Political Science

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Political Science
Group leader
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Complex Problems, Plural Rationality, and Public Policy
Specific themes and goals

In our research, we aim to explore how complex environmental and social problems can be resolved through the combination of (inter)governmental action, entrepreneurship, technological innovation, as well as civil society engagement. 

We analyze which policy failures have fuelled the global rise of (authoritarian) populism, how this could have been prevented, and how the support for populism can be drained. 

We explore the possible synergies between social and political theory, brain research and the analysis of human complex systems. al climate change and ocean acidification.

Highlights and impact
  • The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, the largest of its kind in the world, uses Prof. Verweij’s research for policy planning and to structure its interactions with stakeholders. The Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency does the same.
  • He has co-authored articles with three of the most-cited scholars of the past 50 years: anthropologist Mary Douglas, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and neurophysicist Robert Turner.
  •  Prof. Verweij has published articles in leading journals in political science, public policy, sociology, neuroscience, philosophy, economics, engineering and general science.
  • He has also co-authored an article in a leading journal on sociological theory with 11 Constructor University alumni from a variety of disciplines.
  • In 2022, Prof. Verweij’s work was twice featured in Psychology Today
Group composition & projects/funding

Prof. Verweij has co-supervised four PhD students (three in political science and one in engineering), however much of his work is in research networks that extend beyond Constructor University and that include the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California in the United States, the Oxford Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Selected publications
  • Verweij, M. (2022). Clumsy solutions and climate change: A retrospective. WIREs Climate Change, 13, e804. 
  • Verweij, M., Ney, S., & Thompson, M. (2022). Cultural theory’s contributions to climate science: Reply to Hansson. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 12, 34. 
  • Verweij, M., Alexandrova, P., Jacobsen, H., Beziat, P., Branduse, D., Dege, Y., Hensing, J., Hollway, J., Kliem, L., Ponce, G., Reichelt, I. J., & Wiegmann, M. (2020). Four galore? The overlap between Mary Douglas’s grid-group typology and other highly cited social science classifications. Sociological Theory, 38(3), 263-294. 
  • Favre, M., Swedlow, B., & Verweij, M. (2019). A cultural theory and model of power relations. Journal of Political Power, 12. 
  • Verweij, M., & Damasio, A. (2019). The somatic marker hypothesis and political life. In D. P. Redlawsk (Ed.), The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.