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Qualification Works

Religious freedom as a contested human right

With its focus on religious freedom the PhD-project is located within the critical norm research program of International Relations. Against the background of the global discursive contestedness and its huge variance in compliance with the norm, the project asks: Why and under which conditions states violate the global norm of religious freedom? To answer this question, the project reconstructs the global discourse on religious freedom within the United Nations, and empirically analyzes variations in norm violations in between non-Muslim religious minorities in Iran. The project’s qualitative, interpretative approach intends to unveil context-specific causal mechanisms, influential discourses and hegemonic narratives.

More informationen about this work can be found here.

Sustainable Consumption and Production: Tackling Food Waste in the European Union

The project focuses on the political regulation of food waste and losses in the European Union (EU). Entailing severe consequences on the ecological, economic and social dimension, the issue of food waste and losses poses a major challenge for a sustainable transformation. The global community has responded by including the target 12.3 in the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims at halving per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels by 2030. Building on the call for new modes of governance, the dissertation project sheds light on governance mechanisms to reduce food waste and losses in the EU.

More information about this work can be found here.

The Impact of e-Governance on Regulatory Compliance in Financial Institutions

The aim of this thesis is to analyse the impacts of using e-Governance Methods such as Blockchain Methodologies, decentralized Apps (dApps) how they appear in Decentralised Finance (DeFi) as new regulatory Governance Methods in financial markets to foster compliance with Financial Regulations, so as to answer the research question: To what extent can the new e-Governance Methods help solve the financial sectors regulatory problems that led to the Global Financial Crisis? Democratic Theory and Theories of Regulation are used to explain why the Government should be involved in the regulation of this industry. Research has focused either on New Institutionalism that mainly studies the interplay between the regulators and politicians, or New Governance Regulatory Research that analyses alternative regulatory strategies and their impact on institutions. As a comprehensive study of regulation that includes these two paths is missing so far this work will bridge this gap by analysing both of these study paths. Using a case study of European banks, this thesis uses comparative methods to explain the difference in efficacy achieved by deploying these new techniques of e-Governance as compared to current techniques used.

More information about this work can be found here.

Implementation strategies to promote electromobility at the municipal level

The PhD project deals with the implementation strategies for promoting electromobility at the municipal level. Due to the high greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, the topic is of high socio-political and economical relevance in the context of climate change. The legislative dynamics at federal and state level (Hessen) are analyzed and case studies from the city of Frankfurt, the Main-Taunus district and the city of Offenbach are comparatively examined and analyzed using a spatial cluster. In addition, qualitative expert interviews are conducted. The research project relates to the municipal level and examines the chances of effective implementation of electromobility. At the same time, recommendations for action and incentives to develop municipal strategies to promote electromobility are sought.

More information can be found here.

Supply-Driven Policy Transfer from International Organizations to Single States: The Case of Policy Transfer of Marine Spatial Planning to Colombia

This study analyzes supply-driven transfer of policy instruments from international organizations (IOs) to single states. It draws on the theories of policy transfer and diffusion to make causal assumptions about the Why and How behind the transfer process of policy instruments from international to state level. The added value of the study lies in the emphasis of the proactive role of the IO in promoting and co-producing the instrument and on the relevance of the domestic institutional context. The study applies case-study approach, it takes the IOC-UNESCO and its intensive promotion of Marine Spatial Planning as a policy instrument. The country of study is Colombia.

More information about this project can be found here.

“Gender, sexuality, and family politics of the Alternative für Deutschland: Discomfort with postmodern fickleness?”

The AfD’s success is largely bolstered by anti-politics and group-focused enmity against migrants, refugees, and Muslims. The party’s gender, sexuality and family politics are however rarely taken note of in the public eye. This dissertation seeks to uncover these positions in three cases of AfD parliamentary fractions on the state level and, utilizing an analytical framework that synthesizes populism theory and alienation theory, seeks to shed light on the causes of such positions. Thus, this work investigates the hypothesis that the AfD’s political activities are to be understood as a right-wing counterrevolution against negative feelings that postmodern uncertainty may induce.

More information about this work can be found here.

Parliamentary Deployment Votes Database (PDVD) und International Treaty Ratification Database (ITRVD)

The Parliamentary Deployment Votes Database (PDVD) and the International Treaty Ratification Database (ITRVD) take issue with the increasing societal and political contestation of international politics in the realm of military intervention (security and defense policies) and the ratification of international treaties (foreign policy). They provide data for a comparative investigation of parliamentary and party-political voting behavior. Individual work studies the influence of political ideology and government-opposition dynamics on the positioning on military intervention and treaty ratification, while collecting data on different procedures of parliamentary control at the same time.

More information about this project can be found here.

Parties, Parliaments, and Foreign Policy in Times of Increasing Politicization

This project investigates the increasing contestation of national foreign policy decisions with a special interest in military intervention. Its conceptual/theoretical and empirical, comparative and case-oriented studies particularly address the role of parties and parliaments in foreign policy and its contestation and, by virtue of this, issues of ideology, government-opposition dynamics, and the parliamentary control of defense policy.

More information about this project can be found here.

Transnational city networks and international organizations as collaborative norm advocates? A Comparative Analysis of Inter-Institutional Collaborations in the Context of the Negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda

Author: Jacob Manderbach

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Helmut Breitmeier


“Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities.” This statement by former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, underlines the “transformative power” of cities for sustainable development. Since the late 1980s, transnational city networks (TCNs) have emerged as “new” actors and municipal representatives in global sustainability governance. To expand their scope of action, they seek collaboration with international organizations. By applying a qualitative comparative perspective to the negotiation process of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, the project examines how these collaborations affect the ability of TCNs to act as advocates for global norms.

Socio-technological change in modern agriculture through the commercialisation of radical technological innovations in urban agriculture

Agriculture is a sector that is constantly changing. Currently surface pressure on arable land, nature conservation and climate change lead to a growing interest in urban agriculture and vertical farming. These technologies open up for agricultural production out of rural areas and lead to increasing yields. The transition of socio-technological regimes is connected with institutional change. When considering socio-technological change two things are important; first a pure technological analysis might overestimate the potential of an innovation, when ignoring the connection of it to social structures, organisation and human agency. On the other side the change of the prevailing regime is connected with institutional work. A successful transition of institutions mostly happens from a niche-perspective. Therefore, particular attention must be paid to the actors involved and their agency in driving change. Governments have the opportunity to promote change (e.g. demonstration projects) or oppose change through regulation. However, the successful commercialization of innovations is linked to a change in the perception of technology by different actor groups and the relationship between technology and social structures.

More information about this work can be found here.

The emergence and boundaries of the water-energy-food nexus in development cooperation

Since decades, improvements in the water, energy and agricultural sector play a significant role in international development cooperation and thereby, the integration of water-energy-food nexus approaches becomes highly relevant to mitigate or prevent adverse impacts of sector-specific projects on other sectors. Against this background, the dissertation project aims at analysing the emergence and boundaries of such nexus approaches as part of sustainability concepts of selected stakeholders in international development cooperation by assessing the understanding, critical reflection and diverging perceptions and/ or different implementation approaches of water, food and/or energy related projects/ strategies.

More information about this project can be found here.

The dilemmas of Turkey's value-dependent security policy under the justice and development government

Author: Sinan Öztürk

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Helmut Breitmeier


The reality and perceived threats of Turkey, as well as the security policy interests associated with them, differ considerably from what is underlying them from an international or European point of view. The government's core idea with regard to domestic security policy is to strike a balance between freedom and security at home, so that the state can continue to act in the fight against inward-looking threats. This study assumes that the historical experience, the experience of cooperation in security communities and the value systems of the country can show how security policy interests can be derived from the cultural characteristics of the country. The cultural peculiarity can answer the question of why Turkey's domestic security policy changed between 2002 and 2018.