by Claudia Wiesner, Acting professor for Comparative Politics and International Development Studies at the University of Marburg in Germany and Associate Professor (dosentti) at Jyväskylä University in Finland.
In my research I currently concentrate on studying political concepts in European integration. During a Marie Curie fellowship at Jyväskylä University´s Finnish centre for Political Thought and Conceptual Change 2012-2014 I developed a research agenda for applying the approaches and practices of conceptual history (or Begriffsgeschichte in German) to the analysis of European integration from a political science perspective.
Political concepts have two dimensions that are particularly important for political science: They first serve as tools for describing, analysing, explaining, and understanding its research objects ‒ concepts serve as analytical and theoretical categories. But, this is a key insight of conceptual history or Begriffsgeschichte, political concepts are not static and immutable, they are themselves contested and controversial and an object of politics. Concepts, second, are factors and indicators of social, institutional and political changes, conflicts or debates. Continue reading