Find us on Twitter!

Established in 2015                                      Current members: 289

Political concepts play a key role in political science: they serve in describing, interpreting, analyzing, explaining, and understanding its objects of study. Concepts serve as analytical categories, but are often objects of study themselves. It is a key insight of conceptual history that political concepts are not stable, they do not have fixed meanings.  Rather, they are themselves controversial and contested, with conceptual changes often emerging from political processes themselves. Thus, concepts are pivots, factors and indicators of political and social changes.

This Standing Group focuses on the role of political concepts in political science in all possible respects, namely in their function both as analytical categories and as objects of political controversies. Such an approach is important for nearly all the sub-disciplines of political science. The Standing Group is therefore open to scholars from all sub-disciplines sharing a focal interest in the role of political concepts.

Aims & Objectives

The primary aim is to maintain a network and stable setting for Conceptual Research within the framework of ECPR. This group connects a broad network of scholars whose work is related to the role of political concepts and/or the issues of conceptual change. It also serves as a forum for intellectual exchange between researchers from all political science sub-disciplines and neighboring disciplines, such as history and cultural studies.


– Maintaining a website with general information on the SG and regular updates on its activities.

– Keeping members in touch and distributing relevant info (CfP, Jobs, Publications) through a bi-monthly Newsletter and mailing list.

– Organizing or supporting sections/panels/workshops at ECPR, IPSA and other large international events.

– Organizing independent international workshops and conferences.

– Encouraging and facilitating joint project applications and publication activities.

– Contributing to research trainings and summer schools in the field of political concepts, in cooperation with the existing History of Concepts Group and the CONCEPTA doctoral school


The Standing Group is run by a team, including a Chair and three Steering Committee members, representing different EU countries and universities. The team meets at least once a year at the ECPR General Conference. Each member of the Standing Group can suggest events to be carried out on behalf of the Group, if they are approved by the Steering Committee.


Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences)

Steering Committee:

Anthoula Malkopoulou (Uppsala University) (for the website)

Elena Garcia-Guitián (Autonomus University of Madrid)

Taru Happala (Autonomus University of Madrid)

How to become a member of the Standing Group

If you would like to join the Political Concepts Standing Group, you will need an ECPR account. If you do not have one already, you can create an account for free in only a few minutes at

You do not need to be from an ECPR member institution to do so.

After logging in, click on the following link, and select ‘Join Standing Group’.

If you are from an ECPR member institution your membership to the SG is automatic.  If you are from a non-member institution we will need to accept your application to join, so your membership status will be ‘pending’ until we accept you.


Please also notice that membership to all Standing Groups is now annual, running per calendar year. You will therefore be asked to renew your membership in January each year. This is the same process as joining, and only takes one click of a button.