Because of modern society’s globalization, the roles of power, the nature of social problems and the influence of commercial industry and business is changing. Anthropologists, governance scientists, organizational scientists, political scientists and sociologists examine these changes and the reaction to them on regional, national, international and international scale.
Cross-cultural collaboration in organizations
In a globalizing and increasingly networked society, cross-cultural interactions concentrate within such sites as a company merger, a multinational, an international NGO or international projects. Organizational ethnographers prof.dr. Alfons van Marrewijk and dr. Sierk Ybema investigate such situations of intense and often strenuous cross-boundary collaboration and conflict. They explore, for instance, how managers and staff with different nationalities of a multinational experience cultural differences, and how members collaborate in an international mega-project, such as the expansion of the Panama canal or the North-South metro line in Amsterdam. The subject is highly topical in a globalising world in which we are increasingly expected to work together across national and organizational boundaries.
The Chinese around the world
Prof. Pál Nyiri, professor 'History in anthropological perspective', investigates how Chinese entrepreneurs adapt and influence the societies they live in, for instance in Southeast Asia, Africa and East Europe. Nyiri conducts his research within the research programme of Social and Cultural Anthropology: Constructing Human Security in a Globalizing World. What can be said of the found differences and similarities in our understanding of how China is positioned in the world and what could be a desirable future prospect? Nyiri furthermore analyses the role of migration in Chinese nationalism and the practice of development aid. He started his research of Chinese migrants almost twenty years ago, at a time in which Chinese entrepreneurs were just beginning to leave China to start clothes shops in Eastern Europe. Since then, he broadened his research focus to include migration. An article in the New York Times refers to Nyiri’s blog about China’s export of development aid: "With Aid and Migrants, China Expands Its Presence in a South American Nation".
Border crossing police collaboration
We cannot neglect Brussels now that European agreements have made border crossing police collaboration mandatory for our national legislation. Thus states Professor in Comparative Public Administration, Monica den Boer. One of her research specialties is the internationalization of the police. Although there is increasing collaboration between German, Belgian and Dutch Police corps along the Dutch border, it is also imperative that more information be exchanged as to effectively fight criminality, protect victims, suspend drivers’ licenses and gather evidence.
In the research programme "New Public Governance", VU University Governance Studies' researchers examine how the collaboration proceeds, but also how the wishes of the police departments are taken into account in the decision making process. It is of the utmost importance that the decision making process takes place in the public arena and that the national police forces can trust each other. This adds to a greater support for international collaboration.
Globalization and development
What is the impact of economical and political globalization on local development? To find an answer Prof. dr. Heidi Dahles brought in a substantial NWO subsidy for an international research project, in which two postdoctoral fellows and six PhD students from The Netherlands and Cambodia work together. Their Cambodia Research Group focuses on Cambodia, a post-conflict country that can be characterized by weak economic and political institutions with strong foreign interests. The research group examines local and international NGO’s, Chinese and South Korean investments, patronage between the Cambodian state and foreign investors, returning migrant entrepreneurship, institutional entrepreneurship and the revitalization of the Chinese business community in Cambodia. The research is part of the research programme of Organizational Sciences: Organizations and Processes of Organizing in Society.
Changes in the global environment
Worldwide environmental change has become one of the most urgent issues for policymakers at every level of the decision making process, from local governments to global politics. The Amsterdam Global Change Institute (AGCI) uses environmental sciences, ecology, climate sciences, spatial economics and political science strategies to make global environment policies more effective. A group of researchers at the Department of Political Sciences – Professors Frank Biermann, Liesbeth Hooghe, Gary Marks and Henk Overbeek – is involved with the institute. They analyze, as part of the research programme of Political Sciences: Multi-layered governance in Europe and beyond, how the decision making concerning environmental issues is formed, whether the process is efficient and which administrative processes influence it. They ask questions like: Is the current process legally valid, just and reasonable? Who is accountable and to whom must they answer? What is the democratic quality of the boards? The emphasis is on the approach to global changes in the environment and the adjustments of the inevitable consequences. The AGCI plays a central role in the research efforts of the VU, has s strong international orientation and takes part in major global research programmes like the "Earth System Governance Project".
Social movements in times of democratic changes
In recent history many social movements have fought for societal change mainly in South America, Africa, Asia and in the northern hemisphere. When society actually becomes more democratic, social change movements stand at a crossroads of how to go on. Many times there is little room because the voters drop their support for the movement, or the leaders take up administrative functions of their own. There are several options after that: support can decline, radicalize, or the movement revitalizes.
Professor in Applied Social Psychology Bert Klandermans examines how social change movements react when the moment for which they fought, has been achieved. In his book "The State of the People" Klandermans discusses how the South Africans reacted to the transition to democratic society and what it brought them. The research is part of the research program of Sociology: Participation in Society.