The research unit International Politics (IP) focuses its research on two principal thematic domains: international security and international diplomacy, which form the traditional core of the study and discipline of International Relations.
IP studies the dynamics of geopolitical change and the changing parameters of the international security environment, and assesses how these changes can be governed. Keenly aware of its limits, IP examines how diplomatic activity shapes and sometimes complicates attempts at international governance. Geopolitical change and the international security environment, IP assumes, are no brute facts. They are the result of deeply social and sometimes bluntly political processes that play out in a shifting cultural context. IP’s analyses therefore pay close attention to such factors as history and identity, domestic politics and leadership, and transnational mobilization. IP’s theoretical apparatus is, for that reason, pragmatically eclectic.
Empirically, IP’s research focuses on a variety of subjects like nuclear disarmament, terrorism and radicalization, innovation in diplomacy including public diplomacy and sub-state diplomacy, geopolitics and regional security (US, Russia, China and East Asia), and the concepts of peace and authority.
Methodologically, IP’s mostly theory-driven empirical research is of a qualitative nature and seeks to render geopolitical and diplomatic action intelligible by situating it within its context. IP’s methodological purpose is to understand action (‘Verstehen’) and not to mechanistically explain behavior. Because the purpose of scholarly investigation should not only be to understand the world but ultimately also to change it, IP does not shy away from prescriptive and normative analysis.
A variety of methods are used including comparative-historical analysis, discourse analysis, process-tracing and case-studies.
IP has a fine tradition of translating their academic work into more popular outlets, with may benefit policy-makers and society.