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Workshop | "Ontology and Methodology - challenges for theory and practice in International Relations and Comparative Area Studies" (29 November 2012, Hamburg)

International Workshop at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Thursday 29 November 2012, hosted by the Hamburg International Graduate School for the Study of Regional Powers (HIGS) in cooperation with the University of Hamburg. Speakers are amongst others Patrick T. Jackson, Benjamin Herborth, Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Annika Mattissek and Georg Glasze.

How can discussions on philosophy of science and ontology facilitate more plurality in the discipline, and how do we transmit these issues into concrete empirical research in order to open up new perspectives on global politics? With this initial question the international workshop, hosted by the Hamburg International Graduate School for the Study of Regional Powers (HIGS) in cooperation with the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and the University of Hamburg, aims to discuss challenges of bridging theory and practice at the interplay of International Relations as well as Global and Comparative Area Studies, especially with regard to research on and in the ‘non-Western’ world.

The workshop will be divided into two main sections followed by a concluding roundtable. In the first section (9am-12.30), Patrick T. Jackson and Benjamin Herborth address questions related to ontology and philosophy of science such as: What do we actually mean when speaking of ‘ontology’ in relation to IR-theory? or Do we imply certain ‘scientific standards’ by advocating particular philosophical/theoretical viewpoints? Chris Methmann and Delf Rothe discuss the implementation of ‘scientific standards’ into research practice. In the second section (2pm- 5.30pm), Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Georg Glasze and Annika Mattissek focus more explicitly on the relationship between theory and practice e.g. questions of methodology and methods. How do we account for coherence between theory and methods and how rigorously defined should methods be? or How to account for ‘scientific standards’ when confronted with limited access to information? The concluding roundtable (5.30pm-6.30pm) will serve to wrap up the sections coming back to the initial question of the workshop and connect it to GIGA’s research agenda.


The workshop is open to the public. Registrations until 23 Nov. to:

Contact person: Maren Hoepfner (GIGA): •, • Organization: Nadine Godehardt (GIGA), Maren Hoepfner (GIGA), Nicola Nymalm (GIGA), Stefanie Wodrig (GIGA)

You may download the conference program here.


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