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Institutions, Norms and Behavior

Institutions, societal norms and human behavior are strongly interrelated and delineate the thematic framework of this Research Priority Area. Researchers from the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Business Management and Economics, the Faculty of Human Sciences and the Faculty of Catholic Theology investigate these interrelations from various angles. To highlight the potential of this Research Priority Area, exemplary current and planned research projects from the participating faculties are showcased below.    

The basic concept of modern liberal law rests on the assumption, that the social and ecological consequences of economic actions are represented by the legal relationships. This is addressed by various research projects within the Focus Area Social and Sustainable Institutions of the Faculty of Law at JMU. In close connection to the Research Priority Area Global Challenges, this Focus Area investigates questions regarding the transition to renewable energy (Energiewende) and climate protection. Moreover, the need to newly adjust the boundaries of private and public law, e.g. in relation to concepts such as “sharing economy” or “circular economy”, is another research topic within this research area.

Another Focus Area at the Faculty of Law concerns itself with Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Mechanisms of Dispute Resolution. From a historical, theoretical and comparative perspective, researchers investigate the secular changes of western legal norms induced by socio-economic change, trans-nationalization, and internationalization, which fundamentally call the ideal-typical model of law enforcement into question.      

Digitalization, an increased application of AI-based technologies, and globalization pose new questions for jurisprudence. The Focus Area Administration and Administration Law in Times of Digitalization, Economization and Internationalization of the Faculty of Law, therefore, concerns itself with the challenges, which Administration and Administration Law will face in the future decade.

Researches within the Focus Area Liberty, Security and Law in Times of Digitalization and Globalization concern themselves with questions regarding the digital transformation of jurisprudence. Issues such as criminal accountability as well as the disregard of intellectual property, but also the protection of national security interests as well as cybercrime and its criminal prosecution, are the focus of this research topic.   

The Focus Area Money and Finance of the Faculty of Business Management and Economics investigates changes within the monetary and financial system. The aim thereby is to develop science-based policy recommendations, which take into account micro- and macro-economic dimensions and their interaction. While this research focus mainly contributes to the Research Priority Area Institutions, Norms and Behavior, it also adds significantly to the Research Priority Areas Digitality, Data Science and Algorithms and Global Challenges.  

Human beings are by nature “made” for life in social communities. Within the Research Area Social Behavior, scientists from the Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Human Sciences, for example, investigate the hypothesis, that evolutionary selection has led to the development of psychological processes, which facilitate life in social communities. Research topics include the basic mechanisms of behavior control in connection with successful coordination among humans as well as mechanisms leading to preferential detection of social signals by humans, and the cognitive and biological bases of moral reactions.  

In the Focus Area Psychological Health in Educational Settings at the Faculty of Human Sciences, psychologists, pedagogues and experts of human-computer interactions, together with psychiatrists and epidemiologists from the Faculty of Medicine, address preventative measures to reduce psychological problems in educational-pedagogical settings.

In the Focus Area Diversity at the Faculty of Human Sciences, scientists from the political sciences and sociology, evangelical theology, special education, psychology, and pedagogy come together, to address questions regarding the implementation of equal opportunity strategies and the compensation of social inequality. The overarching aim thereby is, to develop strategies, based on empirical studies, which contribute to the reduction of inequality in various aspects of life and to use social diversity to promote social development.  

Over the last two millennia, Christianity has contributed significantly to the development of institutions, norms and behavior in Europe. In historical theology, scholars from the Faculty of Catholic Theology apply approaches based on interaction theory and structuralism. Approaches based on interaction theory concern for example the relationship between political and religious authority in relation to political, social, economic, clerical and religious developments. The relationship between church, state, science and society since enlightenment is analyzed with a focus on processes of secularization and catholic reactions to these processes. Female catholic writers in the “Modernist Crisis” as well as the role of catholic theology and the church during the “Third Reich” are further examples of research topics in this this Research Priority Area.