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Research Themes

The Department of Political and Social Sciences specializes in comparative politics, sociology and social change, political and social theory and international relations. 

In the broad-ranging research programme of the Department there is a common emphasis on political and social change within Europe at all levels, the national, the sub-national and the transnational.

The Department currently has thirteen full-time professors whose interests range across the themes listed below. For more details of specific research plans and projects, please consult the individual webpages of the professors. Details on research output and publications can be found in the EUI's research repository (CADMUS). 

The Transformation of Government and Democracy

This includes new modes of governance and institutional change at State and European levels' European integration, transitions in government and markets and democratization in Western and East-Central Europe, urban and regional government, federalism, and the comparative study of political institutions, including executives and legislatures.

Social Change in Europe and its Implications for Society, Economy, Politics & Public Policy

Critical challenges include demographic change and societal aging, linked to the transformation of the family and life courses;  labour market; social stratification, inequality and unemployment; tax evasion; the causes, patterns and implications of migration, which have become key issues for Europe’s future and impact on a number of other policy fields.

The Comparative Study of Public Policy

This is examined at the European, national and sub-national and regional levels and covers social policy and welfare states, education policy, fiscal policy, immigration policy, and defence and security.

Political and Social Structures and Behaviour

This theme includes research on political conflict in Europe, voting and elections, parties and party systems. It also focuses on social movements and the study of new modes of social and political participation, as well as on electronic democracy and the use of the internet as a form of political communication.

International Relations and Security

This theme encompasses theoretical and empirical issues in the study of international relations and world politics. It includes world order and world disorder; internal and external security and the study of security institutions; ethical issues in international relations, particularly related to war and the use of force; the study of international norms;  comparative foreign policy and foreign policy analysis; and the emergence of Europe as an international actor.

Social and Political Theory

This theme runs through many of the Department’s research interests. There is an emphasis on applied theory. Of particular importance are theories of citizenship and political boundaries, theories of action and practical rationality, signalling theory and applications, transaction cost theory, democratic theory and practice, violence and nationalism. The Department also has an interest in theories of new institutionalism and institutional change.

Page last updated on 29 September 2015