The main research activities of the Chair refer to the political system, political culture and society of China. In recent years, the focus lies on political, institutional, and social change; local governance; participation and elections; agents of change and strategic groups (entrepreneurs, farmers, ethnic minorities, etc.); political culture; nationality policy; social deviation and corruption.
Current Research Projects
A French-German Joint Cooperation Project sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the French L’Agence Nationale De La Recherche (ANR). (2016-2019). The leading scientists in this research endeavor are Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer of the University of Duisburg-Essen and Prof. Dr. Brigitte Geissel of the Goethe University Frankfurt, as well as Prof. Yves Sintomer of the Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris (CRESPPA) and Frau Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal of the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS) Paris.
Previous Research Projects
Thomas Heberer and Gunter Schubert (University of Tübingen): Local governance in China: The Interaction of two Strategic Groups – local cadres and private entrepreneurs funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (until 2016)
This project was part of the competence network “Governance in China: Prerequisites, Constraints and Potentials for Political Adaption and Innovation Capacity in the 21st Century” funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) between 2010 and 2016, and in cooperation with Prof. B. Alpermann (Würzburg) and Prof. H. Holbig (Frankfurt and Hamburg).
Thomas Heberer and Gunter Schubert (University of Tübingen): Local governance in China: The Interaction of two Strategic Groups – local cadres and private entrepreneurs funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (until 2016) This project was part of the competence network “Governance in China: Prerequisites, Constraints and Potentials for Political Adaption and Innovation...
Any substantial assessment of China’s state capacity cannot be undertaken without a careful analysis of the local state. County and township cadres are of utmost importance here – a fact which has rarely been researched so far.
Prof. Dr. Dieter Grunow and Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Collaboration with Prof. Dr. Yu Keping, China Center of Comparative Economics and Politics - A Policy Advisory Project
The follow-up project intends to scrutinize local administrative acting (or non-acting) in the domain of environmental issues. A comparison with German policies shall facilitate to learn from the experiences of an advanced country and its underlying concepts. Three case studies in Northeast, East and Central China will be conducted.
This project focused on local administration and encompassed a comparison of administrative reforms both in China and Germany. Two case studies were conducted in each country: one in an urban area and one in a rural township.
This project revolved around the issues of participation, elections, legitimacy, and social stability in rural and urban areas in China. It was jointly conducted by Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Prof. Dr. Gunter Schubert (University of Tuebingen). Whereas Schubert has focused on rural areas, Heberer has concentrated on urban neighbourhood communities.
The vantage point of the research project lead by by Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer and Dr. Claudia Derichs was the question of the political dimension of the so-called “Asian crisis”. This “Asian crisis” is by now mostly overcome. Yet the fact remains that debates and discourses on processes of political reform and change in East and Southeast Asia are hardly realized and only marginally recognized in “the West”. This is all the more regrettable because this debate is highly diverse and bears a much stronger dynamic than commonly assumed in the Western discussion. In shaping the politics of change, ideas play an important role. However, this role of ideas in politics and policy-making has been somewhat neglected in the social sciences.