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Torill Stavenes

Postdoctoral Fellow, Political Science

Department of Government

Torill Stavenes is a Postdoctoral Fellow on the SUCCESS-team.  Her main research interest is political party organisations; how they act as a driver for change, how their external environment shapes their functioning, and how they interact with other parties and stakeholders.

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    In the SUCCESS project Torill aims to explore how intra-party dynamics, such as candidate selection procedures, impact on the political strategies of and endurance in parliament for female parliamentarians. 


    Torill did her PhD in Politics at the University of Exeter (2015-2018) within the ERC-project STATORG - State Encroachment of Civil Society. Her thesis explored how state funding regulations shape staffing, centralisation in the executive council and the ability to run in elections for newly established minor parties in Norway and Italy. More broadly, her research interests include regulation of parties and civil society, coalition governance, qualitative research methods, and Western European politics. 


    Before joining the SUCCESS-team, she worked as a senior advisor of research methods for performance auditors at the Office of the Auditor General in Oslo. She also holds a BA in journalism and spent her 20s working as a journalist in NRK and TV2.

    Get to know Torill

    Is there a TV-show you are binging now?  

    Not now - the sun is finally out. But I could binge Succession, Downton Abbey and the old favorite Seinfeld on any given (rainy) day. 

    If you could have dinner with someone famous, dead, or alive, who would it be?

    As an ardent supporter of "nynorsk", a cuppa with Ivar Aasen is quite high on the list. Also, I would love to be 12 years old again and meet my then biggest idol in the world, Liverpool's never resting midfielder, Steve McManaman. Goosebumps.


    Which podcasts are you listening to right now and why? 

    Radiolab. Always Radiolab. Arguably the best podcast in the world. Love it for its beautifully crafted, insanely interesting and surprising stories - often about research! To satisfy my inner sports nerd, I am also a devoted listener to the Norwegian running podcast "I det lange løp".

    What kind of music are you listening to these days? 

    I rarely listen to music in my everyday life, actually (scandalous, I know). But give me a dance floor, and I will embrace all the guilty pleasures you can find.

    Is there a book you would recommend within your field? 

    Anika Gauja's "Party Reform. The Causes, Challenges, and Consequences of Organizational Change" is both theoretically very interesting, and also has some very exciting empirical material on party organisations.


    Which novel would you recommend for purely entertainment purposes?  

    Anything and everything by Elizabeth Strout, Alice Munro or Paul Auster. Read and enjoy. In Norwegian, all the essays and books by Agnes Ravatn are must-reads.

    Where are you best able to think?

    I do ok in the office, I think (and hope). But when I am really stuck on something, either that is a private or professional matter, climbing a mountain or running up a hill usually does the trick. 

    How would you describe your desk?

    As an organised mess of books and papers (yes, I am a dinosaur who prefers to read paper versions), my large stash of black tea, crispbread and a stack of "makrell i tomat".


    What is your favorite thing to do to relax?   

    Running, drinking tea, making (and eating) decadent chocolate cakes or feeding our pigs and sheep. Not necessarily in that order.


    If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be, and what would you be doing?  

    I would not mind being with my little family somewhere in Italy eating something with truffles.

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