Politics is all about the allocation of resources and the shaping of society by collective decisions, in short, the question of who gets what, when and how. Political science is the scientific study of politics and political processes in the broadest sense. Central to the discipline, however, are questions concerning the functioning of democracy and its challenges; issues of ideology, power and distribution; the development and role of political parties; as well as the design, performance and outcome of societal decision-making processes under different institutional conditions at the global, national and local levels.
Political science is a long since established academic discipline, and covers a wide range of research topics. At Luleå University of Technology, research in political science focuses mainly on topics related to the politics and governance of natural resources; energy and the environment, with a particular focus on how the challenges surrounding these issues are dealt with by individuals, interest groups and the political as well as administrative system. The process of environmental decision-making is often conflict-ridden, as different actors have different understandings of how resources are used and managed for the future. For a political scientist, the potential topics of research are therefore abundant, and at LTU we study, for example: How are environmental disputes and settlements of various kinds handled? What is the significance of institutions for an efficient and equitable resource management? Which policy instruments are perceived as reliable in the work towards a more sustainable society?
People's values, attitudes and behavior, as well as the organization and governance of society are important explanatory factors. Policy-, institutional- and network analysis constitute other key perspectives in our research. We strive to have a distinct international and applied profile, and maintain a broad national and international network in our research. Interdisciplinary collaborations are mainly pursued with scholars from economics; jurisprudence; and history of technology, but interactions with academic disciplines from the engineering/natural sciences are increasingly common.