Institutes & Centers

Institute for Minority Rights - Politics and Actors in Societal Conflict

Politics and Actors in Societal Conflict

This research group explores minority issues and societal conflicts through the lens of actors and the politics of agency. Through this actor-centred approach, it studies mobile people, diverse societies, inequalities and their interactions with minority issues.

The research group “Politics and Actors in Societal Conflicts” (PACS) is composed of a diverse team of political scientists, anthropologists, legal scholars and scholars of religious studies. We contribute to established minority rights scholarship by going beyond institutional and legal approaches.

PACS develops an interdisciplinary understanding of the behavior of various actors - both political actors and civil society actors - and their motivations, strategies and claims in societal conflicts.

The research group studies various types of formal and informal action and participation in societies and in political systems. It examines actors’ roles and impact on the formulation and implementation of policies in different minority contexts. Moreover, it evaluates the relations and dynamics between actors and reveals underlying frames, networks and power struggles which overall contribute to the politics of agency.

For the next three years, the group will focus its research on the substate level, including regions and cities, and apply the actor-centred approach to the study of societal conflicts, with a particular focus on:

  • migration governance,
  • identity politics,
  • the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

In relation to migration governance, PACS studies the role of regions, cantons, provinces and Bundesländer in formulating immigrant integration policies, the relations between the various levels of government involved in migration governance, and the networks of formal and informal actors involved, ranging from governments to NGOs, religious organizations and the civil society. Furthermore, it documents the behavior of regionalist and ethnic parties in relation to immigration and analyzes their positions, discourses, and claims.

When it comes to identity politics, PACS currently concentrates its research activities on the second generation of migrants and Roma women. It analyzes the different forms of political mobilization by member of these groups, with a particular focus on the claims raised and the specific challenges of contentious politics.

Furthermore, PACS considers the various actors working to represent these group – political parties, associations, social movements and interest groups – and the factors affecting their success.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further crystallized existing conflicts and vulnerabilities. PACS explores the intersection between various forms of inequalities and barriers to participation of vulnerable group, concentrating specifically on female strategies to negotiate the effects of the pandemic.

PACS studies the behaviour of interest groups, including new emerging networks, virtual networks and religious institutions, the emerging claims and the underlying frames in relation to unequal opportunities.

Group members

Research Group Leader



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This project maps and explores the female experiences and strategies to negotiate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the intersection with other forms of vulnerability, such as migration status, age and socio-economic background.

Regions and migration governance

This research line engages with the various actors situated at the substate level engaged in the various moments of migration governance, and their networks, behaviour and claims. Furthermore various regional realities are compared to each other.

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This project explores the agency of second generation youth organisations in debates on citizenship and belonging in Italy. It studies the strategies, discourses and forms of action they use to influence public opinion and policy-making processes.

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Eurac Research is a private research center based in Bolzano (South Tyrol) with researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields who come from all over the globe. Together, through scientific knowledge and research, they share the goal of shaping the future.

What we do

Our research addresses the greatest challenges facing us in the future: people need health, energy, well-functioning political and social systems and an intact environment. These are complex questions, and we are seeking the answers in the interaction between many different disciplines. In so doing, our research work embraces three major themes: regions fit for living in, diversity as a life-enhancing feature, a healthy society.

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