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Research Programmes

The GIGA combines in-depth area expertise and cutting-edge comparative methods from the social sciences. The complementary interaction of regional institutes and cross-cutting thematic research programmes enables the GIGA to pursue its unique approach.


Comparative Area Studies

All GIGA scholars belong to one Regional Institute and are members of one or more Research Programmes. In the Research programmes, scholars from all four Regional Institutes come together, develop and carry out their research projects, reflect on theoretical, conceptual and methodological questions from political science, economics, and related disciplines, and engage in interdisciplinary exchange and in comparative inter-, intra- and cross-regional work.

The GIGA is a pioneer in the fledgling field of comparative area studies (CAS) and one of Europe’s leading research centres for this scholarly field of study. Comparative area studies combine the context sensitivity and knowledge of area studies with the explicit use of comparative methods as the appropriate means to generate both contributions to broader disciplinary and theoretical debates, and better insights into the cases. Hence, the cognitive interest of CAS encompasses generalisation as well as specification. We believe that contextually-informed and methodologically sound CAS benefit both the social-science disciplines and area-specific studies. They are an important component of our global approach. For further reading on CAS we recommend Comparative Area Studies: Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications, published by Oxford University Press.

The GIGA, either as an institution or through its employees, is involved in the important area-specific and disciplinary networks and associations. Among the latter are, for example, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the German Political Science Association (DVPW), the German Economic Association (Verein für Socialpolitik), Processes of International Negotiation network (PIN), the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the International Studies Association (ISA).

Global Approach to Scholarship

The GIGA works with perspectives, concepts, and experiences from different world regions. It stands for research that is global in content, reach, and structure.