School of Social and Political Science

Patrick Utz

Job Title

PhD title: No return to the borders of the past? Cross-border nationalism and European integration in times of crises

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27 George Square

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PhD Abstract

Relationships between national minorities and a neighbouring kin-state have traditionally been depicted as an irredentist threat to the integrity of the host-state by academics and policy makers. However, European integration has provided numerous ways of reshaping the links between kin-minorities and their kin-states. Functional integration between a minority’s kin-state and its host-state has facilitated interactions between the minority and its kin-state in economic, political and cultural terms. Yet, such functional integration across European state borders has only been possible because the location of borders has become undisputed. This poses a dilemma for political parties that claim to represent kin-minorities: on the one hand, functional integration allows for novel forms of rapprochement with the kin-state; on the other hand, the perpetuation of state borders precludes the political integration of the minority’s ‘homeland’ into the kin-state.

Patrick’s thesis looks at how kin-minority parties address this dilemma in the cases of South Tyrol (Italy) and Austria, and of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, respectively. This is done through a qualitative analysis of party manifestos, semi-structured interviews with party elites, and parliamentary debates. The main finding is that all kin-minority parties endorse functional integration with the kin-state at the expense of irredentist aspirations. This is unsurprising in the case of a priori pro-European parties such as the South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP), or the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). However, this logic also holds true for previously Eurosceptic parties like the South Tyrolean Liberty Movement (S-TF) or Sinn Féin. Kin-minority parties’ endorsement for functional cross-border integration is further confirmed by the finding that their support for functional integration continues despite spill-backs of the integration project. This is evidenced by South Tyrolean parties’ rejection of border controls between Italy and Austria during the migration crisis of 2015/16; or by nationalist parties’ support for special arrangements for Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

This research is kindly co-financed by UACES & James Madison Charitable Trust.


Michael Keating & Nicola McEwen

Other research activities

Besides his PhD project, Patrick also works as a research fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change.


Office hours by appointment.

In previous semesters, Patrick taught on these courses:

PLIT08016 Introduction to British Politics

PLIT08015 British Politics - Beginning of the End

PLIT08004 Introduction to Politics and International Relations

PLIT08012 Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists


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2014-2016: University of Vienna, Austria
MA Political Science (with distinction)
"Re-integrating Tyrol? Regionalist parties in South Tyrol and their responses to European Integration" (shortlisted as best master's thesis 2016/17 by the Austrian Political Science Association)

2010-2015: University of Vienna, Austria;
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

BA Romance studies (Spanish & Portuguese), (with distinction)

2010-2014: University of Vienna, Austria
BA Political Science (with distinction)


2015: Research assistant,
Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria

2014-2015: Tutor for scientific writing,
Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria

2011-2016: Assistant Floor Manager,
Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF)

Research interests

Research interests

Territorial politics, Party politics, Europeanization

Staff Hours and Guidance

Office hours by appointment.