Faculty of Social Sciences

The research focus entitled "Globalisation and institutional change" deals with the impacts globalisation processes have on the developmental dynamics of social institutionalisation processes and institutions in different regions of the world.

Fields of research

The first field of research is involved with an international comparison of the changes in production and innovation models. This work looks at the emergence of institutional orders that enable new forms of corporate and transnational joint ventures within the arena of political and economic action. Research projects examine global forms of joint ventures in knowledge production (e.g. in the area of digital products and services, including think tanks) and question how the economic and political players access knowledge bases distributed throughout the world. In addition, the local microprocesses of interwoven global relationships are examined in different regional contexts. On a meso-level, studies look at how knowledge production organisations accompany these processes through transnational discourse constellations.

The second field of research concerns the changes taking place in nationally framed institutional orders under the influence of economic, political, legal and cultural globalisation processes. Projects designed as international comparative studies focus on long-term transformative effects caused by incremental processes of institutional change within the arena of financial market institutions, industrial relations and intellectual property rights. Complementing these politico-economic research fields, the work will also analyse the institutional transformations taking place in social and labour policies, the political regulation of our information society, of welfare regimes and constitutional democracies. With their research, the Göttingen social scientists aim to make their mark on the more recent debate going on in the field of institutional theory.

The third field of research deals with the development of new patterns of national orders and their effects on the dynamics of globalisation and institutional change. In particular, the central focus of this research is on the “emerging economies” of China and India, the institutional orders of which cannot be assigned to our conventionally known “varieties of capitalism”. There will be research projects that aim to analyse the institutional specifics of these orders, their cultural backgrounds and economic effects and thereby to expand the “varieties of capitalism” discussion by including factors and dynamics previously not taken into account.

The fourth field of research deals with the impacts of the macroprocesses of economic globalisation on the micro level of the career paths of individuals and the associated structures of social inequalities. The focus here is a transnational comparison of critical and transitional phases of a working lifetime, like the phase of entry into the job market, for example, which thereby also creates links to another research focus of the faculty: “Educational research”. Furthermore, questions are asked as to how individuals cope with the new risks and instabilities during their working lifetimes and what effects said factors have on other areas of life (e.g. partnerships, family etc.).

A fifth field of research is dedicated to micro-level analysis of situations, cases and discourses with complex processes of negotiation between the culturally and socially diverse interest groups encountering each other in the context of developmental processes in Africa, Asia and in the Pacific region. On the one hand, the focus centres on the problem of collective action within the interplay taking place, in part, between local institutions steeped in generations of tradition and, otherwise new institutions brought in from the outside. On the other hand, processes of creative adaptation and innovation are involved that are being launched on local and regional levels in the wake of global developments.