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Political Concepts

Standing Group

Established 2015 - Number of members: 290

Steering Committee Chair

  • Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences )

Steering Committee

  • Elena García-Guitián (Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC)
  • Taru Haapala (Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC)
  • Anthoula Malkopoulou (Uppsala Universitet)
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Political concepts have a key role in and for political science: they serve in describing, analysing, explaining, and understanding its research objects. Concepts first function as analytical categories. It is a key insight of conceptual history that political concepts are not stable, but they are themselves controversial and an object of politics. They change continuously, and such conceptual changes often relate to political processes themselves: Conceptual change often is a pivot for political and social changes. The new Standing Group will focus on the role of political concepts in political science in all possible respects, namely in their function both as analytical categories and as objects of political controversies. Such an approach is important for nearly all the sub-disciplines of political science. The Standing Group will therefore be open to political scientists from all sub-disciplines sharing a focal interest in the role of political concepts.

Aims & Objectives

The aim is to create a stable setting for Conceptual Research within the ECPR as the European Consortium for Political Research. Based on the previous activities and in particular the two Sections in Bordeaux and Glasgow we aim at creating a broad network of political scientists whose work is related to the role of political concepts and/or the issues of conceptual change. We therefore want both to build on the previous activities and broaden their focus, to create an institutional setting for intellectual exchange and networking on the topic of political concepts within the framework of the ECPR. The aim of this Standing Group is to unite researchers from all political science sub-disciplines and neighbouring disciplines working on political concepts and/or conceptual change and its politics, to

  • Create links, cooperation, and exchange
  • Organise joint activities (see below)
  • bundle the resources and research interests related to the analysis of political concepts and their role in all fields of political science and neighbouring disciplines
  • contribute to a broader understanding of the role of political science as a discipline and all its subfields and neighbouring disciplines
  • discuss theoretical and methodological approaches for political science, its subfields and neighbouring disciplines
  • Organise related events and publication activities (see below)


  • To organise Sections/Panels/Workshops at ECPR events, at IPSA and on other occasions.
  • To conduct International Workshops and Conferences in addition to ECPR events.
  • To conduct young researchers training and summer schools in cooperation with the existing Conceptual History network and the Concepta doctoral school.
  • To compile a mailing list
  • To establish a monthly or bi-monthly Newsletter to put members in touch and distribute relevant information.
  • To establish a website that gives both general information about the SG and its activities and informs about current issues.

Publication activities:

  1. the peer-reviewed Journal Redescriptions, edited by Kari Palonen and published by Manchester University Press, is an existing publication opportunity for the working results of the Standing Group.
  2. The bilingual book series Politics, Concepts, Debates (published by Nomos, Germany; and Bloomsbury books,GB) is open to suggestions for monographs and anthologies.
  3. Furthermore, the ECPR Press should become another publishing house for the results of the work of the Standing Group.
  4. For the future, special issues of relevant journals (for instance Journal of the History of Ideas and contributions to the History of Concepts and edited