Governance and Culture in Europe

The goal of the Center for Governance and Culture in Europe (GCE-HSG) is twofold: to raise the profile of interdisciplinary European research at the University of St. Gallen and to foster international collaboration with like-minded research institutions across Europe. Our research on governance systems and cultures addresses forms and patterns of interaction in which a variety of public and private actors shape public policy making and societal behavior in general.

Europe has changed dramatically since the mid-twentieth century. In the west, early strides towards mutual understanding have significantly contributed to peaceful cooperation and common prosperity. The disintegration of the Communist systems led to a heterogeneous situation: the forms of government range from speedy EU integration to the fallback into authoritarian rule. At the same time recent processes (e.g. the financial and the refugee crises in the EU or the wars in Georgia and in the Ukraine) have strikingly highlighted both the fragility of the developed structures within the European Union and the importance of securing a peaceful resolution to political conflicts on the continent. And yet, the fact that with the exception of the authoritarian regime in Belarus all 47 European countries from Azerbaijan to Iceland and from Portugal to Russia (untill 25 February 2022) are members of the Council of Europe indicates a broad interest between states and societies across Europe to communicate and to cooperate.

As processes of globalization, liberalization, and Europeanization unfold, the cooperation between state and private actors in governing the social systems of production in contemporary capitalism is also evolving. In this context, a major trend is that enterprises are gaining ever more influence in the governance of the various subsystems of society, such as education and training, industrial relations, or financial and taxation systems. However, little is known about the way in which states and intermediary actors, like business and labor associations, may remain capable of placing beneficial constraints on enterprises to encourage them to cooperate with each other and, in turn, partly transcend individual profit-maximization to also contribute to societal goals.

The various projects carried out within the GCE-HSG explore the abovementioned social, economic, political, governmental and cultural developments from a theory-based, interdisciplinary and comparative perspective.