Department of Government

Political Theory

At the department, most of the areas of political theory are represented, such as the foundations of political theory, interpretation of the classic texts in the tradition, normative political theory, social and global justice, democratic theory and constitutional politics. 

One of the main foci is the origins and principles of political thought. The evolution of normative thinking is thus addressed not only within political philosophy sensu stricto, in Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, but also outside of it, for instance in Greek tragedy.

A second focus is the theory of justice, primarily regarding global issues. This involves the principled understanding of international justice and distribution and the politics of climate change. What should be done to counter possible climate change or global injustices?

A third area is democratic theory, with special attention given to the issues of knowledge and values. Can democracy be justified without recourse to the view that democratic decisions are somehow better or more wise than those of other political systems?

A fourth area is the politics of constitutions, addressing problems such as elections, sovereignty, division of power, and fundamental rights, i.e., the fundamental rules that govern the polity.

A fifth focus is individualism and autonomy. In the area between political sociology and political theory, individualism is addressed as a theoretical and practical problem with important implications for contemporary societies, politics, and morality.

A sixth area is the relation between politics, morality, and shared values, such as the question how the institutions of marriage, family, and burial can be justified. Another question that is addressed in the political theory community at the department is how societal norms and cultural heritages can be incorporated in law given certain conceptions of impartiality on the part of the state.