Department: ZEF A

ZEF A: Department of Political and Cultural Change

The scientific team of the department "Political and Cultural Change" builds on expertise from various disciplines, such as human geography, social anthropology, sociology, political sciences, history, development studies, as well as on law and planning. While research themes and regions vary because they depend on the current composition of researchers and ongoing projects, our empirical work is characterized by interdisciplinary social science research carried out at various scales. We usually focus on the local scale where we use mainly qualitative studies and complement them with quantitative methods.

Our department publishes a book series: ZEF Development Studies.

Our department hosts the head office of the Right Livelihood College.

Our department hosts the working group "ZEF in the City".  Its members contribute to the ZEF research theme "Mobility, migration and urbanization". Read our flyer for some of the on-going urban research projects. » Flyer

Department Competencies


Institutions can be singled out as an important reason why certain societies follow particular trajectories or why so many development policies 


Many governments put the creation of ‘knowledge-based economies’ or ‘knowledge societies’ on the top of their political agenda. 

Social and Cultural Change and Adaptation

ZEF studies ‘social and cultural change’ as part of larger, socio-economic, and environmental change processes such as climate change and in close connection to ZEF's research