Blog | Hendrik Erz

Class Struggle from Above

The main goal for governments globally is to completely drive down daily new cases of COVID. However, the current political strategies prove unable to reduce incidences. While public discourse asks how that could be and lockdowns are being extended, one initiative sheds light onto one sector that has been left almost alone so far.

Capitol Stormtroopers

On Wednesday, violent Trump-supporters, fascists, and white supremacists forced their way into the U.S. capitol building, forcing the senators to interrupt their ongoing meeting and forcing them to evacuate. We could see guards pointing guns at civilians, ransacked offices, and random dudes sitting in the chairs of elected officials. This atrocity highlights three important threads in global political discourse which I comment upon in this post: The demise of the nation state, the fragility of positive law, and, most importantly, how modern fascism is so successful.

Happy New Year 2021

Let's be honest: We all wanted 2020 to end. While I want to stay quiet on the question of whether or not 2021 will actually be a better year, I want to say a little bit about my plans for the year. Right now, a monotonous phase of extracting a lot of information from research literature has started, but the first results are interesting. It seems as if statistics share some commonality with engineering.

Causation, Prediction, Explanation

Sociology is in upheaval: After machine learning technologies brought about huge changes in the area of engineering, social sciences are catching up, introducing more and more machine learning methods into their research. But is machine learning really the next big thing, or rather something additional that you may or may not use? In this blog post I focus on initial research questions that popped up after the first weeks of my PhD, and which will guide my work in the future.


After six weeks in Norrköping, and two weeks before Christmas, it is time for a first feedback. How is it to start a PhD in the mid of a global crisis?

Data Analysis with Python, VS Code and Jupyter

A big part of my PhD will consist of performing data analysis, enhanced with machine learning techniques where appropriate. But before turning to methods such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), Word Embeddings, or even model-based classifiers ("neural networks"), it is time to set up my data analysis toolchain again. I have been using Jupyter with VS Code for a few years now, and in this article I explain how you can do the same.

Computational Sociology

One month of Analytical Sociology, and I'm getting comfortable in the field. In this post, I outline what I've so far learned about Analytical Sociology and Computational Social Science and who the players in the field are. And I encounter an old acquaintance …


A PhD is many things at once: an experience, an academic title, and an education, for example. But it also is a bearer of responsibility of a different quality than what your undergraduate studies would have you believe. In this article I want to share first thoughts on the kind of responsibility attached to a PhD.

Explainable Science

Two weeks into my PhD here at Linköping University, and I can finally shift to more "scientifically salient" blog posts. What this means? This post is all about what I learned within these two weeks on how to conduct testable, causal research.

First impressions of Norrköping

One week of Sweden – it's time to share the first impressions. The city is beautiful, and even though the sun sets at half past four, there's just enough sunlight to capture the stunning architecture around the river Motala.

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