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Antwerp Centre for Institutions and Multi-Level Politics (ACIM)

Research Group

Lifecycle:1 Oct 2003 →  Today
Organisation profile:ACIM's main focus of study is the impact of multi-level institutional configurations on changes in government and governance, policies and politics, and state-society relations. Typical for contemporary politics is its 'multilevelness'. This concept refers to the fact that interest representation, policymaking processes and accountability relations are no longer primarily confined to one single jurisdiction, i.e. the nation-state, but that political issues increasingly belong to multiple venues and may shift from one venue to another. The overarching starting point for ACIM is that during the past decades, institutional arrangements have been in a state of flux, meaning that many policy areas and government sectors seem to be in a state of permanent reform trying to adapt to all sorts of external pressures. Terms such as Europeanization, federalization or devolution, governance, privatization, globalization and so on, all refer to the broad array of institutional changes contemporary politics is undergoing. The growing importance of the EU as a supranational layer of governance, the regionalization of Belgium and devolution elsewhere in Europe, the increasing importance of international policy regimes are all concrete manifestations of these trends. We thus conceive of the multi-layered institutional context as one with multiple actors who compete and cooperate in order to shape public policymaking and who may shift from one venue to another in order to realize their political objectives. How this institutional context affects the nature of politics will make up the core of our research program. With respect to its disciplinary focus, ACIM will pursue an agenda that bridges the sub-disciplines of comparative politics, international relations and international political economy, covering EU politics, multilevel decision-making, non-state actors and interest groups in European, US and international politics, the latter especially in the field of trade and regulatory politics. Institutions, political organizations and multi-levelness are the key concepts that drive the research plan. ACIM will structure its research projects in three research lines, namely the politics of multi-level government, the politics of interest representation, and regulatory and judicial politics.
Disciplines:Other economics and business, Applied sociology, Citizenship, immigration and political inequality, International and comparative politics, Multilevel governance, National politics, Political behaviour, Political organisations and institutions, Political theory and methodology, Public administration, Other political science