Political Theory

God Given
Credit: J.W. Conroe.


This research area focuses on political theory and international political theory, combining historical and international perspectives to explain political structures and processes. In particular, the resarch area focuses on theoretical and practical questions on war and peace, violence and diplomacy, as well as religion and ethics in politics.



Ass.-Prof. Dr. Jodok Troy (  website |   curriculum vitae |   publications)

Dr. Julia Mourão Permoser (  website)

Current Projects


  • Migration as Morality Politics: The Contentious Politics of Sanctuary in Europe and the United States

    Dr. Julia Mourão Permoser, 2019-2023, Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

    The proposed project addresses a research gap concerning the role of values in migration politics. Once a field dominated by bureaucrats and special interests, migration politics has now become a site of intense value-based conflicts. Such conflicts touch upon deeply-held moral principles and generate dynamics of contention that are typical of morality politics. Nevertheless, the moral dimension of migration politics has not been in the focus of either the migration studies or the morality politics literature. In order to fill this gap, the project develops a new analytical approach to the study of migration that is sensitive to the role of values as a source of normative disagreements and as constitutive of political actors’ preferences and motivations. It does so through an empirical study of the contentious politics of sanctuary in Europe and the United States. On the basis of qualitative interviews and primary document analysis, the project investigates three types of sanctuary practices: church asylum, sanctuary cities/firewall policies, and humanitarian rescue operations in the Mediterranean and at the United States-Mexico border. These practices are highly contested, generate contentious political dynamics, implicate religious values and actors, and involve moral controversies and dilemmas. The project uses these three types of sanctuary as empirical case studies that will serve as building blocks for the development of a theory of migration as morality politics.


Current Publications

Troy, Jodok (2021): Desire and Imitation in International Politics. Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

Troy, Jodok (2021): Legitimacy in the ‘secular church’ of the United Nations, in: International Relations 34 (4), 565-582.

Mourao Permoser, Julia/Stoeckl, Kristina (2020): Reframing human rights: the global network of moral conservative homeschooling activists, in: GLOBAL NETWORKS-A JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 1-22.

Troy, Jodok (2020): The containment of the ‘Islamic State:’ A realist case to engage a hybrid actor, in: Contemporary Security Policy 41 (3), 385-406.

Mourão Permoser, Julia (2019): What are Morality Policies? The Politics of Values in a Post-Secular World, in: Political Studies Review 17 (3), 310-325.

Troy, Jodok (2019): The papal human rights discourse: The difference Pope Francis makes, in: Human Rights Quarterly 41 (1), 66-90. 

Senn, Martin/Troy, Jodok (eds.) (2019): The Transformation of Targeted Killing and International Order, London/New York: Routledge.

Troy, Jodok (2019): Two ‘Popes’ to speak for the World: The Pope and the United Nations Secretary General in World Politics, in: Barbato, Mariano P./Joustra, Robert J./Hoover, Dennis R. (eds.): Modern Papal Diplomacy and Social Teaching in World Affairs (Routledge studies in religion and politics), London/New York: Routledge, 67-78.

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