Research Clusters within the Department

Authoritarian Politics

Much of the international public rhetoric of the last decade of the 20th century concerned the victory of democracy internationally. But one of the most striking characteristics of the contemporary world is the continuing prevalence of authoritarian regimes. The Authoritarian Politics cluster investigates questions like how and why they survive, what sorts of institutional structures and processes do they use to rule, how effective are they as economic managers, and what place do they occupy on the international stage?

Cluster coordinator: Professor Graeme Gill

Australian Politics

Concerned with advancing empirical research on the political life of Australia, this cluster focuses on both contemporary developments as well as maintaining a critical engagement with analytical approaches to the study of power in our country. The Department brings together scholars with interests in Australian political institutions, parties and elections, social movements and public opinion, corruption and scandals, media, and public policy.

Cluster Coordinator: Dr Anika Gauja

Electoral Integrity

This research cluster focuses around an ARC-funded Laureate research project which seeks to address three main questions:

-When do elections meet international standards of electoral integrity?
-What happens when elections fail to do so?
-And what can be done to mitigate these problems?

The Project is an independent academic study with a research team based at the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For more details, see about this project .

Cluster coordinator:
Professor Pippa Norris

Environmental Politics: National and International Dimensions

The Department brings together a number of researchers interested in the politics of the environment from a variety of national and international perspectives. Examples of environmental-related interests and projects include the relationship between science and policy-making, the politics of natural resource management (with regards to fisheries, whaling and marine protected areas in particular), the greening of international financial institutions, the politics of car and climate change, the relationship between capitalism, environmental degradation and private property, green party politics and the role of social movements.

Cluster coordinator: Prof David Schlosberg

Media and Politics

This research cluster focuses on the study of our increasingly mediatised society and the impacts of these process on the conduct of politics. The cluster includes an interest in research on political communication (the use of communications tools by political participants), media politics (the politics of media institutions, and media sociology), and the way in which individuals, groups and movements employ a variety of media for self-representation, meaning-making and persuasion. The cluster includes interests in established mass and select media, as well as emerging media technologies and practices.

Cluster members participate in organising the OMG! (Online Media Group) series of scholarly talks. This network of researchers can be found at fillmeupwith.info

Cluster Coordinator: Dr Peter John Chen

Public Policy

The Public Policy Research Cluster is committed to advancing cutting edge theory based on policy relevant empirically grounded research. The range of projects currently being undertaken by members of the Cluster reflect the diversity and eclecticism of the discipline at large, including topics as diverse as the policymaking process, crisis and disaster management, network governance theory, political participation and multilevel governance, as well as sector specific research in areas such as migration, marine policy and the role of the media. These projects are underpinned by strong collaborative relationships with other universities both here in Australia and overseas as well as ongoing links with the government and non-government sectors, including the Federal Attorney General’s Department, the Cabinet Office (UK) and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Past and present research projects have also been supported by external funding bodies, including the Australian Research Council and the Australian Emergency Management Institute.

Cluster coordinator: Dr Paul Fawcett & Prof Allan McConnell