Dr. des. Benedikt Franz

(Former) Research Associate

Goethe University Frankfurt
Faculty 03 Social Sciences
Institute of Political Science
Campus Westend - PEG-Gebäude
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
D-60629 Frankfurt am Main

Room: 3.G 005
Tel: +49 69 - 798 366 04
E-Mail: franz@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Office hours: by appointment



Winter term 2023/24

  • Global Environmental Politics

Past courses

  • Global Environmental Politics
  • International Relations in the Anthropocene
  • The Realist Tradition in International Relations
  • Conflict and Communication Beyond the Nation-State
  • Social Science Perspectives on Communication and Conflict
  • Theoretical Perspectives on Diplomacy
  • Narratives in International Relations
  • Theory and practice of Security Policy


Research interests

  • International Relations theory
  • Diplomacy and theories of diplomacy
  • Narratives in the social sciences


Since 03/2018 Research Associate at the Chair of Political Science and German/European Foreign Policy, Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University (Prof. Gunther Hellmann)

03/2017 – 02/2019 Research Associate at the Chair of International Relations, Political Science Institute, TU Darmstadt (Prof. Markus Lederer)

10/2013 – 09/2016 Master of Arts ‘International Studies/Peace and Conflict Research’, Goethe University Frankfurt/Technische Universität Darmstadt

10/2010 – 09/2013 Bachelor of Arts Political Science, University of Bremen


Conference presentations

  • The Best Despatches Are Those Written in a Clear and Concise Manner, Unadorned by Useless Epithets ... “. Diplomatic Writing and Literary Aesthetics (16th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, European International Studies Association (EISA), Potsdam, 5 - 9 September 2023)
  • Embassies as Heterotopia and Places of (In)Security (Repräsentationen von (Un)Sicherheit - Objekte, Bilder und Orte, Gemeinsame Tagung des DVPW-Arbeitskreises „Soziologie der internationalen Beziehungen“ und der DVPW-Themengruppe „Kritische Sicherheitsstudien“, Hamburg, Germany, 5 - 6 December 2022)
  • Diplomacy and the Concept of Person - Rereading Diplomatic Manuals and Memoirs (ISA Annual Convention, Toronto, Kanada, 27. - 30. März 2019)
  • "Messages from the Engine Room: Making Sense of Autobiographies by Diplomats" (Third Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network, ‘Bridging Divides’, RIAS, Middelburg, Niederlande 24. -­ 26. Oktober 2018)

Journal Articles

  • Benedikt Franz (2022). Narrative time and International Relations, Journal of International Relations and Development, 25:3, 761–783.
  • Miriam Prys-Hansen & Benedikt Franz (2015). Change and Stasis: The Institutionalisation of Developing Country Mitigation in the International Climate Regime, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 26:4, 696-718.

Dissertation project

Messages from the Engine Room. Diplomatic Roles as Interpretations of Memoirs by Former Ambassadors

As recurring contributions attest to, the unsettled question of what diplomacy means and how diplomats should be defined, continues to attract the attention of scholars. My project is, broadly speaking, situated within the same intellectual space, but it differs from several extant arguments and seeks to make three contributions. (1) Theoretically, it offers a novel conceptualization of diplomacy as a social world, a concept it takes from Chicago School sociology. Understood thus, diplomacy appears in a sociologically richer way in comparison to the dominant paradigm, which is, following Pierre Bourdieu’s work, grasping it as a field. One aspect that comes into view in the social world framework are diplomatic roles. I hence argue that a fruitful additional move is to ask what diplomatic roles entail instead of asking what diplomats are. (2) Methodologically, the envisioned book suggests that one avenue where such diplomatic role images are constructed are diplomatic memoirs. It thereby offers the first comprehensive discussion of memoirs in diplomatic studies beyond either drawing on them as historical sources or simply disqualifying them as unreliable. I will discuss four different ways of reading memoirs and introduce my approach that reads them as communication and speech-acts. (3) The empirical contribution is an analysis of 40 memoirs written by former German ambassadors between 1918 and the present. The results from this analysis are five speech-acts and five resulting roles: reporting/messenger; story-telling/traveler; self-assertion/representative; reflection/reasonable actor and thanking/relational actor.