very often group-based rather than the result of a purely individual decision alone.

With support from Fulbright-Hays, Tunkis will spend approximately twelve months on the ground conducting the necessary fieldwork to complete his dissertation. While in Poland from January to July 2015, he will be affiliated as a visiting scholar with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS-PAN), under the guidance of Professors Andrzej Rychard and Kazimierz M. Slomczynski. Then, from August to December 2015, he will be affiliated as a visiting scholar with the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (SOU AV CR), under the guidance of Professor Zdenka Mansfeldova.

Tunkis’ dissertation committee consists of: Ohio State Political Science Professors Anthony Mughan (advisor), Goldie Shabad, Sara Watson and Thomas Nelson.

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States.

Ohio State’s Office of International Affairs administers the Fulbright-Hays program for the university. Grant competitions are held annually. Doctoral candidates interested in applying for the award should contact Fulbright-Hays program director Joanna Kukielka-Blaser.

For more details on the 2015 Polish Studies Initiative Grant and Scholarship competition, please see the article Funding Available for Students and Faculty.

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