School of Politics and International Relations

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William Daniel

Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences



Will Daniel is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK). He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teaches modules in comparative politics and research methods. He also serves as the School's Director of Admissions and External Relations and Co-Director for the REPRESENT Research Centre for the Study of Parties and Democracy.

Prior to the University of Nottingham, Will was Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University in South Carolina (USA). He obtained his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, where he was also affiliated with the University's European Union Center of Excellence and held visiting doctoral studentships at Sciences Po - Paris, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Will holds an MA in Political Science and Graduate Certificates in European Union Studies and Western European Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, a BA in French and Political Science from Wake Forest University, and has studied at The German School at Middlebury College.

Expertise Summary

Will is interested in how personal backgrounds and institutional contexts shape political careers, particularly in legislative and party politics. He has written broadly on careers in Europe and is especially interested in questions of gender and sexuality in political representation. He is an expert in European Union politics, with an emphasis on the European Parliament, and particular country expertise in French politics. He also has subject expertise and interests in political uses of social media and digital campaigns.

Will's research has appeared in The Journal of Politics, West European Politics, Research & Politics, Party Politics, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Politics & Gender, European Union Politics, Journal of European Integration, The Journal of European Public Policy, and The Journal of Legislative Studies.

His first monograph, Career Behaviour and the European Parliament: All Roads Lead through Brussels?, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. His second book, Quotas as Game Changers for the Recruitment, Selection, and Performance of Elected Politicians, with Andrea Aldrich (Yale University), will be published by Oxford University Press in 2025.

Teaching Summary

At the University of Nottingham, Will regularly provides teaching on the following modules:

  • POLI 1014 - Intro to Comparative Politics (module convener)
  • POLI 2014 - Crises and Controversies in European Politics
  • POLI 2047 - How Voters Decide
  • POLI 3121 - Gender and Political Representation (module co-convener)

Current students can book on for office hours during term time, using the School of Politics and IR booking page.

Research Summary

Will's ongoing research examines how institutional changes in legislative and party politics interact with politicians' individual backgrounds and career behaviours.

He is currently completing a book manuscript with Andrea Aldrich (Yale) about the uneven implementation of gender quotas in Europe and how they have disrupted traditional patterns of career advancement and political representation. In a separate project, he is exploring with Steffen Hurka (LMU Munich) how the individual identities of appointed EU support staff influence legislative complexity in European Commission proposals. During 2022-23, he served as a project lead for a Digital Society Project-funded candidate study in French politics, where he directed a team of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers to collect data on the online behaviour of all candidates during the 2022 French legislative elections. The team is currently writing several articles from the dataset, including an exploration of online speech patterns among radical right-wing candidates, as well as the effects of incumbency on party discipline in online messaging.

Selected Publications

PhD Supervision

Will is interested in supervising students who want to work in the following areas:

  • European Union and European integration
  • Legislative politics and political parties
  • Gender, sexuality and political representation
  • Individual backgrounds and career paths
  • Digital campaigning and social media
  • Mixed method research designs using bespoke sources of data

Interested students should reach out directly by email to discuss project ideas, prior to applying.

Supervision of successfully completed PhD theses:

  • Anna Silander (defended 2022): 'The Un-Taming of the Discourse: Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties and the Effect of Different Institutional Roles' [2nd supervisor]

Ongoing supervision of PhD students:

  • Sarah Jeu (2021-): 'China's Cyber Power and the Social Construction of Technology' [2nd supervisor]
  • Indira Barykbayeva (2023-): 'Vertical Gender Segregation at Senior Leadership Levels of Civil Service in Kazakhstan' [1st supervisor]

Past Research

Will's book, Career Behaviour and the European Parliament: All Roads Lead through Brussels?, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. The project explores institutional change in the European Parliament and its effect on the career paths of its membership. To do so, he examines the role of legislative professionalization and national political party gatekeepers on the career behavior and advancement strategies of European Parliament legislators. The project uses a major new source of quantitative data that was collected on the personal and professional backgrounds of all European deputies, 1979-2014, that is publicly available. It also relies on over fifty qualitative interviews that were conducted with legislators and other political experts in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Poland.

Related research on the legislative behavior of Members of the European Parliament that builds on this volume has appeared in JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, European Union Politics, Party Politics, Journal of European Integration, The Journal of European Public Policy, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Research & Politics, Politics & Gender, The Journal of Politics, and in the form of various ongoing working papers and book chapters.

Future Research

Will is currently planning new research how shared personal experience among politicians from minoritised backgrounds can foster communities of support that reach across political party differences. His next project in this area, Queering the Commons: Overcoming polarisation with identity-based connections, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for 2025.

The project plans to explore how LGBTQIA+ legislative parliamentary networks in four prominent legislatures (UK House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, French National Assembly, and the European Parliament) and their impact on the day-to-day behaviour of their members. The project takes inspiration from scholarship on ethnic and gender identity's effects on political behaviour that has been less explored for sexuality. It argues that identities that divide us in one setting might bind us in another.

School of Politics and International Relations

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