This multidisciplinary area of research focuses on the transformations that occur in philosophical, ethical and political concepts as well as in political institutions and participation opportunities over the history of civilisations and in today’s global world. Research in the cluster highlights the importance of investigating concepts and language usage for understanding communal, cultural and political phenomena. Furthermore, the structures, processes and forms of participation and civic activity are analysed.

The themes examined in this area of research include, for example, the ideological heritages of political thought and related conceptual disputes; changes in ethical and moral concepts; the conceptual, historical and philosophical conditions of individuality and communality; changes in political institutions and the exercise of power; and political agency, participation and civic activity. The approach is both culturally and temporally comparative, starting from the idea that different societies, cultures and eras cannot be understood without conceptual and empirical comparison.

In addition to nine projects funded by the Academy of Finland, the research cluster currently hosts the FiDiPro project “Transformations of Concepts and Institutions in the European Polity” and the research groups Intellectual Traditions in Ethics and Politics (ITEP) and the Jyväskylä Research Group on Civil Society (JYRES).