Social Sciences

The Institute of Political Science focuses on research in the areas of development studies, peace and conflict studies, comparative regional research with a focus on Africa, Asia and Europe, political public policy, political management and political communication. These are areas of expertise in which the institute contributes to the University’s Main Research Area of “Transformation of Contemporary Societies”. Research at the ­institute generally aims to connect basic and ­applied approaches. Its focus and objectives are reflected in the close institutional and personal connections with specialised research institutes within the faculty and the University, such as INEF, In-East, the NRW School of Governance and the Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Social Research and Political Consultancy (RISP). It is against this backdrop that a selection of the research projects is presented here.
Since 2011, Professor Daniel Lambach has been leading a DFG-funded project in peace and conflict research under the heading of “Why do states fail?”, a qualitative comparative study of the causes of failure of state institutions. Professor Tobias Debiel, in cooperation with INEF, the German Development Institute (DIE, Bonn) and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI, Essen), secured funds for a Käte Hamburger Collegium (BMBF) on “Political Cultures in the Global Society”, with a preliminary budget that runs to more than 13 million euros over six years.
In the research area of policy management/political communication, Professor Andreas Blätte established (in cooperation with the Institut für Deutsche Sprache – Institute for German Language) the “PolMine” plenary debate corpus, which provides foundations for a corpus analysis of political language. Further research activities culminated in publications on applied policy ­research, formal and informal governance mechanisms, and the Pirate Party.
In comparative regional research, a decision is pending from the VW Foundation on a proposal by Professor Susanne Pickel for the “Political Culture in Central Asia Project” as part of the “Between Europe and the Orient” programme. Professor Achim Goerres and Professor Christof Hartmann have co-published collections on population aging in post-industrial societies (Goerres) and on ethnic party bans in Africa (Hartmann). Professor Thomas Heberer and Professor Dieter Grunow completed a Haniel Foundation-funded project in 2012 on “Administrative Reform in Germany and China: Decentralized Policies in the Domain of Environmental Policies: Rural Areas”. A DFG-funded project on local cadres as strategic actors in China is still running.
The Institute also continues to grow dynamically beyond and outside the Main Research Areas. At the newly created Chair of Social Science ­Didactics, Professor Sabine Manzel began a ­project named “Politics lessons on camera – ­videography in empirical politics didactics”. ­Professor Renate Martinsen conducted the founding session of the DVPW (German Political Science Association) group “Constructivist analysis-­approaches and political theory” at the UDE. Professor Karl-Rudolf Korte became the managing editor of the journal “Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft” (Nomos).