Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Political Theory


The research and teaching area Political Theory engages with the theory-based interpretation and analysis of the basic problems of political action and political-social order formation (institutions, organizations, practices, and norms) in a conceptual and normative way. The focus on theory and conceptual work means that the professorship has a central bundling function in social science research and teaching. For basic political concepts such as democracy, freedom, equality, difference, or protest and their normative content are not limited to one political field or one region of the world - although their meaning may differ fundamentally between social contexts.

The research and teaching unit understands and practices political theory primarily as a critical interpretation science. Theory formation in this context means analyzing the conditions and meaning of political action, determining the meaning of political practice, and condensing the results into a coherent system of statements. The exchange with other social science disciplines as well as jurisprudence is essential for this way of conducting political theory. The focus of research and teaching at the department is contemporary political theory and its foundations in the history of ideas, philosophy and methodology. In addition to questions and problems of democratic and social theory, constitutional theory, and legal and social philosophy, the examination of historical positions that shape contemporary debates in the research field also plays an important role.

The current research interest of the professorship lies primarily in the analysis and critique of social, legal, and political ordering processes in modern democracies. The nexus of law, politics, and order in modern societies is analyzed from the perspective of social, political, and democratic theory - both in terms of the history of ideas and in a systematic perspective, with special emphasis on globalization processes. In particular, the research unit is engaged in determining the significance of political protest in modern democracies, including its normative classification.