Non-Violent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation (DFG, Duration: 2015-2018)

Current studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of non-violent resistance to generate political change. However, the long-term effects of non-violent resistance on the consolidation of democracies have received scant attention. We investigate the hypothesis that democracies emerging from non-violent resistance have significantly better odds of survival than other democracies. Furthermore, the research team will conduct six case studies of African and Latin American democracies to compare the causal mechanisms which transmit the causal effect of non-violent resistance over decades after transition. By this we aim to contribute to theory-building about the relationship between resistance and political change.

Further information:  DFG project Nonviolent Resistance


Influencing Agency as a Means of Regulating Weak States in International Politics (Habilitationsschrift, completed 2015)

States of the global North maintain the inequities of the international system through a variety of power resources. One of these resources, which has been hardly scrutinized thus far, is the control over the agency of weaker states. Based on the conceptualization of power by Barnett and Duvall, I investigate how the international system is stabilized through the North's exercise of structural and productive power. These dimensions of power work by aiming at the constitution and capacities of actors. Productive power is used to define abstract rules about permissible types of actors on the international scene and the kinds of actions they can engage in in particular institutional settings. Structural power is used to give or deny these actors access to resources. I illustrate the use of productive power through the category of the "fragile states" and the use of structural power with references to programmes of post-conflict state-building.



Active Learning in a Large Lecture Class (Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft, Duration: 2014-2016)

Supported by a Fellowship for Innovation in Higher Education, I have implemented a new didactical approach based on the inverted classroom in an introductory lecture to international relations at the University of Duisburg-Essen. During class, active learning methods replace the classic lecture while passive learning is shifted to the preparatory phase. One aim of the project is to popularize the inverted classroom as a pedagogical concept in German political science. To this end, students in the course completed several surveys, the results of which are being analyzed in a series of publications.

Further information: Project Blog


Why Do States Collapse? (DFG, Duration: 2011-2014)

Despite the fact that political science has attempted to understand fragile and failed states for at least a decade, we still know relatively little about what causes state institutions to break down. On the one hand, small-N research is hard pressed to come up with generalizable statements given the complex causal structure of state collapse. On the other, quantitative approaches are hampered by highly problematic data and have to work with the fact that different causal paths can lead to the breakdown of the state. Therefore, this project conducts a medium-N comparison that is followed by in-depth studies of select cases in order to identify combinations of factors that lead to the collapse of fragile states. Combining a synchronous with a diachronic comparison using Multi-Value QCA, we strive to develop explanatory models that include both structural and dynamic variables. That way, we hope to identify general characteristics of collapsing states and to gain an insight into the particular timing of the collapse.

Further information: Project webpage


Hybrid Political Orders in Fragile Environments (DAAD, Duration: 2010-2011)

Hybrid political orders are a regular feature of social and political life in many developing countries. Far from being cultural remnants as orthodox state-building approaches portray them, hybrid politcal orders are vibrant mechanisms of governance. This project takes an exploratory approach and asks whether different types of hybrid orders exist, what their capacities are and inhowfar they enjoy grounded legitimacy. It also analyzes the interaction between the hybrid institutions and donor actors in development cooperation.

Further information: Hybrid Political Orders


Other Projects