This research area focuses on the international dimension of regionalism in a comparative perspective and, in particular, on the external relations of the European Union and its role in interregional settings as well as in a global society. While European integration is the most visible and most advanced framework for regional integration both in economic terms, and in terms of the preservation of peace and security within its geographical setting, its external policy dimension still lacks clarity, coherence, and assertiveness. This becomes visible, particularly, in the field of security policy, situations of international crisis, but also with regard to different approaches by the EU and European countries to particular world regions. This research area is aimed at analysing Europe’s role, and the potential and current factors obstructing it from becoming a coherent international actor.
Research activities within this area are organized in both collaborative and individual research projects. Numerous scholarly conferences, workshop presentations, and hosting of international visiting scholars fall within the area.
The major project in this area has been a research and professionalization project ‘Between Stability and Transformation: Regional and Transnational Cooperation in Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe’ started at Bielefeld University in 2016. This project includes conferences, a seminar series as well as research publications.
In 2017, a new research initiative focusing on ‘Boundary and Border Studies in World Society’ was started with the establishment of a joint working group. This initiative works in cooperation with the Institute for World Society Studies (IW) and is concentrated on multi-, trans, and inter-disciplinary research on the constitution, change, and contestation of political, social, and cultural boundaries in Europe and beyond.
Several individual research projects by early-career researchers are run within this area. For instance, the study ‘Prospects of Swedish entry into NATO’ by Anastasia Shcherbaneva, Faculty of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University is dedicated to the security policy of Sweden and the perspectives of Russian-Swedish relations. Another example is the project by Anastasia Golofast, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences on ‘Exogenous shock as institutional change factor for the EU’. The research focuses on the dynamics of the delegation of authority in the European Union in relation to the refugee ‘crisis’. The work ‘The role of political generals in Prussian-German history of the 19th and 20th centuries’, conducted by Nikolay Vlasov, Faculty of International Relation of St. Petersburg State University aims at revealing the impact of ‘political generals’ on political and social development of Prussia/Germany. The study ‘Status of the European Convention on Human Rights and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Germany’ by Yulia Yaluner, Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg State University is devoted to implementation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the decisions of the ECHR into the national legal system.
Within the thematic field of this research area, manifold dissemination and counselling activities toward a broader societal and institutional audience take place, including interviews in print, audio, and TV outlets as well as public presentations in various contexts. For instance, on 11th of October 2017, Andreas Vasilache, the head of the research area, gave a keynote speech on ‘The European Crisis as a Generalised Insecurity Machine’ of the DAAD-ambassador’s meeting ‘A dialogue between the DAAD and EU embassies’ the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences in Berlin and participated in the roundtable discussion on ‘The importance of collaboration between the EU universities in the context of current changes in the EU’ with participants from European embassies and transnational academic institutions.