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 the book series ZEF Development Studies and hosts the head office of the Right Livelihood College. ZEF a hosts the working group "ZEF in the City".  Its members contribute to the ZEF research theme "Mobility, migration and urbanization".

Acting Director

PD Dr. Eva Youkhana


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