Research Center Spheres of Governance: Institutions and Agency


Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Ludger Helms (Department of Political Science)

Deputy Head

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alan Scott (Department of Sociology)

Research Objectives 

This Research Centre is devoted to the study of governance – understood as the sum of activities relating to the collective making of normative orders and public policies. Manifestations of governance can be found at different levels, stretching from local to global, and constitute distinct and yet interacting ‘spheres of governance’. The research agenda of this unit, which came to life as a joint project between Political Science and Sociology is based on the acknowledgement that institutions matter. Institutions shape the interactions between different actors, and no inquiry into different governance regimes could ever claim to be complete without substantive institutional analysis. That said, institutions do not themselves act nor do they determine the behaviour of actors. The social and political reality in different governance regimes depends strongly on what actors do, when, and how. Thus, only the study of institutions and agency can do justice to the dynamic complexities of diverse governance regimes. The research areas currently gathered at the Centre include, inter alia, the creation, change, and reform of political institutions and orders; executive politics and political leadership; global governance; conflict, resistance, and contestation, as well as issues of political legitimation, inclusion, and exclusion.

 Interview with Gilg Seeber (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units

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