Research at the Department of International Organizations

The department of ‘International Organizations’ is dedicated to the comparative investigation of norm production in international organizations within the field of tension between politics and law. Being a new deparment that was founded in the context of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’, the basic aim is to analyze pacifying as well as conflictual moments of these norm emergence processes. The research program can be summarized as ‘Legality and Legitimacy in International Relations’ and is divided into four fields of research:

1.    Informalization in international politics

2.    World order politics of liberal democracies

3.    Security culture and risk policy

4.    Peace missions and transnational justice

The emergence of order in international politics is influenced by two distinct features: first, the absence of a central power and second, huge differences in power between the units of the system. With regards to that condition, it is no coincidence that the term ‘anarchy’ plays a pivotal role in international relations. Here, it does not matter so much whether it is interpreted from a realist perspective as a self-help system, from a liberal perspective as a field of activity with rational actors, or from a constructivist perspective as a realm of possibility with cooperative character. The hopes of overcoming (or at least taming) anarchy rests on the belief about international institution’s ability to moderate the self-interest of (powerful) states through the introduction of general rules in international society. Here, the rule’s ability to sanction is often regarded to be significant. This ability to sanction is seen in dependence of two things: first, the generality, precision and degree of compulsion of and to rules (jurisdiction) and second, the assertiveness of strong organizations (degree of institutionalization). It is no surprise that the notion of formally set order, realized through international organizations, was seen as an ideal, in contrast to anarchy.

The institutional form of the international system (or society) is one aspect, the political implementation another. The emerging conflict between legal norms and social practices is often comprised by the terms legality and legitimacy. Legality refers to norms of positive rights (contracts, practices and general principles in international relations), whereas legitimacy refers to shared normative standards and social beliefs about justice. International politics would be far less controversial if legality and legitimacy would fall together. But, legality and legitimacy, or illegality and illegitimacy respectively, do not always fall together. There can be legal norms that are perceived as questionable and illegitimate (apartheid, for instance). Equally, there can be practices that are not right, because they infringe against existing laws, but that are seen justified from a moral perspective (humanitarian interventions, for instance). On the one hand, it is true that the scope of positive rights decreases if the gap between its claims and general ideas about justice, morality and reasonability becomes too wide. But, it is also true to say that the differentiation between legality and legitimacy has an important function in international relations. It enables a high degree of stability of normative structures: embedded within international law it allows antagonism, non-compliance and even resistance. One could therefore argue that the tensions between legality and legitimacy are constituents of free societies, national as well as international. Hence, one should be careful to demand to overcome these tensions.

While legality is emphasized by those who have an interest in preserving certain institutional orders, legitimacy on the other hand is often brought into the field by those who try to change a normative order. As such, we are not primarily interested in answering the question of what legality is (a task reserved for international law research), nor do we want to clarify the notion of what legitimacy is (a project for political theory and philosophy). We rather want to investigate what happens ‘between’ legality and legitimacy: how do normative discourses shape law and political demands, and how are normative discourses shaped by law. We are interested in the field of tension between law and morality, legality and legitimacy. Here, new normative orders arise and former ones decay. With the terms legality and legitimacy, we describe the realm in which normative orders are being produced, reproduced and transformed.

The research activities of the department International Organizations are organized in four fields of research. Within these fields, specific questions and research projects are undertaken. These are mainly financed with means of the Cluster of Excellence.

Current projects

Dissidenz: Herrschaft und Widerstand in der internationalen Politik
(with Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff, Ben Kamis, Jannik Pfister, Dr. Sebastian Schindler, Dr. Thorsten Thiel)
More info

Informalisierung in der internationalen Politik
(with Dr. Stefan Kroll)


  • Daase, Christopher. 2009a. "The ILC and Informalization." In Peace through International Law. The Role of the International Law Commission. A Colloquium at the Occasion of its Sixtieth Anniversary, ed. Georg Nolte. Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009f. "Die Informalisierung internationaler Politik - Beobachtungen zum Stand der internationalen Organisation." In Die Organisierte Welt: Internationale Beziehungen und Organisationsforschung, eds. Klaus Dingwerth, Dieter Kerwer and Andreas Nölke. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009n. „Normen und Sanktionen – negative und positive“. 26. Juni 2009, Bad Homburg: Klausurtagung der Principal Investigators des Exzellenzclusters Normative Ordnungen.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009o. „On Proper Norms“. 10.-12. September 2009, Potsdam: Euro-pean Consortium for Political Research Conference.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009s. „Internationale Risiken als Herausforderungen für eine liberale internationale Ordnung“. 11. November 2009, Heidelberg: Gastvortrag Universität Heidelberg
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009t. „Die variable Geometrie europäischer Sicherheitsinstitutionen“. 27. November 2009, Frankfurt: Vortrag beim IX. Walter-Hallstein-Kolloquium des Wilhelm Merton Zentrums.

Terrorismus und asymmetrischer Konflikt

Completed projects

Weltordnungskriege liberaler Demokratie
(with Prof. Dr. Anna Geis)


  • Geis, Anna 2009a: Legale versus legitime Kriege, in: Brunkhorst, Hauke/Kreide, Regina/Lafont, Cristina (Hg.): Habermas-Handbuch, Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 343-345.
  • Geis, Anna 2009b: Die Kontroversen über die „neuen“ Kriege der Gegenwart: Wie sinnvoll ist die Rede vom „Neuen“? in: Roithner, Thomas (Hg.): Söldner, Schurken, Seepiraten. Von der Privatisierung der Sicherheit und dem Chaos der „neuen“ Kriege, Münster u.a.: Lit, 61-74.

Der "demokratische Frieden" als Rechtfertigungsnarrativ
(with Prof. Dr. Anna Geis)

Hierarchie und Hegemonie in Global Governance
(with Dr. Caroline Fehl)

Politik der Legitimität: Intractable Conflicts and Negotiation Processes

Sicherheitskultur und Risikopolitik im Wandel
(with Dr. Stefan Engert, Dr. Julian JunkPhilipp Offermann, Dr. Valentin Rauer, Dr. Gabi Schlag)

International Risk Governance
(with Dr. habil. Cornelius Friesendorf)


  • Daase, Christopher. 2009j. “International Risks and Risk Governance”. 26.-27. Februar 2009, Hamburg: IFSH Workshop on International Risks of Violence.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009l. “A Theory of International Risk Policy”. 28.-29. Mai 2009, Sta-vanger: SORISK-Conference on Social Determinants of Risk organized by the Peace Re-search Institute Oslo.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009q. „Erweiterte Sicherheit. Politische und rechtliche Folgen eines Sprachwandels“. 30.-31. Oktober 2009, Bremen: Konferenz zu Transformation von Recht und Politik globaler Sicherheit. SFB Universität Bremen.
  • Daase, Christopher. 2009s. „Internationale Risiken als Herausforderungen für eine liberale internationale Ordnung“. 11. November 2009, Heidelberg: Gastvortrag Universität Heidelberg.
  • Friesendorf, Cornelius. 2009b. Introduction: The Security Sector and Counter-Trafficking, in: Cornelius Friesendorf (ed.), Strategies Against Human Trafficking: The Role of the Security Sector (Geneva and Vienna: DCAF and Austrian National Defence Academy, 2009), 17-32.

Clausewitz On Small War

Entschuldigung und Versöhnung
(with Dr. Stefan Engert)


  • Engert, Stefan. 2009a. „Politische Schuld, moralische Außenpolitik? Deutschland, Namibia und der lange Schatten der kolonialen Vergangenheit“, in: Harnisch, Sebastian / Maull, Hans W. / Schieder, Siegfried (Hrsg.) 2009: Solidarität und internationale Gemeinschaftsbildung. Beiträge zur Soziologie der internationalen Beziehungen, Campus-Verlag, 277-304.

Friedensmissionen und Gewalteinsatz (Sicherheitssektorreform)
(with Dr. habil. Cornelius Friesendorf)


  • Cornelius Friesendorf, Paramilitarization and Security Sector Reform: The Afghan National Police, in: International Peacekeeping 18: 1 (February 2011), 79-95.
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, Problems of Crime-Fighting by ‘Internationals’ in Kosovo, in: James Cockayne and Adam Lupel (eds.): Peace Operations and Organized Crime: Enemies or Allies? (London: Routledge, 2011), 47-67.
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, Should Britain Take Over the Afghan Police from the Germans?, in: Parliamentary Brief (United Kingdom) 13: 6 (April 2011), 29-30.
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, Aufstandsbekämpfung und Bürgernähe: Der schwierige Aufbau der afghanischen Polizei, in: Conrad Schetter und Jörgen Klußmann (eds.): Der Taliban-Komplex: Zwischen Aufstandsbewegung und Militäreinsatz (Frankfurt am Main und New York: Campus Verlag, 2011), 179-201.
  • Elke Krahmann and Cornelius Friesendorf: The Role of Private Security Companies (PSCs) in CSDP Missions and Operations, Study for the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, Policy Department of the Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union, European Parliament, EXPO/B/SEDE/FWC/2009-01/LOT6/10 (Brussels: European Parliament, April 2011) (available at
  • Cornelius Friesendorf and Jörg Krempel: Militarized Versus Civilian Policing: Problems of Reforming the Afghan National Police, PRIF Report No. 102 (Frankfurt am Main: Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, 2011).
  • Cornelius Friesendorf und Jörg Krempel: Militarisierung statt Bürgernähe: Das Missverhältniss beim Aufbau der afghanischen Polizei, HSFK-Report No. 9 (Frankfurt am Main: Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, 2010).
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, The Military and Law Enforcement in Peace Operations: Lessons from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo(Vienna and Geneva: LIT and DCAF, 2010).
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, The Military and the Fight Against Serious Crime: Lessons from the Balkans, in: Connections: The Quarterly Journal 9: 3 (Summer 2010), 45-61.
  • Cornelius Friesendorf, Gefährliche Gemengelage: Polizei, Militär und Probleme von Sicherheitssektorreform in Afghanistan, HSFK-Standpunkt 4/2009 (Frankfurt: Hessische Stifung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, 2009).
  • Ursula Schroeder and Cornelius Friesendorf: Statebuilding and Organized Crime: Implementing the International Law Enforcement Agenda in Bosnia, in: Journal of International Relations and Development 12: 2 (2009): 137-167.
  • Jörg Friedrichs and Cornelius Friesendorf: The Mercenary Debate: Privatized Security Cripples State-Building – Iraq Is a Case in Point, in: The American Interest 4: 5 (May-June 2009), 43-48.

Menschliche Sicherheit auf dem Westlichen Balkan