Research Themes

  • Political participation and Representation

    The way in which citizens and the state are linked to each other is the topic of several research projects. Most of these are conducted within the framework of the Interuniversity Attraction Pole PARTIREP. Projects in the Department pay special attention to political representation, the effect of electoral systems on political behavior, the organization and the strategies of political parties in multi-level systems, deliberative democracy andconsociational democracy. 

  • Nations, nationalism and ethnic conflict

    The research on Conflict Resolution in Divided States and Nations covers the analysis of secessionist conflicts at the periphery of the European Union and their resolution. It also includes doctoral projects on European policies towards China, Taiwan and the cross-Strait relations.

  • The politics of the European Union

    The Department is active in research on the European Union's institutional evolution, its decision-making capacity, and the role of European interest groups and lobbying. Special attention also goes to the EU's relationship with the other major world players (United States, China, ...). In its EU research activities, the Department works in close cooperation with the VUB's Institute for European Studies, which has been awarded the prestigious title of Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence by the European Commission.

  • Chinese politics and society

    Several projects cover a variety of topics related to both the domestic transition of Chinese society, economy and politics, and to the external relations of China. For the latter we focus in particular on China's foreign and security politicy and on its relations with the European Union.
    The research on Chinese politics and soceity is conducted at BICCS, the Brussels Institute for Contemporary China Studies.

  • Public policy and public sector innovation

    The Department actively attracts research projects with a public policy focus. These projects deal with public sector innovation, the development of new governance structures and new policy instruments, such as nudging. In particular, we focus on processes of social and democratic innovation (deliberative and participatory democracy), on the coproduction of public services, and on stakeholder management in a diverse set of policy areas (education, environment, justice…).