Dr Soetkin Verhaegen

Senior Research Fellow

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Phone: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-Mail: s.verhaegen@maastrichtuniversity.nl



10/2020 - present

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Assistant Professor of European Politics

10/2020 - present

Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Associated researcher to the Institute of Political Science Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE)

10/2019 - present

Stockholm University

Associated researcher to the Department of Political Science

10/2019 - 09/2020

Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Chargé de recherche F.R.S.-FNRS - Institute of Political Science Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE)

01/2019 - 09/2019

Stockholm University

Researcher at the Department of Political Science

09/2018 - 09/2019

Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Affiliated researcher to the Institute of Political Science Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE)

01/2017 - 12/2018

Stockholm University

Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science

07/2016 - 12/2016

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy

04/2016 - 06/2016

Karel de Grote Hogeschool, Antwerp

Scientific advisor (grant applications)

09/2015 - 06/2016

Europahuis Ryckevelde

Educational and project worker

09/2015 - 06/2016

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Affiliated postdoctoral researcher to the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy

09/2011 - 09/2015

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Doctoral candidate at the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (dissertation)

Seminars and Conferences

  • 2021: ISA Annual Convention, APSA Annual Meeting
  • 2020: APSA Annual Meeting
  • 2019: APSA Annual Meeting, ISA Annual Convention, ECPR General Conference, ECPR
  • Joint Sessions of Workshops, PEIO, iCourts Conference
  • 2018: ECPR General Conference
  • 2017: APSA Annual Meeting, MPSA Conference
  • 2016: ECPR General Conference, Belgian-Dutch Political Science Conference
  • 2015: MPSA Conference
  • 2014: MPSA Conference, ECPR General Conference, ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops,
  • Belgian-Dutch Political Science Conference
  • 2013: ECPR General Conference, Belgian-Dutch Political Science Conference, workshop
    at Kingston University
  • 2012: Workshop at EUI, Belgian-Dutch Political Science Conference, ECPR Graduate


  • Member of the scientific advisory board for the Belgian citizen panel for the Conference
    on the Future of Europe organized by the Belgian government (2021).
  • Convenor of the ECPR Standing Group on Identity (2017-2019).
  • Coordinator seminars and workshops related to global and regional governance at
    Stockholm University (2017-2019).
  • Member of the Representation and Democratic Resentment (RepResent) research
    consortium, Belgium (2018-currently).
  • Coordinator reading and discussion group on EU politics at UC Louvain (2019-
  • Member of the Participation and Representation (PartiRep) research consortium,
    Belgium (2014-2017).
  • Coordinator reading group on political theory at Centre for Political Research at KU
    Leuven (2012-2015).
  • Representative for the doctoral students at the Leuven International Doctoral School for
    the Humanities and Social Sciences (2013-2015).
  • Reviewer for: H2020 (European Commission), Journal of European Public Policy,
    European Union Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, European Journal of
    Political Research, European Journal of International Relations, Scandinavian Political
    Studies, Routledge, Comparative European Politics, Youth Studies, The International
    Journal of Press/Politics, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research,
    The British Journal of Sociology, European Societies, and others.
  • Organizer of various panels at academic conferences and a conference on youth and politics.


From 1 June 2022 until 31 May 2023, Soetkin Verhaegen is Senior Research Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. During this fellowship, she will collaborate with researchers at the centre to develop a survey experiment to study the role of non-state actors regarding the legitimacy of global governance.

Research Project at the Centre

Citizens’ Legitimacy Perceptions in the Context of Multilevel Governance

The primary research focus of the project would be the global level in a study that uses survey experiments so as to explain how the way in which Global Governance Institutions (GGIs) are portrayed to people (by the GGI itself, peers, or civil society actors) may affect citizens’ legitimacy beliefs toward those GGIs. It is important to study citizens’ attitudes about GGIs, as competences have not only been moving to different levels and institutions, this is also increasingly contested. Concerns are raised about the risk that moving competences and decision-making to higher governance levels could decrease the legitimacy of policies (and as a result also their effectiveness). These concerns have become especially apparent in three situations: 1) when governance reaches beyond intergovernmental cooperation, 2) when member states’ veto powers are limited, and 3) when decision-making addresses matters of high electoral salience (Føllesdal, 2006; Moravcsik, 2002). In these cases, governance decisions and institutions can draw less strongly upon the perceived legitimacy of its member states among their constituencies, and direct legitimacy is more urgently required. When competences move, concerns about solidarity, identity, fairness, and effectiveness are central. Depending on the perspective of an individual, moving competences to the supra- or subnational level is evaluated as positively or negatively regarding these issues. For these reasons, I study how citizens relate to this (changing) division of competences between a broad range of institutions and levels.

One particular element that warrants further research, is the question how citizens become aware of GGIs and their functioning, and how different sources of communication about GGIs may differently affect citizens’ attitudes about these institutions. Citizens may become aware of GGIs, their functioning and their output through various channels. GGIs themselves invest to varying extents in their public relations towards the broader public, political speeches of member state representatives (e.g. in the context of key meetings of those GGIs) shed more light on the role of GGIs, nonstate actors such as civil society organizations regularly mobilize (often critical voices) regarding GGIs, citizens may discuss GGIs with peers, and the (social) media play an important role in communicating those different messages and views.

Research Interests

  • European identity
  • Youth
  • Socialization
  • Political participation
  • Elites

Collaborative Project Involvement

  • GLOBPOL (2021-2022): Analysing the effects of globalization on attitudes and behaviour towards politics (principal investigator, together with Virginie Van Ingelgom): a comparative survey in seven countries.
  • Who can be trusted? Civic education about trust and active and critical citizenship (Vem kan man lita på? Samhällskunskapsundervisning om tillit för ett aktivt och kritiskt medborgarskap) (2020-2022): design of a 2-wave panel survey among Swedish high school students, assessing the impact of a teaching intervention where students inquire a research problem
  • EOS RepResent focus groups and election survey (2018-2020): research design, recruitment and moderation of focus groups, contribution to design questionnaire Belgian election survey 2019.
  • Legitimacy in Global Governance Elite Survey (2017-2018): research design and management of data gathering of 860 survey interviews with elites in Brazil, Germany, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, USA, and in international organizations.
  • PartiRep Voter Study 2014: survey question design for module on EU + exit polling for this election study in Belgium.
  • Parent-Child Socialization Study (PCSS) 2012-2013: research design, surveying and management of data gathering of panel data (2 survey waves) among over 3000 adolescents and their parents in Flanders

Awards and Grants

  • Research grant project GLOBPOL (2021-2022) awarded by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS (together with Virginie Van Ingelgom)
  • Postdoctoral mandate (3 years, fulltime) awarded by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS (2018)
  • Grant for a research stay at WWU Münster as part of the Reconnect H2020 project (2019)
  • Postdoctoral mandate (1 year, fulltime) awarded by the KU Leuven Research Council (2015)
  • Mobility grant for a long research stay abroad, awarded by the Flemish Research Foundation (2015)
  • Junior Mobility Grant, awarded by the KU Leuven Research Council (2015)

Publications (Selection)

Dellmuth, L.M., Scholte, J.A., Tallberg, J., Verhaegen, S. (2021). The Elite-Citizen Gap in International Organization Legitimacy. American Political Science Review (online first).

Celis, K., Knops, L., Van Ingelgom, V., Verhaegen, S. (2021). Resentment and Coping with the Democratic Dilemma. Politics and Governance, 9(3), 237-247.

Scholte, J., Verhaegen, S., Tallberg, J. (2021). Elite Attitudes and the Future of Global Governance. International Affairs, 97(3), 861-886.

Verhaegen, S., Scholte, J. A., Tallberg, J. (2021). Elite Perceptions of Legitimacy in Global Governance. European Journal of International Relations, 27(2), 622-650.

Verhaegen, S., Dupuy, C., Van Ingelgom, V. (2021). Experiencing and Supporting Institutional Regionalization in Belgium: A Normative and Interpretive Policy Feedback Perspective. Comparative European Politics, 19, 248–275.

Dupuy, C., Verhaegen, S., Van Ingelgom, V. (2021). Support for regionalisation in federal Belgium: the role of political socialization. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 51(1), 54-78.

Tallberg, J., Verhaegen, S. (2020). The Legitimacy of International Institutions among Rising and Established Powers. Global Policy, 11(S3), 115-126.

de Moor, J., Verhaegen, S. (2020). Gateway or getaway? Testing the link between lifestyle politics and other modes of political participation. European Political Science Review, 12(1), 91-111.

Verhaegen, S. (2018). What to expect from European identity? Explaining support for solidarity in times of crisis. Comparative European Politics, 16(5), 871-904