Political Cultures and Systems
Concepts of social order refer to established ideas of dealing with social heterogeneity. On this basis, political systems provide the foundation for a certain degree of social cohesion. Until the end of the 1990s, ideology-based systems dominated. The following alleged hegemony of the liberal-democratic system lasted only for a short time and was severely questioned by the numerous civil wars, which could not be appeased and prevented despite massive liberalistic interventions. Finally, the massive increase in transnational political, economic, social and cultural processes did not only reveal a vast diversity of various systems of order beyond the realm of the ideological, but also questioned the foundations of modern political statehood and thus the very foundations of political modernity itself.
The cluster deals with the dynamics of political cultures and systems in their relevance for social heterogeneity and cohesion. In doing so, it involves historical, political, social, cultural and legal perspectives. The historical perspective in its relevance for the present represents a particular focus within the cluster. Of particular relevance is the 20th century and the competition between the various political systems. Another focus addresses the dynamics between different political systems and cultures as well as the cleavages within those units that arise in the course of the worldwide increase of transnational processes. That relates to conflicts in OECD countries and democratic responses on the one hand. On the other hand, it concerns international conflicts and approaches to their resolution within peacebuilding initiatives from the international state community and the international civil society. Within those areas, the cluster is also interested in the role of religion as factor in conflict and the related dynamics.
The cluster's guiding concepts are open and depend on the respective concepts of "politics" and "the political". Essentially, "political system" means the dimensions of institutions, actors and legal-administrative infrastructure of political entities and processes. "Political culture" encompasses the attitudes towards political order, be it on a sub-state, state or transnational level. Additionally, it refers to concepts of self-interpretation and forms of expression (staging, symbols etc.).
Werner Suppanz werner.suppanz(at)uni-graz.at
Maximilian Lakitsch maximilian.lakitsch(at)uni-graz.at