Giovanni Capoccia

Giovanni Capoccia

(MA, Laurea Rome I, PhD EUI)

Professor of Comparative Politics, Fellow, Corpus Christi College
Comparative Politics and Government
(01865) 276752
Corpus Christi College
Office Address:
Fellows' Building, 2, 8

Giovanni Capoccia is Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Fellow in Politics at Corpus Christi College.

Prof. Capoccia’s research focuses on the comparative study of democracy and democratization, the analysis of political institutions, and European politics.

A major theme of his research is the analysis of the causes and consequences of the strategies used by democratic governments to control extremist dissent. His comparative work on inter-war Europe has been published in several journals and a research monograph entitled Defending Democracy (Johns Hopkins University Press 2005, paperback 2007), which received the APSA Award for the Best Book in European Politics. His current project Reshaping Democracy after Authoritarianism addresses the question of why contemporary European democracies adopt different policy responses to extremist dissent. One paper from the project received the APSA Sage Award for the Best Paper in Comparative Politics presented at the Annual Meeting.

Capoccia’s work on the theory and methodology of comparative analysis, historical institutionalism, and comparative democratization, has earned him several other publication prizes, including the 2006 Sage Award for the Best Paper in Qualitative Methods; the 2008 Alexander George Award for the Best Article Developing and Applying Qualitative and Multiple Methods; the 2010 Award for the Best Paper in Comparative Democratization; and the 2011 Mary Parker Follett Award for the Best Article in Politics and History, all from the American Political Science Association.

His most recent volume is a co-edited collection of essays entitled The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies, published as a double special issue of Comparative Political Studies (Aug-Sept 2010). The volume reassesses the historical process of European democratization, and proposes a new research agenda for the study of democratization in Europe and elsewhere, focused on the dynamics of institutional change.

Capoccia has held a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, as well as visiting positions in several academic institutions including the University of Heidelberg, the University of California at Berkeley, the Max-Planck-Institute in Comparative Law (Heidelberg) and the Center for European Studies at Harvard. In 2006-2007 he was the Rita E. Hauser Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. His research has been funded by the British Academy, the German Foundation for Academic Exchanges, the Nuffield Foundation, and other organizations. He currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2014-2017).

Prof. Capoccia welcomes inquiries about doctoral supervision on topics related to democratization, democracy and extremism, and transitional justice, in particular in the European context.

Government Citizenship Constitutions and Government Democratic theory Democracy and Democratisation Elections History Institutions and organisations Methods Normative theory


Case Study Research (graduate seminar) (2007-present)

Research Design in Comparative Politics (graduate lectures) (2007-)

Comparative Government core course (M.Phil. in Comparative Government-- 2003-current; course provider 2003-2005)

Comparative Methodology (graduate lectures) (2002-2005)

Comparative European Politics core course (M.Phil. in European Politics and Society) (2001-2003)


Lectures, Party systems and coalition-making in Western Europe (Paper 206: The Politics and Government of Western Europe).

Course provider, The Politics and Government of Western Europe (2002-2006)

Course provider, Comparative Government (2012-2014)



The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies, double special issue of Comparative Political Studies, August-September 2010, Vol. 43, 8/9 (co-edited with D. Ziblatt).

Defending Democracy: Reactions to extremism in Interwar Europe, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, pages 352 (paperback, 2007)

[2006 Best Book in European Politics, American Political Science Association]

Unified Germany between Continuity and Renewal. The German Electoral and Party System during the Process of National Reunification (in Italian), Rome, Bulzoni, 1995, pages 490.

Recent articles and book chapters

"When Do Institutions Bite? Historical Institutionalism and the Politics of Institutional Change", Comparative Political Studies, 49/8, 1095-1127.

“Critical Junctures”, in Fioretos, O., Falleti, T. and A. Sheingate, eds., Oxford Handbook on Historical Institutionalism, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, 95-108

“Critical Junctures and Institutional Change”, in Mahoney, J. and K. Thelen, eds., Advances in Comparative Historical Analysis, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 147-179.

“The Study of Democratization and the Arab Spring” (with A. Ahmed), Middle East Law and Governance, 6, 1, 2014, 1-39.

Militant Democracy: The Institutional Bases of Democratic Self-Preservation, Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences, 9, 2013, 207-226.

When State Responses Fail: Religion and Secessionism in India 1952-2002 (with L.D.Saez and E. de Rooij), The Journal of Politics, October 2012, Vol. 74, 4, 1010-1022.

The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies: A New Research Agenda for Europe and Beyond, Comparative Political Studies, August-September 2010, Vol. 43, 8/9, 931-968.

[2011 Best Article in Politics and History, American Political Science Association]

[2010 Best Paper in Comparative Democratization, American Political Science Association]

Germanys Response to 9/11: The Persistence of Constitutional Traditions, in M. Crenshaw (ed.) The Consequences of Counterterrorist Policies in Democracies, New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2010, 285-334.

The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative and Counterfactuals in Institutional Theory (with R. D. Kelemen), World Politics, April 2007, 341-369.

[2008 Alexander George Award for the Best Journal Article Developing and Applying Qualitative and Multiple Methods, American Political Science Association]

[2006 Sage Award for the Best Conference Paper Developing and Applying Qualitative Methods, American Political Science Association]

Legal and political reactions to extremist movements in democracies

Western European Politics