• For some observers, political lobbying is a euphemism for dubious interactions between big business and corrupt politicians. Others believe that lobbying is an essential component of a lively representative democracy. In any case, more resources are invested every year in the management of relations between various organizations and political decision-makers. In recent years, the NGO sector, too, has started to professionalize its relationships with the political world. Similarly, there is a growing literature on how academics can diffuse their research and impact on a policy process by approaching decision-makers.
    The aim of this course is to introduce students to practices and theories of political lobbying. It discusses how interests and ideas are organized in different political systems and what kind of exchange takes place between interest groups and decision-makers. It addresses the issue of legitimacy and regulatory attempts. A large part of the course is devoted to the practical features of a lobbying process: How can a lobbying process be organized, which methods allow for identifying target groups and relevant intervention points and which lobbying instruments are useful under which circumstances? This course is designed for students who would like to combine theoretical insights into public policy and methodological tools with their own mission to change a specific public policy or to further the political goals of a particular organization.

  • In consequence of the disintegration of the Soviet empire, 24 new countries were born; far more than those 5 that have continued their existence in their pre-collapse boundaries.This incredible simple fact has far-reaching policy implications.Economists typically look at the depth of economic liberalization while a set of political scientists often talk about double transition and another set about the plagues of resurgent nationalism.What gets rarely scrutinized is that an overwhelming majority of the “countries in transition” need to cope not only with the tasks of economic reform so that economic efficiency to improve (one of the key reasons of socialism’s collapse) and political democratization but also have to engage in “nation building” – both of its institutional and ideological aspects.What are the impacts of the nation building requirements and efforts on the efficiency of economic reform and political democratization?How much have new “nation states” been capable to define nation in a way that reflects on current “European” (i.e. West European) standards and how much have they followed pre-World War 2 approaches to establish “ethnic” nation states?How has all this affected these countries integration patterns, including in geopolitical terms?

    The course is going to rely on country case studies primarily.We will take country cases from both, the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the so-called “Western Balkans”.In the case of the FSU we will most probably look at a country – Moldova – in-between Russia and the European Union as well as at the Central Asian sub-region.In the Balkans we may choose Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia but this choice may change on the final account.Besides the case studies we will investigate the reasons of the disintegration, about the same time, of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.We will look at the significance of language in establishing nation; and of the role of the European Union in helping the process of the triple transition.