Political Science

In the field of political science, the research focus of the institute is legitimacy, resistance, and opposition. A number of countries in Europe and especially in what we call 'In-Between Europe' have a long tradition of resistance. In these countries, which due to their geographical situation are subject to different aspirations both from the East and the West, external conflicts also have an impact on domestic affairs. Difficult issues of Eastern or Western political and ideological orientation have frequently the effect that anti-government opposition is associated with anti-system opposition; a phenomenon still troubling many post-Communist countries, but also not without parallels in other parts of Europe and the world.

Our research focuses on both historical and theoretical aspects of legitimacy and resistance, either in an international or in a domestic setting, aiming to synthesize various approaches such as traditional political history, conceptual history, and the systematic analysis of contemporary theories and concepts as well as political attitudes, practices, and institutions. An important aspect of every part of the project is the role of religion and nationalism in various ideas of legitimacy and resistance.

The natural focus of the historical research covers the great revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special emphasis on their lasting influence. The conceptual historical approach tackles primarily the changes in resistance vocabulary, which led to the current dominance of revolutionary rhetoric, curiously shared in most cases by both the radical left and the radical right. The main questions of contemporary political theory and practice are, whether the historically and conceptually grounded antagonistic spirit of either anti-East, anti-West, or anti-system opposition shows similarities in different countries; whether the ideas of the opposing parties really differ as much as it is suggested; and whether there are other factors that contribute to the persistence of political militancy. The results of the research may offer new arguments for and against legitimacy in domestic politics as well as in international relations.

x