My main field of interest lies in political, constitutional and military history, political theory and philosophy, comparative research on democracy and dictatorship, and identity studies, respectively. My scholarly work has focused on the following subject matters:
- 1. Transfer and Reception of Constitutional Ideas and Practices “ in Post-Napoleonic Europe
Research on transnational constitutional transfer and reception is still in its infancy. Against this background, the aim of my own studies has been to highlight the practical importance of constitutional “exchange processes” for post-Napoleonic constitutionalism in Europe. In particular, I have been analysing the actual “model-effect” of the French Charte constitutionnelle as a prototype of “monarchical constitutionalism” by focusing on three aspects: first, the de facto meaning of monarchical constitutionalism for various European states as compared to other constitutional “models”; second, constitutional transfer and reception in practice; and third, to what extent the constitutional realities in different monarchical constitutional states constitutional realities were comparable.
By applying the tools of “new political history” and based on findings both of comparative history and (intercultural) transfer research, the concrete relevance of the French “model” for Europe has been reinterpreted, hence providing an analytical basis to determine further the character, possibilities and limits of constitutional transfer and reception on a more general level.
As a result, contemporary concepts of “constitutional models” and “transnational take-overs” have been questioned and the need to rethink the field of constitutional history has been highlighted, both with regard to methodology and content.
- 2. Fundamentalism as a “Modern, Anti-Modern Utopia”
Fundamentalism has become a key area of international research, especially since the events of 9/11, which suddenly made the interrelationship between politics and religion a topic of public discourse. Nevertheless, there is still a significant “blind spot” in research on fundamentalism, for while the interrelationship between “modern age” and contemporary fundamentalism is considered to be of great importance, detailed enquiries have hitherto failed to be carried out. Thus, the objective of my research has been to follow up the discussion on the relationship between politics and religion, to investigate fundamentalism as a phenomenon of civilisation, and to underline its roots in the “project of modernity”.
Based on my critical analysis of the western modernisation-paradigm, which has focused on the “dogma of secularisation”, fundamentalism proves to be not only an economic and political phenomenon in the narrower sense, but also an intellectual and cultural one rooted in movements and trends to be summarised under the term “modern age”.
Results prove the eminent political-ideological character of religious-fundamentalist movements. While it goes without saying that there are clear distinctions between “fundamentalisms” in various cultures and religions, such “fundamentalisms” share a common nucleus. This nucleus is paradoxically represented by Jacobin and totalitarian capacities generated by the so-called “great revolutions” and the succeeding totalitarian regimes as expressions of radical worldly gnosis. Accordingly, fundamentalism becomes a highly ambivalent phenomenon: a form of “modern anti-modernism”, which has to be interpreted as the second “total rebellion” against the destruction of the cosmological myth after the political religions of the 20th century.
- 3. “Caesarism” and “Democratic Dictatorship” in the 19th and 20th century
- 4. European Identity and Historical Memory
- 5. Science, Numbers and Politics