It was at the 8th World Congress, held in Munich in 1970, that IPSA decided to institutionalize research activities in political science throughout the world. It did so by officially setting up research committees (RC). This move may be regarded as a timely recognition of the need but also the opportunity for political scientists working in particular sub-fields of the discipline to associate with colleagues from their own and from other continents in the pursuit of their research. Between 1970 and 1976, 14 RC were established, signaling that IPSA had indeed responded to a growing demand among IPSA members. Between 1976 and 1999, a large number of research group were established; many of them subsequently moved up to RC status following the 1999 Executive Committee decision. At present, IPSA has recognized 49 RCs. Between World Congresses, the RCs – largely as a result of the rapid growth in both their numbers and in the size of individual memberships – contribute more than any other body to the activity and achievements of IPSA.
In the IPSA statutes, the objectives of RC are spelled out as follows:
- Develop research in political science, especially work based on international co-operation;
- Organize and maintain personal contacts among political scientists with common interests;
- Disseminate information and publish scholarly research;
- Provide a framework between individuals and organizations concerned with teaching and research in political and other social sciences.
Each committee is cross-national in membership, and its affairs are managed, subject to general IPSA guidelines, by an executive board consisting of IPSA members. Each RC is required to organize at least one meeting between World Congresses, and also needs to organize a minimum of two panels at each World Congress. One must be an independently organized panel. The second may be a joint session, co-organized with other RCs or sub-sections of national political science associations. Possible further panels are free of rules.
Membership of RCs is open to all individual members of IPSA and to all members of national associations affiliated to IPSA as collective members. The former may ask to be put in touch with particular RCs by so indicating on their IPSA membership form. Others may join by contacting the chairs of the committees in question (see the complete list).
RC Liaison Representative
To help RCs interact, and to improve their role in allowing them to be heard in the overall IPSA context, a special Executive sub-committee known as the Committee on Research and Training (CRT) monitoring the activities of RCs was set up in 1979, and the office of Research Committees Liaison Representative was created in 2000. Michael Stein was the first RC Liaison Representative for two terms (2000-2006). Rainer Eisfeld (University of Osnabrueck, Germany) was the representative the next two terms (2006-2012) and Christ’l De Landtsheer (University of Antwerp, Belgium) followed with anoither two terms (2012-2016). Present RC Liaison Representative, elected in 2016 at the Poznan World Congress, is Christian Haerpfer (University of Vienna, Austria).
Further information on IPSA RCs may also be obtained from the current RC Liaison Representative:
Prof. Christian Haerpfer (firstname.lastname@example.org)