Contested Authority in Transnational Governance
INEF’s research activities concentrate on issues in the field of peace and conflict as well as development studies. In addition, we ask which actors address and govern global challenges and with what effects (global governance). In our work, we pay special attention to the role of private and civil society actors.
From 2022 to 2024, the institute’s research programme is entitled “Contested Authority in Transnational Governance”, building on the work of the previous research programme on “Ordering and Responsibility in the Shadow of Hierarchies” (2018 to 2021). In the current phase, we focus on the contested nature of authority, regardless of what it is based on.
On the one hand, the process by which authority is created is characterized by disputes over interpretations and claims to legitimacy. When both state, private, and civil society actors claim a right in the exercise of authority, power relations play an important role. After all, the practices that develop in the exercise of authority, are reflected in different rules and forms of regulation and do not readily establish themselves unanimously or without contradiction.
On the other hand, national as well as inter- and transnational authority - in its absence, specific manifestation, or even contested nature - can be the starting point for social conflicts. Especially in the Global South, patterns of authority can have a decisive influence on the dynamics of conflicts, be it that the authority of local, national and transnational actors is called into question when dealing with or settling conflicts or that a group attributes it in a different way.
How authority - especially at the inter- and transnational level - is constituted in this contested state, what it is based on, and what specific forms of regulation this produces in each case is the focus of INEF research in the two research areas “Global Governance for Sustainable Development” and “Human Rights and Regulation in the Global Economy”. In the research area “Social Conflicts and Resilience”, the focus of our work is more on existing authority being challenged and how this influences conflict. “Authority” occupies a different analytical status in the respective INEF research, revealing the fragmentation and contradictions of the different uses of the term.
The research pogramme can be downloaded here.