Social Sciences

The political world is characterised by pheno­mena of delimitation. It seems the days whenresolving social problems fell exclusively to the sovereign government of a nation state are long gone. Yet as society becomes increasingly differentiated, its citizens’ expectations of government capabilities also rise. Civil society and economic actors alike, national and also transnational non-government organisations and companies operating on a global scale have all become important players in the political arena. Meanwhile, the economy is narrowing state actors’ room for manoeuvre. Binding decision-making in the formal context of hierarchical “government” structures (governments and administra-tions) is becoming less important, to be replaced at varying rates by “governance”: complex processes of consultation, coordination and negotiation in pluricentric networks.
Against this backdrop, the Institute of Political Science analyses new forms of governance (including the still existent forms of government) in industrial, transformation and developing countries. The institute works closely with national and international partners, including Nankai University and Fudan University (Shanghai / PR China), the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), and the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Brisbane (Australia). Research is structured around three focal areas: “global governance” analyses how, in the face of the globalisation process and diminished ruling authority of national states, global problems can be solved by cooperation between state, international and non-state actors. “Governance and government in world regions” meanwhile looks at policy-making problems in three different world regions in which the institute has particular expertise: Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The “democratic governance” research focus responds to the growing complexity of preparing, making and implementing political decisions in the Federal Republic of Germany. Research concerns the problems of administrative modernisation, in-cluding implementation of new information and communication technologies, public management problems at federal and state government level, including media and non-media political communication and its influence on public opinion, and aspects of urban governance, orpolitical steerage and institutional arrangements in central areas of urban politics.
The following research projects, all competitive application procedures, have been conducted and completed in the past two years:
“Konfliktbeilegung durch Europäisierung? Griechenland und seine Nachbarn Mazedonien und Türkei” [Conflict resolution throughEuropeanisation? Greece and its neighbours Macedonia and Turkey], Volkswagen Foundation (Prof. Heinz-Jürgen Axt), “Kampagnendynamik 2005. Eine Rolling Cross-Section / Panel-Studie zu den Wirkungen des Wahlkampfes bei der vorgezogenen Bundestagswahl 2005” [Campaign Dynamics 2005. A rolling cross-section / panel analysis on the effects of the campaign in the 2005 German General Election], German Research Foundation (DFG) (Prof. Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck), “Herstellung und Sicherung kollektiv verbindlicher politisch-administrativer Entscheidungen im Rahmen eines Kommunalisierungsprozesses” [The making and securing ofpolitical-administrative decisions in the framework of a municipalisation process], DFG (Prof. Dieter Grunow), “Wahlen, Partizipation und soziale Stabilität in Chinas Dörfern und städtischen Wohnvierteln” [Elections, participation and social stability in China’s villages and urban neighbourhoods], DFG (Prof. Thomas Heberer) and “Party-Bans in Africa”, Fritz-Thyssen Foundation (Prof. Christof Hartmann, together with Prof. Matthijs Boogards (Jacobs University Bremen); Dr. Matthias Basedau (GIGA, Hamburg) and Prof. Peter Niesen (Darmstadt University of Technology)).