GIGA Research Profile
The GIGA is one of Europe's leading research institutes for area studies and comparative area studies. It combines research on political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with innovative comparative approaches along cross-cutting themes. The GIGA connects the strengths of area and country-specific knowledge and in-depth field research with cutting-edge theoretical and methodological approaches from the disciplinary fields of political science, international relations, economics, sociology, and related disciplines.
Research at the GIGA takes place within a matrix structure, consisting of four regional institutes and four thematic research programmes. All researchers are simultaneously based in one regional institute and participate in at least one research programme. The research projects of the GIGA are developed in the research programmes, while the regional institutes provide "empirical grounding" and facilitate interdisciplinary networking in the area studies communities. This structure guarantees the continuous exchange of ideas and knowledge and stimulates the institute's research.
Comparative Area Studies (CAS)
In its research the GIGA is guided by the conviction that Comparative Area Studies (CAS) – defined as a scholarly field of study that combines the regional focus and expertise of area studies with the explicit use of comparative methods – are the appropriate means to generate both:
a) Contributions to broader disciplinary and theoretical debates.
b) Insights into the cases.
The vast majority of GIGA's research projects takes, therefore, a comparative perspective – either within the region in question (intra-regional comparisons) or between different world regions (inter- and cross-regional comparisons). The comparative approach is not restricted to a particular number of cases (paired, small-, medium-, or large-N) and may equally include various units of analysis (national, sub-national or supra-national entities) …more
The GIGA-initiated CAS Networks have a special role to play in the further development of Comparative Area Studies and international networking. Financed by funding from the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (SAW Procedure of the Leibniz Association), the Institute coordinates two international networks – "Regional Powers Network" (RPN) and "Institutions for Sustainable Peace" (ISP):
Regional Powers Network (RPN)
The Regional Powers Network (RPN) was established by the GIGA, the University of Hamburg, the University of Oxford and the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) Paris. Since 2008, a series of conferences, workshops and publications have led to the creation of an international scholars' network in the field of emerging and regional powers research. The RPN emphasises in particular the role of regional powers in intra-regional, inter-regional, cross-regional and global contexts. The conferences addressed questions such as 'Ideas, Interests, Resources and Strategies of Regional Powers', 'Regional Powers and Global Order' and 'Regional Powers and Regional Orders' ... more
Institutions for Sustainable Peace (ISP)
The network Institutions for Sustainable Peace (ISP) was established by the GIGA, PRIO (Oslo), the Graduate Institute (Geneva), SOAS (London) and the Uppsala University (Department of Peace and Conflict Research) in 2012. It brings together international specialists on institutions in divided and post-war societies with diverse theoretical and methodological backgrounds. The aims of the network are to intensify cooperation, to institutionalize the exchange of ideas, to develop an integrated analytical approach to the institutional challenges in divided societies in different world regions, and to provide practitioners with advice on which institutional choices can best deal with which conflict risks in divided societies ... more
Comparative Area Studies are also the focus of a special CAS Lecture Series, which features lectures by renowned scientists from both home and abroad. Workshops and conferences, along with the hosting of visiting researchers who are working with a CAS focus, complement these activities. 2013 will see the inaugural CAS Award for the best journal article published in the field of Comparative Area Studies. The award ceremony will take place during an international conference in Hamburg in April 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GIGA.
Further CAS Activities at GIGA
GIGA Research Plan
The annually published research plan gives a detailed overview of the research activities of the GIGA.
Projects included in the 2013 research plan.
GIGA Research Plan: 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006
The findings of research done at the GIGA are primarily published in renowned international journals, as well as monographs or edited volumes with prestigious publishers.
The GIGA Working Papers series makes available, as a "work in progress", research results in manuscript format before their actual publication, in order to promote further scientific discussion.
The GIGA Focus series presents research findings to decision-makers in the domains of politics, economics, society and the media, as well as to the general public.
The GIGA Journal Family offers, by way of its four open access publications, a forum in which scientific debate can take place in each of the respective scientific communities.
The cooperation projects are published together with international partners: Africa Yearbook, Korea Yearbook and Iberoamericana.
The GIGA convenes its own workshops and conferences, organizes sections or panels as part of international conferences, hosts events along with associations and conducts joint events with numerous different partners. An overview of the GIGA events can be found here.
Transfer of Knowledge
The GIGA pursues – in line with the motto of the Leibniz Association "Theoria cum Praxi" – the research-based transfer of knowledge to decision-makers in the domains of politics, economics, society and the media, as well as to the general public. An overview of the activities of the GIGA can be found here.