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The Institute of Political Science at the FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany’s distant teaching university, comprises five chairs which together constitute a distinctive profile of research and teaching. The members of the Institute of Political Science consider academically sound and practice-oriented research as a decisive prerequisite for accomplishing effective teaching. Most basically, our research focuses on “Governance under changing conditions of stateness”. Our academic work is primarily concerned with the structures and processes of political-decision-making in systems of multi-level governance, involving not only political but also economic and social actors on the local, regional, national and international level.

At the center of our theoretical and empirical work are the dynamic interactions, potential developments and contingent alternatives of institutionally embedded actor constellations. They operate in fragmented political spaces, in which states are still assumed to play a significant role despite the increasing significance of private actors. Special attention is paid to the constraints and opportunities political actors face in such an environment in which no single actor disposes of sufficient power or resources to unilaterally impose decisions on others. Our empirical work explores these configurations of governance and their impact on public policies from the local to the global level, including the multifaceted interaction effects that exist between them.

The transformation of the state, new modes of governance and problems of democratic legitimacy arising from the interplay of state(s), economy and society are also the topics of teaching programs. The Institute offers a BA program “Political and Administrative Science” and a Master program “Governance”. Moreover, the Institute is mainly in charge of coordinating the interdisciplinary vocational training program “Environmental Sciences (infernum)”, which is jointly conducted with several external partners.

Within the broader scope of governance as the overarching issue, the five chairs organize the Institute’s research and teaching activities around their areas of specialization. Fields of research and teaching are subdivided along distinct political contexts on the one hand (state, government, parliament, administration, economy, society, international relations) and thematic priorities with particular relevance for the Institute’s profile on the other hand (governance and regulation of public policies as well as democracy and democratization). This “matrix organization” reflects important interdependencies crucial to our understanding of current and long term patterns of change in the political world. The chairs place strong emphasis on cooperation within the Institute as well as with scholars from other disciplines within the FernUniversität. Also, we have forged strong ties with other national and international research networks and institutions.
FernUni-Logo FernUniversität in Hagen, Department of Political Science, 58084 Hagen