Slum city with high tech buildings in the backgroundGovernance and globalisation

Governance and globalisation is one of University of Copenhagen's core research areas in relation to developing countries.

The research area covers

  • State building in fragile states
  • Conflict management and resolution
  • Law reform, human rights and international law
  • Globalisation processes and urbanisation

Relevant centres and departments

Centre of African Studies

Research at the Centre of African Studies revolves around three thematically distinct yet interconnected research platforms: 1) Sovereignties and Citizenship, 2) Religion, State and Society and 3) Environment and Change. Individually and in combination, these platforms are concerned with the complex realities and core challenges and possibilities of a simultaneously localized and globalised Africa. At the same time, the aim is to generate knowledge and theory that is from the study of Africa but not necessarily always or simply about Africa.

Department of Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology represents a broad approach to anthropology. This diversity is expressed in regional foci, theoretical orientation and methodology, and results in a dynamic practice of anthropology, acutely aware of its own traditions and upcoming challenges. The research of the Department is divided in 4 researcher groups: 1) Culture, Mobility and Power, 2) Health and Life Conditions, 3) Nature, Environment and Climate, 4) Organisation and Economy.

Development Economics Research Group

The Development Economics Research Group (DERG) at the Department of Economics aims at promoting high-quality policy relevant research in development economics. Research themes are: 1) The developing countries in the global economy, including globalization, international trade and capital movements, 2) National economic development policies, including structural adjustment, growth and transitional economics and 3) Agriculture, environment and resource utilization, including the links between poverty, agriculture, natural resources and local institutions. Three cross cutting themes, i.e. theory of development economics, poverty and food security, and aid policy, are also covered. DERG is together with local and international partners responsible for large scale research activities in Mozambique and Vietnam.

Copenhagen Centre for Development Research

The Copenhagen Centre for Development Research was a group of social science researchers working with development issues. The Centre was located at the Department of Food and Resource Economics. The primary aim of the Centre was to deliver high-quality and policy relevant development research and to actively engage in ongoing policy debates. Adopting a bottom-up approach the Centre aimed to strengthen academic co-operation and dialogue between institutions undertaking social science based research on development issues, develop and promote graduate and post-graduate education in development studies and actively contribute to public debates on development issues.


iCourts is a new centre of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. Its research focus is on the ever growing role of international courts, their place in a globalising legal order and their impact on politics and society at large. To understand these crucial and contemporary interplays of law, politics and society, iCourts hosts a set of deeply integrated interdisciplinary research projects on the causes and consequences of the proliferation of international courts.

Asian Dynamics Initiative

Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) is a cross-faculty Asia focus at the University of Copenhagen. ADI aims at coordinating existing research and teaching on Asia as well as creating a common platform for new, interdisciplinary Asian studies and research. For Denmark and the Western World, Asia has become increasingly important as a powerful player on the global scene. Today, it is of strategic importance to tackle what is often called the challenge of the "Asian Century". To grasp the dynamics of Asia, we need to both understand and learn from Asia, which includes focusing on intra-Asian relations that invariably influence decisions and developments in and out of Asia.

Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

NIAS - the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies - was an academically independent Nordic research and resource center, focusing on modern Asia from a predominantly social sciences perspective. NIAS was an integrated part of the University of Copenhagen with the status of a centre under the Department of Political Science. While much of the research had a social-science orientation, the area-studies orientation means that academic borders were crossed on a daily basis. NIAS was closed on 31 December 2023.

Centre of Global South Asian Studies

The Centre of Global South Asian Studies is a trans-disciplinary research centre facilitating research and teaching on South Asia at the University of Copenhagen. The Centre does not confine itself to the study of the region, rather explores the historical and contemporary connections within the Global South that underpin the modern formations of society, culture and politics within South Asia and its diaspora. The centre is currently engaged in a research programme Nation in Motion: Globalisation, Development and Governance in ‘New India’.

Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research

The Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE) is a trans-disciplinary research center at Copenhagen Business School and the University of Copenhagen. The research centre is attached to the Master of Disaster Management (MDMa) programme at the University of Copenhagen. Its aim is to facilitate multidisciplinary research on disaster by developing collaborative research, sharing results, and advancing knowledge within disaster research. The center sets out to attract scholars and funding from both national and international institutions and to provide research-based education through the Master of Disaster Management programme.

Relevant research units

Emerging Worlds - Explorations of the new South-South Connections

The ‘Emerging Worlds’ research program embarks upon a collective enquiry into the yet unfolding, and accelerated 21st century phenomenon of south-south connections between Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Global South is now increasingly being shaped up through South-led investments, development aid and migration in search of opportunities and livelihood within the South. Through grounded ethnographies in a number of locations within Asia and Africa, the project seeks to rethink the idea of the Global South and the ways in which it presents itself as a political-economic force in the 21st century.

Research area in Globalisation and Development

“Globalisation” and “development” signal key junctures in processes involving large-scale schemes of social transformation, accompanied by the legitimisation of varied forms of coercion as well as the intense projecting of popular needs and desires. A challenge for this researcher group is to sharpen and deepen our efforts to grasp these world-historical dynamics.
At the Department of Anthropology a group of researchers seek to reflect on how anthropology can meet the methodological, theoretical and indeed didactic challenges of integrating conceptualisations of global forces into specific projects. They are interested in asking ‘big’ questions that can generate thematic linkages across fields.

Research platform on Sovereignties and Citizenship

The research platform on Sovereignties and Citizenship is one of three thematically distinct yet interconnected research platforms at the Center of African Studies. Research questions under the platform concern: 1) State formation and the making of multiple sovereignties, 2) The social production of citizenship and strangerhood as well as non-citizenship, 3) The paradoxes of displacement and confinement and 4) The intensification of linkages between securitization, governance and development.

Research platform on Environment and Change

The research platform on Environment and Change is one of the three thematically distinct yet interconnected research platforms at the Center of African Studies. Central research questions under the platform are: 1) The ways in which the international debate on climate change and environmental issues affect Africa and Africans, 2) The role of the market in promoting environmental management, 3) The scope for synergies between poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation and 4) The roles and effects of both local, national and international governance actors and the possibilities for designed a multilayered environmental governance system.

Research platform on Environment and Society in developing Countries

The aim of the research group is to contribute to understanding globalization processes and human dimensions of global change in developing countries. The research focuses on earth observation, the complexity of land use and land cover change, natural resource management and societal processes. Methodologically, we work with qualitative as well as quantitative data and interdisciplinary approaches are strongly emphasized. The key research areas are: Land use and land cover change; Natural resource management and livelihood strategies; Urbanization, migration, and rural-urban linkages; Industrialization processes and agro-industrial organisation; Small scale mining; Climate change mitigation and adaptation; Earth observation and land surface processes.