Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy

Political Management group

Anders la Cour / Anna Leander / Charlotte Biel / Dorthe Pedersen / Erik Højbjerg / Holger Højlund / Poul Fritz Kjær / Justine Grønbæk Pors / Mathilde Hjerrild Carlsen / Marie Ryberg Larsen / Mitchell Dean / Niels Thygesen / Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen / Stine Hald / Mads Peter Karlsen / Marie Sundby Palle / Laura Macguire / Benedikte Brincker / Martin Friis Nielsen / Eileen Murphy


The political management group is an interdisciplinary political and social science research group crossing political science, sociology and international relations. What is defined as political is not a special set of institutions or sector, but an aspect (often involving power and conflict) found in any social sphere, including management and organization practices, and in international and national governmental and non-governmental organizations. The mission of the politics group is to observe and analyze the political in organizations, in management practice, in economic reasoning, and forms of rule, whether these occur in the public, private or voluntary sectors or their inter-relations. Our focus is not on a given set of organizations, but on how boundaries between logics and social fields are put at stake by ways of managing and governing and by forms of economic and political rationality. These boundaries can, for example, be public/private, government/citizen, organization/employee, work/play, public/volunteer, national/international, or secular/religious. We engage with the continuous making and remaking of the discursive and non-discursive conditions of the political, analyzing how changes in these conditions puts at stake fundamental assumptions and values. We analyze management in society but also how society is put at stake in management.

The group strives for a diagnostic perspective on the political, governance and management. This perspective has at least two consequences. First, it is a way to engage in society, not primarily through productions of solutions, but by offering alternative self-descriptions and alternative understandings of major challenges of public governance. Second, the diagnostic perspective forces us to become very empirical and very theoretical at the same time, constantly developing new analytical strategies making our work counterintuitive with high sensitivity to societal changes and abilities to produce insight into the contingencies of transformations in public management, law and state, across domestic and international domains.


Political corporations
How private companies are woven into politically-oriented networks to fulfil specific governmental aims and objectives and how they are expected to act responsibly in relation to society or civil society.  The private sphere appears as both a means and an object of governing.

Political construction of markets
How techniques of competitive tendering, contractualization, outsourcing and partnerships are used to construct new markets in areas of formerly public sector provision, from welfare to security and the military.

Welfare management
How classical welfare institutions such as the public school, nursery homes and social institutions are granted forms of autonomy and managerial responsibility while at the same time being managed from a distance by public sector organizations and what the implications are for the character and quality of service provision.  

Management of voluntary organizations
How the public sector increasingly makes partnerships and contracts with voluntary organizations in order to solve welfare tasks. How this challenges voluntary organizations in relation to management and their volunteer status.

Political management technologies and forms of practice
How new forms of management and governmental technologies emerge and are deployed. How this makes possible new forms of visibility and invisibility in the delineation of problems. How these technologies are linked to new rationalities of public management.

Human development and management
How citizens and employees are expected to be self-managing. The technologies employed by which they can manage themselves and be managed. How does freedom become in some sense a duty or obligation? How is self-management managed? What kinds of power-relations are entangled in self-management?

Public management
How contemporary public sector reform and governance regimes shape managerial and professional spaces and identities. How the boundaries and identities of politics and administration, politics and professional management, management and welfare profession change. What is the ‘public’ in public management? What are the consequences of observing public management as hybrid and distributed practices formed around varying values and identities?

School and education management
How governance in education is changing. Through discourse analyses, historical analyses and ethnographic studies, we study how the government of education is given new shape by recent reforms; how the governmental relations in education have been transformed historically and how this affects concrete school management, professional practices and ideas of the role of education in society. How what it means to “reform” and “manage” in education has changed, and how engagements with innovation, big data, inclusion and interdisciplinarity are affecting the forms of government in the school. 

Civic entrepreneurship
How the sectors of public government, civil society and voluntary organizations are being reshaped by problematics of entrepreneurship. How the civic entrepreneur emerges as a distinctive persona within contemporary political and managerial landscapes.

Contemporary analytical and theoretical paradigms in social, political and organization studies
Key concepts and frameworks of analysis of contemporary political, governmental and organizational transformations including those drawn from systems theory, science and technology studies, continental philosophy, post-structuralism, and political theology.

Research Director:
Professor Mitchell Dean


Politics Group

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy // 04/05/2019