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Politics and Economics

Political Economy and Socioeconomics

This research area includes analyses that concern Global Economic Integration, International Relations, Conflict and Cooperation and Terrorism and Counterterrorism as well as the Social Determinants of Mortality, Public Policy and Public Health and the Politics of Natural Disasters. Analyses in the field of International Relations and Terrorism investigate among other things spatial spillover effects in international tourism as a consequence of transnational terrorist attacks and possible races to the top in counterterrorist regulations among countries potentially exposed to terrorist attacks. Public Health and premature mortality are used to examine social patterns of unequal living conditions. Premature mortality is an excellent proxy variable for testing the claim of equivalent living conditions since the root causes of premature death are socioeconomic. The Politics of Natural Disasters are analyzed in terms of the standard narrative that learning from natural disasters is predominantly regarded as beneficial: Individuals and governments learn to cope and thereby reduce damage and loss of life in future disasters.

Political Regimes and Human Rights

This research field encompasses the comparative analysis of political regime types such as democracies or autocracies as well as their sub-categories, for instance, parliamentary democracies or military regimes. Based on theories of political economy, determinants of regime change and the stability of regimes are identified and evaluated. Theoretical and empirical research in this field also aims to explain political processes within a country and differences between countries with respect to political stability, economic growth, inequality, or respect for human rights. Explaining why the rights of the first or second generation are violated is done with a particular emphasis on the link between political institutions and the behavior of political actors. Research in this field is highly interdisciplinary and may include other social science disciplines such as sociology, economics, political science, or legal studies.

Law in the Market Society

Located at the intersection of law, economy, and society, this research area draws on the economic sociology of law (which connects economic sociology with the sociology of law) and links to critical and institutional perspectives in political economy (which likewise include law as a subject matter). Analytically speaking, the law of market society includes all types of law that constitute or regulate the market, be it public or private law, national, international, or transnational law. Taking off from Polanyian ideas, law is conceived as a social institution ‘embedding’ the economy but also as a ‘fictitious commodity’ which may itself become subject to market forces. This perspective can be applied to property relations (‘land’), work relations (‘labor’), and debt relations (‘money’) as well as to the changing role of law in different stages of capitalist development. In contemporary forms of ‘welfare capitalism,’ law’s role may be seen in striking a balance between the quasi-natural laws of the market and the requirements of social and natural life, however contested this may be.

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Work and Consumption