The research unit uses a broad interpretation of the concept of 'politics', implying all attempts at consciously ordering society, and the conflicts they can arouse. The field of the research unit encompasses, therefore, the study of political institutions and international relations, as well as that of political theories, ideologies and cultures. Most of all, it tries to stimulate interdisciplinary research in which historians, political scientists, jurists, philosophers, and others can add to our understanding of the past. It also wants to bridge the traditional gaps between the distinct historical periods, even if in the actual research the attention is primarily focused on modern and contemporary history.
Concrete themes currently studied by members of the research unit include the history of the monarchy from the seventeenth until the twentieth century, parliamentary culture in Western Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, administrative collaboration during the Second World War, the political representation of masculinity and femininity, the political impact of racial thought, Belgian diplomats during the Cold War, extreme-right movements and ideologies, and determinants of voting behaviour in contemporary Europe.