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Jacquelien van Stekelenburg (1966) holds a Chair in Social Change and Conflict. She has been working at the department of Sociology since 2006 and acted as department chair from 2013 to 2016. From 2016 to 2018 she was portfolio holder of the Teaching Portfolio as well as vice-dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Currently she is Director of Research of the Department of Sociology and a member of the Departments Management Team. Since 2019 she is Program Leader of the SCC research team of Participation In Society, the research program of Sociology. In addition she co-chairs the Institute of Societal Research's Polarization Lab.




Teaching involves courses on the bachelor level in Political Participation and Protest. At the (research) master level teaching involves a course on Societal Wicked Problems and a course on Interconnectedness & Polarization. Supervision of master theses involves subjects on protest, mobilization, social media, identification, emotions and polarization. She gives guest lectures on moderate and radical protest and polarization in other faculties and universities.



Jacquelien her research interests are mainly in the area of protest participation and societal polarization. With a background in social psychology, she combines a social psychological point of view with a sociological approach. Over the last five years―especially together with ‘her’ Ph.D. students―research focused on processes of identity formation in conflicting circumstances (identity formation among Moroccan-Dutch youth; Greek vs. Germans in times of crisis; threatened identities of fundamentalist Muslims vs. right extremists). Important themes in identity formation are politicized identity and (in)tolerance, we examined how the migration-theme politicized Lampedusans over the course of a political campaign, and why intolerance is easier to mobilize than tolerance.

Many projects concern protest mobilization and participation―moderate to radical in democratic and non-democratic environments. For instance, diaspora-protests that respond to events in the country of origin; protest in professions where it is not-done (i.e. the military); protest under severe repression (e.g. Iran, Egypt); and why the one Dutch municipality was welcoming refugees while others where fiercing protesting. As part of international consortiums, we are are involved in two major comparative studies of protest demonstrations. One is the CCC-project (Contextualizing Contestation: Comparing Street Demonstrations), which compares demonstrations in nine different countries with attention for the participants, the organizers and the police. And the second is an ORA project MOBILISE which examines whether similar factors drive the choice to migrate and/or protest.

She takes an interdisciplinary mixed-method approach; from interpretative narrative analyses to quantitative multilevel analyses. Her interdisciplinary background puts her in a unique position to continue to push the theoretical and methodological state-of-the-art within the field of social change and conflict to answer pressing substantive questions in innovative ways.


Over the years she received multiple grants from the National Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for PhD-and PostDoc projects on demonstrations and protest. She conducted an international comparative study on street demonstrations with Bert Klandermans (VU Amsterdam) and Stefaan Walgrave (Antwerpen University) funded by the European Science Foundation entitled Caught in the act of protest: Contextualized Contestation and a study on emerging networks and feelings of belonging funded by the Dutch Royal Academy of Science entitled The evolution of collective action in emerging neighbourhoods. Additionally she acquired projects from WODC/Ministry of Justice for studying the interaction between the anti-islam movement and radical moslims, the National Police to hold a “Reflection-room” themed Policing in Polarized Times, and the Institute of Societal Resilience in collaboration with Ministry of Social Affairs for studying the governance of the refugee crisis. The most recent grant is from NWO-Open Research Area for In-CARE, an international project (with partners in UK, Germany and Japan) on how long term care policies impact on inequality in care and wellbeing.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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