Aesthetics and politics from Leibniz to Hegel

By Douglas Moggach

The project aims to clarify the philosophical sources and political implications of eighteenth and nineteenth century aesthetics, where significant modern ideas of the self, in relation to nature, society, and the constructed environment, emerge. Emphasizing German thought from Leibniz to Hegel, the project examines the concepts of form, formative activity, spontaneity, perfection, and freedom. It studies the relations among Enlightenment thought, post-Kantian German idealism, and the varieties of Romanticism, attempting to show how different types of Romantic thinking respond to specific philosophical problems.

The oppositions that emerge within these traditions, between expressive, ironic, and ethical senses of the self and of freedom, continue to be relevant to recent discussions of politics, art, and social and economic life. Tracing the history of these ideas gives us a better vantage point for understanding and participating in contemporary political debates.

Diasporas and development

By Hélène Pellerin

Diasporas and development: Emigration as a factor of development is increasingly recognized in policy circles and in global financial institutions. To emigration as remittances, was added in recent years the potential of diasporas, as a source of development that is stable and promising. This is at least how it is perceived by states of origin, international organizations and even by states of destination. This research project in collaboration with professor Beverley Mullings (Geography, Queen's University) studies the evolution of the conceptualization of diasporas in initiatives and strategies of development of less developed countries, in order to understand the place that this phenomenon occupies in the global political economy today.

Ethnocultural minorities, management of diversity and citizenship regime in Québec

By François Rocher and Micheline Labelle (UQAM)

Using citizenship as a lens, this study aims to determine the conditions that result in the inclusion or exclusion of ethnocultural and religious minorities in Quebec society.  This study is also interested in models of governance. It examines how the type of governance practiced by the State is reflected in the policies put forward and the affect these have on the participation of ethnocultural and religious minorities in the public realm. This examination of the intersection between citizenship and governance allows for a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding the “management of diversity” in liberal democratic states. This research is original in the fact that it accounts for the standpoint put forward by ethnocultural and religious minorities, a perspective that has been for the most part overlooked in the literature. It will propose new models of governance that take into account both the interests of the state and of minorities, while establishing the conditions of access to full citizenship. Moreover, this research will seek to illustrate the variety of positions put forward by ethnocultural and religious minorities, confirming the magnitude of the challenge that lies ahead for pluriethnic states.

Issues of perspectives in the study of international relations

By Hélène Pellerin

Issues of perspectives in the study of International Relations. The study of perspective is constituting an increasingly important issue in IR scholarship. But so far this interest has been limited to English speaking publications, not covered in French. This project, in the form of an edited book on issues of perspectives in French, seeks to explore what other perspectives there are beyond the Anglo-Saxon views of the world. It explores  perspectives from other regions of the world and seeks to develop theoretical and epistemological thinking on this issue.

Mobility in international political economy

By Hélène Pellerin

Mobility in the world political economy. For many years migration and mobility have been studied in relations to governance, to regulation and controls of mobility. But the study of mobility trends from the economic side and from the conditions of production are more neglected, as if they have remained constant or  as if they only facilitate the natural inclination of people to move. This research project, still in its formulation, seeks to analyze the global organization of production and its effects on three economic sectors: agriculture, textile and garment, and the public work sector. In their global structuration, these sectors create new conditions of mobility that are then articulated and modified by people and by governments. The results of this study would serve to improve our understanding of the various dynamics of mobility and the relative influence of state regulations.

Multilevel governance in urban and metropolitan public service provision

By Eric Champagne

This research project aims to study the evolution of intergovernmental arrangements between the federal government, provinces, metropolitan areas and municipalities in a number of areas including public transport, housing and infrastructures. In this research, we seek to understand how public policies and multilevel governance systems adapt to meet the changing needs of the society by targeting the division of powers and funding of services between different levels of governments, agencies and other public and private organizations. Particular attention is given to urban and metropolitan services. Investment programs in infrastructure, sustainable mobility policies and housing policies are the major sectors surveyed in this research. In this research project, we start from the premise that the resolution of complex problems requires collaboration, alignment and harmonization between a plurality of governmental actors in order to achieve coherent public policies. The project opts for mixed research methods including qualitative, quantitative and case studies components.

Organization development initiatives and public sector efficiency

By Eric Champagne

The theories of organization development (OD) seek to improve efficiency, performance and governance of public and private organizations in applying the principles of behavioral science and management. This research program seeks to assess the impact of organizational development initiatives on public sector efficiency in developed and developing countries. For the past decades, organization development projects have been used either to support public sector reforms or to improve management efficiency in the public sector. What have we learned from these initiatives? Are they working? In this research program, we assess more specifically (at the moment) four types of OD initiatives:

  • OD initiatives which seek to optimize public sector reforms in developing countries (eg. leadership development programs; coaching programs; change management initiatives and results focused approaches, etc).
  • OD initiatives which seek to adapt government performance management systems in a context of fiscal austerity.
  • Organizational reforms aimed at increasing the effectiveness and coherence of government policies (eg. Whole-of-Government approaches; interdepartmental collaboration, etc.).
  • The impact of “high-performance work systems” initiatives on organizational productivity and effectiveness: the analysis of multilateral organizations.

Our main methodological approach is based on comparative case studies.

The changing practices of global economic governance

By Jacqueline Best

Even before the recent financial crisis hit, it was becoming clear that international and national institutions were changing the practices through which they governed the global political economy. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s forced the International Monetary Fund to transform its surveillance and lending activities in important ways, while the failures of development assistance in the 1990s led to a reorientation in development policy at the World Bank and among donor states.

This SSHRC-funded book project examines the changes taking place in how the global economy is governed, focusing in particular on the emergence of four central governance strategies at the IMF, World Bank and among key donors: an attempt to develop new global standards, an effort to increase country ownership, a concern with risk management, and a renewed emphasis on results measurement.  Through interviews, archival research and document analysis, the research considers how these new strategies affect the objects, techniques and forms of authority deployed by these organizations, and assesses whether these new practices of governance are sustainable.

The public as practice: Transformations in global politics

By Jacqueline Best and Alexandra Gheciu (GSPIA)

Whether we look at the recent spate of public bail-outs of private financial firms in the recent financial crisis, the complex public-private partnerships that increasingly characterize international security operations, or the new emphasis on civil society actors as key to processes of global economic, security and environmental governance, it is becoming increasingly clear that the public dimensions of global governance are currently undergoing a major transformation. Although there has been much discussion among International Relations scholars about the extent to which the relationship between public and private in global governance is changing, much of that attention has been focused on the rising role of private governance, authority, and actors. This project focuses instead on the other side of the equation: our interest is primarily in the transformation of the public dimension of global governance. As we analyze that transformation, we also advance a broader claim: we argue that the very categories of public and private need to be conceptualized as a collection of culturally specific social practices, rather than as bounded realms.

This project began as a SSHRC-funded workshop and is now continuing as an ongoing collaborative project including scholars from the universities of McMaster, Waterloo, Toronto, Maryland, and UC-Irvine.