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European integration and governance of sustainability in Europe and in the global transboundary space

Research profile

The group EIGN has its origins in the research focus "Environment & Sustainability" of the professorship with the broader denomination "European Integration and Policy". Research questions focus primarily on horizontal policy integration, vertical policy coordination, policy implementation and governance modes in environmental and sustainability policy. Research interests have broadened in two directions in recent years. First, in addition to these classical governance dimensions, we are increasingly interested in the actor level both in the formal political arena (e.g., role of political parties) and at the non-state actor level (civil society and business). On the other hand, we deal with global or transnational forms of sustainability governance. The focus is on political, political-economic, socio-political and socio-ecological processes, the problem-solving capacity of political decisions as well as the normative consideration of these decision-making processes and their outcomes. A special focus is currently on the critical analysis of the governance of value and supply chains (e.g. soy, beef or cocoa) from the perspective of European policymakers, European companies, as well as local producers and other stakeholders.

The theoretical portfolio ranges from European integration theories, institutional and organizational theories, governance approaches, accountability and environmental justice theories to normative legitimation theories and theories rooted in historical materialism. We use a broad repertoire of mostly qualitative methods (e.g. computer-assisted text analysis, expert interviews, participant observation, focus groups), but also employ quantitative analysis techniques and mixed-method designs within our research group. Within interdisciplinary research contexts (law, economics, sociology, geography, anthropology, psychology) inside and outside the IUSF, we thus contribute to the identification and investigation of policy challenges and opportunities for sustainable production, value chains and consumption.

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