Political science deals with a specific aspect of society, namely that of political decisions. This includes all those decisions which are binding for all members of society. The non-compliance with the regulations and rules that are connected to these decisions is thus as a rule sanctioned by the community. Therefore, the central facets of political science are power and dominance. In return, the central aspects when dealing with these topics include the questions of legitimization, as well as the practical implementation and safeguarding. These perspectives cover three areas of political science. The first area refers to the political institutions ("polity"), the second to the process of forming the political will and decision-making ("politics") and the third to the factual, material aspect, i.e. to the concrete organization of politics in certain political fields ("policy").
The special profile of the chair consists of a decidedly theoretical perspective on these areas, in the sense of the classical political theorists who in most cases were much less philosophically oriented but more interested in an often pragmatic solution to certain problems. In the course of the last 2000 years, these problems have not changed in a major way. Basically, they still deal with the institutional safeguarding of a “ just” dominance, the guarantee of individual freedom under dominance, and the conflict resolution and avoidance within a community and between various communities. This problem-focused point of view is supplemented by an stakeholder- and process perspective that is more strongly methodologically motivated, as can be seen in modern research on governance. Governance is thereby understood to mean all forms of interaction and coordination between the stakeholders within the state, between state and society and between the various levels of governmental actions. This governing is characterized by different kinds of exchange, of negotiation, of implementation or the binding regulation of interests.
Yet, just as empirical research cannot make sense without the basis of a well-developed theory, theory that rejects any connection to empirical reality is just as futile. The second major guideline of the chair’s profile thus consists of the combination of theory and empirical findings, i.e. in a permanent reference of the theory to the empirical facts of „what is the case“, as well as the basing of the empirical planning in own research activities at the chair on a carefully constructed theory.
The special focus of the chair is mirrored in its methodical tools. Thus, in its research and teaching the chair applies on the one hand the methods of action and decision theory, as well as game theory, and on the other hand abundant empirical methods of collecting and evaluating data, especially statistical procedures.