Reeskens Tim

Tim Reeskens

Associate Professor

Name:Tim Reeskens
Date of birth:May 30, 1982
Address:PO Box 90153, 5000LE Tilburg, Netherlands
Phone:+31 13 466 2119

I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at Tilburg University. My main research interests concern the comparative study of social cohesion and social capital, national identity, welfare state legitimacy, and resilience. I mainly teach on the social consequences of diversity and immigration, as well as on social capital. In addition, I coordinate the Sociology minor of the Research Master Social and Behavioral Sciences at my university. Last but not least, I represent Tilburg University at the Dutch Sociological Association (NSV). My other passions lie in traveling, music, and attending gigs. Check out my Instagram to see how my interests are memorized!


2014 - present

Tilburg University, Department of Sociology

Assistant Professor

Mid-2013, a tenure-track position opened at Tilburg University, and I decided to give it a shot as it would give more perspective to my academical career. After a stressful hiring process, I joined my former colleagues in February 2014. I was welcomed in a warm professional climate, and the newly hired full professor, Peter Achterberg, gave it an additional twist by coming up with the idea to blog as Socioloog des Vaderlands – quite modestly translated as ‘National Sociologist’. I ended my Ties that Bind research project at Tilburg, but gained interest in the topic of resilience. Further, I also took up some managerial tasks, including in the Educational Committee Sociology, the Faculty Board of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the representative for Tilburg University at the Dutch Sociological Association. Recently, I was also appointed as the national coordinator of the Dutch section of the European Values Study. Quite an accomplishment, as a Belgian.

2012 - 2014

University of Amsterdam, Department of...

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Almost simultaneously with obtaining a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Flanders, I also acquired a prestigious Veni Grant from the Talent Scheme of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. The Department of Political Science convinced me to join the Department from 2012 onwards to develop The Ties that Bind, parallel to my Flemish project. Not unimportantly for my personal development, I not only joined the Department but also moved to the city of Amsterdam in the same year.

2011 - 2014

KU Leuven, Centre for Sociological Research

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

During my Postdoctoral Research at Tilburg University, I came in contact with Matthew Wright, an expert of national identities at the Department of Government at American University. Jointly, we developed a research agenda to verify the theory of liberal nationalism. Our goal was to test the claim that an inclusive orientation towards national identities is able to cushion the negative social impact of immigration. This research agenda was awarded by a Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Research Foundation – Flanders, which I half-time developed at the Centre for Sociological Research at KU Leuven. Up there, I was supervised by Bart Meuleman.

2010 - 2011

Tilburg University, Department of Sociology

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

In 2008, the European Social Survey fielded a special module on Welfare Attitudes in a Changing Europe which was coordinated by, among others, Wim van Oorschot. To fully study this module in great detail, Wim acquired funding from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. After my doctoral study at KU Leuven, I joined the Department of Sociology at Tilburg University to contribute to this research project.

2005 - 2010

KU Leuven, Centre for Political Research

Research Fellow

From September 2005 to January 2010, I worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Political Research at the KU Leuven (Belgium). Supervised by Marc Hooghe, I worked on my doctoral dissertation on the relationship between ethnocultural diversity, integration regimes and social cohesion in Europe. My study would be an empirical validation of Robert Putnam‘s 2007 study E Pluribus Unum, and it allowed me to spend half a year at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I obtained my doctoral degree on 18 December 2009, after a successful defense in front on a committee composed of Jaak Billiet, Johan Leman, Dietlind Stolle and Edward Fieldhouse.


2005 - 2006

KU Brussel & KU Leuven, QASS

MA, Quantitative Analysis in the Social Sciences

When I started as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Political Research, I took the opportunity to develop my quantitative research skills during the Quantitative Analysis in the Social Sciences Master, which was back then jointly organized by the KU Brussel and the KU Leuven. The program consisted of six modules, among specialized courses in measurement theory, multilevel analysis, loglinear analysis, and structural equation modeling.

2005 - 2009

KU Leuven, Centre for Political Research

PhD, Social Sciences

My Master Thesis (actually, licentiaats-thesis), was spotted by Marc Hooghe, who joined the Political Science department two years earlier. As an expert of social capital, he recently acquired grants for an interdisciplinary study on the impact of immigration on social cohesion. Particularly the interdisciplinary nature of this project – jointly with Sociology and Anthropology – sparked my interest. In September 2009, I joined the Centre for a research trajectory that would take slightly more than four years.

2003 - 2005

KU Leuven, Sociology

MA (licentiaat), Sociology

After obtaining my kandidatuurs-degree in 2003, I continued my study in Sociology at KU Leuven. I specialized in survey research as well as in social policy. I was heavily influenced by survey methodologist Jaak Billiet who ultimately became the supervisor of my Thesis, which was already initiated in the first year of the two-year track. I had the opportunity to conduct my own survey, as the Davidsfonds, a socio-cultural organization affiliated with the Catholic pillar, wanted to survey its members. So yes, I know the gain and pain of drawing a random sample, printing 2,700 questionnaires, and so on. Substantially, I studied the link between religiosity, attitudes towards language and national identity among a representative sample of members of the Davidsfonds.

2001 - 2003

KU Leuven, Political and Social Sciences

BA (kandidaat) Political and Social Sciences

Always having a clear eye for themes of social justice and social cohesion (no clue at all what these fancy sociological concepts were as a 12-year old, though), I decided to study Political and Social Sciences at KU Leuven as the final cohort of the traditionaal kandidatuur and licentiaats-system (2-years Bachelors followed by 2-years Masters). Being a textbook example of a first-year undergraduate, the sociological topics took me by the throat from the second year onwards.

Research Interests

Social Cohesion

Inspired by the work of Émile Durkheim, my most interesting area of research is the question what keeps our complex society together. The cornerstone of my doctoral dissertation is a theoretical reflection on the five dimensions that Ade Kearns and Ray Forrest have put forward. An empirical verification of this dimensionality has later been published as co-authored paper in Urban Studies. These days, my interest in social cohesion still reflects in my teaching, e.g. the course Social Cohesion in a Multicultural Society in the Excellence Program of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Social Capital

At the beginning of the new millennium, Robert Putnam made clear that social capital is of vital importance for a cohesive society, particularly for the public effects that it generates. Although social capital is quite a complex concept, Putnam made the study tangible by focusing on networks and norms of trust and reciprocity. Much of my study has focused on this cultural trust-dimension: what is trust, who do we trust, and is trust lower in more diverse communities? I still try to make students enthused about (and skeptical) towards the social capital concept.

National Identity

In my doctoral study, I was wondering whether regimes of migrant integration could cushion the impact of immigration on social trust. One approach to these regimes consist of the famous civic-ethnic nationhood conceptions, for which I showed that they do not neatly collapse with the West-East divide. These normative ideas about identity grabbed my attention to set up a joint research agenda on national identity and social solidarity.

Welfare State Legitimacy

Under the supervision of Wim van Oorschot, I was immersed in the comparative study of welfare attitudes, a postdoctoral project fully up my alley because of  earlier work on cross-national questions dealing with cohesion. After a crash course in theories about self-interest, political ideology, and other models that were able to explain variation in welfare attitudes, I contributed to some studies myself, e.g. on the perceived welfare state consequences, and welfare attitudes among immigrants. One co-edited book project on deservingness is currently on its way.


The study of welfare attitudes brought me to several interesting conferences. At one annual meeting of ESPAnet, I heard Andrew Clark talking about life-events and happiness, arguing that those who end up in poverty hardly bounce back to their original levels of subjective well-being. This presentation, and the relevance of this puzzle in connection to the Great Recession, inspired me to put some steps into this interesting research field, too. In the past year, together with Leen Vandecasteele I made a few contributions on immaterial buffers that contribute to resilience, as well as how young Europeans deal with economic hardship.

Cross-National Research

An important aspect of my study is its comparative character. My idea of sociology is that individuals are influenced by their context: family, peers, school, organizations, neighborhoods, countries, and so on. My research therefore heavily relies on cross-national data-sets, like the European Values Study (for which I’m also the Dutch national coordinator), the European Social Survey, or the International Social Survey Program; to crunch these data, I rely on appropriate analysis techniques like multilevel models or multiple group comparisons.

Visiting Fellowships


American University

Interestingly, my first paper with Matthew Wright was written before I even met the guy. In 2012, I had the opportunity to spend half a year at American University. Great experience – bigly – not to mention the great location of the university: Washington DC. Not only did I enjoy the academic input on campus, but also the several talks, e.g. by Robert Putnam, Francis Fukuyama, and Jonathan Laurence, organized by think tanks. In addition, Washington DC is home of one of the best venues: 9:30 Club!

Distinctions and Prizes


Flemish Research Council (FWO)

Travel Grant - 9.000 EUR

Flemish Government

Research Project - 15.000 EUR

McGill University

Travel Grant - 1.000 EUR

Vereniging voor Bestuurskunde

Honorable Mention - Van Poelje Year Prize

Flemish Research Council (FWO)

Travel Grant - 9.000 EUR

Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)

Veni Talent Scheme

Flemish Research Council (FWO)

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Service to the Profession

Ad-Hoc Peer-Reviewer

Repeatedly, I’m being asked to review articles and grant proposals. The diversity in journals, academic publishers, and research councils is quite high: American Journal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, Amsterdam University Press, Austrian Science Fund, British Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Sociology, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, European Research Council, European Sociological Review, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, International Journal of Psychology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of European Social Psychology, Journal of Happiness Studies, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Journal of International Migration and Integration, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Journal of Social Policy, Palgrave, Nationalities Papers, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, Political Research Quarterly, Political Studies, Portuguese Science Fund, Quality of Life Research, Scandinavian Political Studies, Social Psychology Quarterly, Social Science Journal, Social Science Research, Social Forces, Social Indicators Research, Sociologie, Sociologos, and Tijdschrift voor Sociologie.

Editorial Board

I am member of the Editorial Boards of the following two journals:


As board member of the Dutch Sociological Association (NSV), I am responsible (secretary role) for the prizes, such as the Master Thesis Prize, Research Master Thesis Prize, and the Dissertation Prize. Before taking up this position, I was either secretary or jury member for the NSV Research Master Prize, and the Acco Master Thesis Prize (Flemish Sociological Association).

Survey Design

  • The Department of Sociology at Tilburg University coordinates the European Values Study. Loek Halman currently is the Chair of the Executive Committee, while Ruud Luijkx is the Chair of the Methods Group. Myself, I coordinate the Dutch section of the European Values Study.
  • In addition, I have contributed to the rotating module “Welfare Attitudes in Europe” which is part of the 8th wave of the European Social Survey. This rotating module is coordinated by Wim van Oorschot; other co-applicants are Bart Meuleman, Staffan Kumlin, and Christian Staerklé.

Conference Organization

I love conferences, and also love to organize them, or be part in section sections or sessions:

  • Co-chair (with Wim van Lancker) of the Stream “The Middle Class and Its Impact on Poverty and Inequality” (ESPAnet – Lisbon, 2017)
  • Co-organizer (with Ruud Luijkx, Caroline Dewilde and Paul De Graaf) of the Spring Conference “Social Inequality, Cohesion and Solidarity” (ISA RC28 – Tilburg, 2015)
  • Chair (with Maureen Eger) of the Stream “Migration and Social Policy: Reconciling Diversity and Inclusive Social Welfare” (ESPAnet – Oslo, 2014)
  • Chair of the panel “Contextual Effects on Participation and Trust” (ECPR – Reykjavik, 2011).
  • Co-chair (with Matthias Stepan) of the panel “The Welfare State – Maneuvering between Functional Needs, Economic Imperatives and Public Opinion” (Politicologenetmaal – Amsterdam, 2011).

Blogging as ‘National Sociologist’

Together with head of Department – Peter Achterberg – I started blogging in fall 2014 under the title Socioloog des Vaderlands – which can be translated as ‘National Sociologist’. This label is not out of arrogance, rather the contrary: the Netherlands did not have a Socioloog des Vaderlands back then (although it had other categories, even the Kroket des Vaderlands); to fill up this gap, Peter and I took up the job! It’s not always that easy to find time and inspiration to write blogs, but it’s a great thing to communicate science. To find the blogs – in Dutch – check the Univers website.
Peter Achterberg en Tim Reeskens. sociologen des vaderlands. Picture by Jack Tummers

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Coordination Sociology Minor of ReMA SBS

Since 2015, I coordinate the Sociology Minor-track of the Research Master Social and Behavioral Sciences at Tilburg University. This means that I am well connected to the students, make sure they find appropriate internship, overlook their ethics-paper, organize colloquia and make sure students attend them, and connect students to potential supervisors for their first as well as their final paper.

Research Master: Networks and Cohesion

The first course all Research Master students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences program will see me. In the first year of this two-year program, I teach a course on Social Capital. The course involves not only theoretical sessions, but also some computer labs to familiarize students with the empirical study of social capital. The assignment involves group work, which is a neat evaluation method, as it forces the new group (often international students) to mingle and generate social capital themselves. [ syllabus ]

Master Seminar Sociology ‘From Theory to...

To successfully graduate as a Master in Sociology, students need to write a thesis. To do so, they often rely on sophisticated analytical skills. Together with Ioana van Deurzen and Ruud Luijkx I teach the Master Seminar Sociology. My role is mostly teach multilevel regression analysis, and serve as a helpdesk when students are in the analysis-part of their thesis. [ syllabus ]

Social Cohesion in a Multicultural Society (BA2/3)

The Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a few Excellence/Honours programs for those who distinguish themselves throughout the first Bachelor year. Every two years, I teach the course ‘Social Cohesion in a Multicultural Society’ at the students of the Excellence Program. [ syllabus ]

Diversity and Community (BA2)

In the Liberal Arts program at University College Tilburg, I teach the course “Diversity and Community” on the social consequences of diversity and immigration. [ syllabus ]

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