Research Projects

Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders«

In 2007, Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst established, together with Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther, the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders«, funded with the help of the excellence initiative of the German federal government.

How are political, legal, religious or economic orders established, and how do they change? How do structures of power crystallize in such processes of social dynamics? How are power and life chances distributed, on national and transnational levels? The interdisciplinary research of the Cluster focuses on current social conflicts about a fair order of society in times of globalization, as well as their prehistory. It examines the normative ideas that play a role in such processes and conflicts, as well as how they can be criticized or justified. Normative orders are being analyzed as »orders of justification«, based on »justification narratives«, which may stabilize and change primarily in the realm of reasons.


Centre for Advanced Studies »Justitia-Amplificata«

 »Justitia Amplificata« (»Rethinking Justice - Applied and Global«) is a Centre for Advanced Studies (Kolleg-Forschergruppe) at the Goethe-Universität at Frankfurt am Main and at Freie Universität Berlin, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The Centre constitutes a new forum for political theorists, philosophers, and empirical social scientists interested in normative, applied and interdisciplinary questions of justice. Its main goals are to bring together the theoretical and methodological perspectives of diverse approaches in political theory and philosophy with respect to normative debates about justice, and to investigate the question of how empirical research is relevant for how justice ought to be theorized. The Centre was founded in 2010 with a German Research Foundation (DFG) grant and is in the second phase of its eight year funding period. Justitia Amplificata is now well-established internationally as a research center on questions of justice at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt and the Free University of Berlin.


Leibniz-Research Group Transnational Justice

In 2012 the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded the renowned Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize to Prof. Forst in recognition of his outstanding research in political philosophy and theory. The Leibniz Research Group Transnational Justice is funded through the Leibniz Program and is based at Goethe University in Frankfurt with Professor Forst’s chair Philosophy and Political Theory. The members of the group focus on different aspects of a theory of transnational justice, from the grounds, uses and contours of the notion of justice within various social, political and philosophical contexts to the most important injustices of the current transnational order.


MA program in Political Theory

In 2007, Professor Rainer Forst established, together with Professor Peter Niesen, the consecutive and research-based Masters program in Political Theory, which is offered jointly by Goethe-University Frankfurt and Technische Universität Darmstadt, and has an international focus.

The program is unique in Germany. Students attend courses and profit from the supervision available from the two universities involved, who jointly award the degree. In doing so, they are continuing the long-established Frankfurt tradition of critical and theoretical reflection on political and social order yet with a modern approach. The program is embedded in the research projects of the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders«. It teaches the theoretical knowledge and academic skills necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the political present and its dynamics. Conceptions of justice, democracy and power are confronted with current problems of an increasingly complex world.