Thematic areas of focus
Optional Subject 1: Theory and Empirics of Democratic Politics
The aim of the optional subject “Theory and Empirics of Democratic Politics” is to convey a comprehensive understanding of democracy and its theoretical as well as empirical analysis. Part of this is also the engagement with alternative political systems. At the center of the subject are the key problems of modern democracies, especially the participation in political decisions, the control of political decision-making processes and the implementation of political decisions. Through the engagement with the theoretical models, empirical insights and essential normative questions of democracy research, the students should be able to conduct their own research and handle the necessary methodological, normative and analytical instruments.
Optional Subject 2: International and European Politics
The optional subject “International and European politics” is concerned with the structures, institutions, actors and problems of political decision-making beyond the nation state. This is based on the premise that, “in the age of globalization”, the interdependence between states is increasing and that increasingly more of the problems of political regulation are being transferred to European and international institutions. Especially important here is the entanglement of decision-making processes into new forms of “multi-level politics” where national, European and international politics determine each other. The optional subject will introduce students to different European and international institutions and then analyze their area of political activity, the resulting Europeanization and internationalization of national politics, as well as the governance beyond the state.
Optional Subject 3: Governance and Public Policy
The aim of the option “Governance and Public Policy” is to convey to students in-depth knowledge of the change in modern statehood and the conditions faced when fulfilling public tasks. At the center stage are new forms of ruling and public policy, in Political Science grouped under the term “governance”. Governance is understood here as a system of rule, which involves states as well as civil society and private actors and in which legally binding behavioral norms are not hierarchically set and enforced, but rather the non-binding behavioral norms are negotiated horizontally and followed voluntarily. Such governance arrangements are found in a number of policy areas and on all levels of political decision-making from the local to the international. The optional subject offers an overview of the governance arrangements, their structure, their functional requirements and their basis for legitimacy, while also discussing their problems and deficiencies.