Mariken van der Velden discusses her work as an Associate Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Communication Science
Mariken van der Velden is an Associate Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Communication Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Director of the VU’s Societal Unrest Lab, and board member of the Dutch Parliamentary Election Studies Foundation. She received her PhD in Political Science from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before joining the Department of Communication Science, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Zurich, and visiting researcher of the Departments of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Oxford.
Van der Velden’s research interests comprise the areas of political communication, political decision-making, public opinion, and computational social science. She is motivated by key societal challenges that face democracies today, such as the crisis of representative democracy and increasing political fragmentation. To address these challenges, she applies advanced computational approaches to study the communication and rhetoric of politicians, and how this affects political decision making and its electoral consequences in multi-party systems. In her current work, she studies the ramifications of compromises for politicians’ communication and voter behaviour utilising virtual reality techniques, experiments and computational textual approaches. This research project is funded through a Innovation Grant (VENI) by the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO). In another project, I look at the perceived legitimacy of government communication, which is funded through a National Science Agenda Grant by NWO. Moreover, as part of the OPTED H2020 consortium funded by the European Research Council, I work on methods to compare textual data in multilingual settings.