I study the Comparative Democratization of Eastern Europe and Latin America. My primary research focuses is on what motivates and mobilizes ordinary citizens to join in mass-protests en masse. Thus, I am interested in the micro foundations of protest mobilization. More broadly, I research what drives political behaviour (protest [incluing activism, social movements, civil society] and elections), public opinion, ethnic identity and electoral populism. Although I am a comparativist, I also conduct indepth case study work and I am an expert in Ukrainian and Argentine politics specifically. My comparative work compares across space and time and is both intra-regional and inter-regional in nature. I employ mixed methods and conduct both extenstive in-depth field and language-based qualitative, as well as, quantitative survey data collection and analysis. I also employ some rational choice and game theory in my research.
ON-GOING LARGE RESEARCH PROJECTS
PROTEST AND ACTIVISM IN UKRAINE
Dr. Onuch is an internationally leading expert in activism and protest in Ukraine. To better understand the motivations and mechanisms of mass mobilization Onuch has carried out extensive fieldwork related to the Orange Revolution and EuroMaidan protest waves (in comparative perspective with Argentine protest waves). In 2014, Onuch has conducted on-site surveys, interviews and focus groups of protest participants in Kyiv, Ukraine as part of her Ukrainian Protest Project. This research examined the role of social media as a motivating or mobilizing factor in the EuroMaidan and she has developed a theory of the “protestorate” in post-communist contexts. Beyond focusing on contemporary activism and protest in Ukraine, Onuch has also researched the historical connectivity between waves of mass mobilization (since 1920, including The Revolution on The Granite and Ukraine without Kuchma). Tracing the historical role of ideas, actors and institutions, her research has identified continuity and connectivity between different protest waves over time. Findings from her research on Ukrainian activism and protest have been published as a monograph, book chapters and several peer-reviewed journal articles. Onuch is currently working on a book monograph focusing on the EuroMaidan Mass-Mobilization.
SURVEY RESEARCH: ELECTIONS, PROTEST, IDENTITY, CONFLICT
Between May 2014 and January 2015 Dr. Onuch (Co-PI), and her colleagues Prof. Henry Hale (P-I, George Washington University), Prof. Timothy Colton (Co-PI, Harvard University) and Dr. Nadiya Kravets (Co-PI, Harvard University), lead a research team studying the politics of the Ukrainian crisis, having been awarded a large National Science Foundation RAPID Grant to conduct the ‘Ukraine Crisis Election Panel Survey’ a three-wave nationally representative panel survey of the Ukrainian population. The first findings from this project (on the role of media and blame attribution and ethnolinguistic identity) have been published in Post Soviet Affairs and GeoPolitics. Further research is under review in leading political science journals.
PROTESTS AND ELECTIONS IN ARGENTINA
In late 2013, Dr. Onuch completed new field-based data collection in Buenos Aires, Argentina investigating: How political parties motivate and mobilize citizens to vote? Data and findings stemming from this project have been published in book chapters and are forthcoming in peer-reviewed journal articles. This research builds on previous data collection projects focusing on the 2001 Crisis Mass Mobilization (Argentinazo), currently published as a book manuscript.
‘EXIT’ AND ‘VOICE’ in ROMANIA AND UKRAINE
In January 2014, Dr. Onuch (Co-I), and her colleague Dr. Sorana Toma received a OUP John Fell Fund Starter Grant (for proof-of concept and pump-priming) to study the nexus between ‘exit’ (migration) and ‘voice’ (protest) (see: Hirschman 1978) focusing on the cases of Romania (2013) and Ukraine (EuroMaidan 2013/2104). They have conducted exploratory survey and field work in 2014 on the topic. They hosted a series of comparative workshops on the topic in June 2015, June 2016 and June 2017 at the University of Oxford, ENSAE, and The University of Manchester. They expect to publish a special issue of the collection of articles presented at the workshops, in 2018.
OTHER RECENT RESEARCH THEMES
Qualitative Field Work Based Data Collection & Analysis
- Ukrainian activism, protest and civil society. (including recent research on EuroMaidan and Anti-Maidan Protests in Ukraine) (see publications section).
- The nexus between ‘exit’ (migration) and ‘voice’ (protest) in Ukraine and the UK (EuroMaidan 2013/2104) (current working paper).
- Activism and Human Rights in Argentina and Venezuela (current working paper).
- How politicians and parties mobilize and motivate voters in Argentina, 2013 (current working paper).
- Media, elections and activism in democratizing contexts: Poland and Argentina (current working paper).
- Post-protest Conflict: Creating, Reproducing, and Cementing Social Cleavages (current working paper).
- Foreign financing and democracy promotion in CEE (see publications section).
Game Theory & Formal Models
- The protest calculus (see publications section and current working paper).
- Actor interaction games & protest (see publications section).
- The collective protest threshold (see publications section).
Quantitative Data Collection & Analysis
- “EuroMaidan Protest Participant Survey” as part of the Ukrainian Protest Project November 26, 2013- January 10, 2014 (see publications section).
- With Sorana Toma – The nexus between ‘exit’ (migration) and ‘voice’ (protest)(current working paper).
- Ukrainian Electoral Panel Survey: multi-wave (May 2014 – May 2015) (see publications section).
- The relationship between economic crises, austerity and protest(current working paper).
- The dynamic relationship between aid, elections & post-electoral protest (current working paper).
- Cohort analysis of protest participation in EE & LA: Understanding the effects of different types of authoritarian regimes (current working paper).
Theoretical & Methodological Themes
- Problems and techniques of protest data collection (see publications section).
- Measuring, conceptualizing, and analysis of civil society and protest events (current working paper).
- The regionalization of transition & democratization theory in comparative politics (see publications section).
- Compatibility problems with native and foreign language based field research in comparative politics (current working paper).