Research Cluster

Justice and Legitimacy in Transnational Perspective



Research Questions | Goals: In times of globalization and transnationalization, Political Theory is obliged to analyse how the legitimacy conditions of political orders change: What notions of justice apply for social and political relationships beyond the national state and what does this mean for democratic self-governance perspectives?

The researchers engaged in this field are examining the relationship between justice, democracy, human rights and legitimacy – normative terms which claim validity for transnational relations. In so doing, they endeavour to clarify whether the claims which are implicit in the way these terms are used might possibly be in conflict with each other and how this should be handled from a conceptual perspective. The contemporary debate on transnational justice deals with the following questions on a primarily conceptual or theoretical level: What type of transnational social and political relations can be judged at all according to justice standards? What procedural and substantial principles of justice apply for what type of transnational relations? The debate on the future of democracy and democratic (national) citizenship addresses the problem of how the borders of the demos should be defined under these conditions and what the institutional and cultural principles of democratic self-governance are.

In addition, the researchers at the chairs involved are investigating concrete demands for justice in specific fields of transnational politics – for example in the area of development policy, European policy, trade policy, climate and environmental policy, human rights policy, gender as well as post-colonial policy, and security and defence policy.

Theoretical Framework | Methods: Both in research with a stronger conceptual focus as well as more practice-oriented research, the relationship between political theory and practice is the object of methodical confrontation. This revolves around the question of whether political theory and philosophy as well as social sciences must be related to one another in order to explore adequately various types of transnational relations and policy fields. It is above all for this reason that the tradition of critical social theory continues to be of fundamental relevance for this research focus.

Participating Professors
Rainer Forst, Darrel Moellendorf, Sandra Seubert



Projects (Selection)

All Rights Reserved? Barriers towards European CITIZENship

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Sandra Seubert
Funding: EU FP7

Exzellenzcluster Normative Ordnungen

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst; Prof. Klaus Günther 

Research Areas:

Power, Rule and Violence in Orders of Justification
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst



Lecture Series:

Colloquium Political Theory (Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst, Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf)

Colloquium (Prof. Dr. Sandra Seubert)



Most important Publications

Rainer Forst, Normativity and Power, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017 (English Translation (by Ciaran Cronin) of Normativität und Macht. Zur Analyse sozialer Rechtfertigungsordnungen, Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2015).

Rainer Forst, The Power of Tolerance, zusammen mit Wendy Brown, New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Rainer Forst, Justice, Democracy and the Right to Justification, London: Bloomsbury, 2014 (Band mit einem Aufsatz (Two Pictures of Justice), sechs kritischen Beiträgen von A. Sangiovanni, A. Allen, K. Olson, A. S. Laden, E. Erman, S. Caney und einer ausführlichen Replik (Justifying Justification: Reply to My Critics)).

Rainer Forst, Justification and Critique, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013 (English Translation (by Ciaran Cronin) of Kritik der Rechtfertigungsverhältnisse. Perspektiven einer kritischen Theorie der Politik, Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2011.).

Darrel Moellendorf, The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change: Values, Poverty, and Policy, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Darrel Moellendorf, Cosmopolitan Justice, Westview Press, 2002.

Darrel Moellendorf, Global Inequality Matters, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Sandra Seubert et. al. (editors), Moving Beyond Barriers: Prospects for EU Citizenship, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.

Sandra Seubert, Dynamics of modern citizenship. Democracy and peopleness in a global era, in: Constellations, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2014, 547-559

Sandra Seubert, Ambivalenzen demokratischer Freiheit. Zur Aktualität von Rousseaus politischer Theorie, in: PVS 4/2012, 609-627.

Sandra Seubert, Die Grenzen des Privaten (mit Peter Niesen), Schriftenreihe der Sektion Politische Theorie und Ideengeschichte in der DVPW, Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 2010.




Publication Profile

Journals: Contemporary Political Theory, Constellations, Climate Change, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Ethics, European Journal of Political Theory, Leviathan, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Political Power, Journal of Social Philosophy,   Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Political Theory, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Social Research, Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie u.a.

Publishers: Cambridge University Press, Campus, Columbia University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Nomos, Oxford University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Polity, Routledge, Suhrkamp Verlag, University of California Press u.a.