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Completed research programmsInternationale Politik

Completed research programms

Working Group
Internationale Politik

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The working group " International Politics" main focus of research is the frame work and structural breaks within the international system as well as the processes of an increasing interweaving between societies and states resulting thereof. The overriding structural characteristics of the international system could be seen under the following viewpoints which also form the basis of the research program of our working group:

First of all: Characteristic for the international system of our times are structural preliminaries that indicate an ongoing fragmentation of the international system: regional integration by means of condensation and interweaving (the democratic welfare-states in the so called OECD-World) on the one hand, partially integrated, disintegrating and disintegrated regions on the other (Africa, Latin America, Asia.)

Secondly: Generally speaking, there are global transformation processes currently under way. One can view these under the leading perspective of democratization processes, which are still taking place (Balkans, Middle and Eastern Europe.) In other cases on the contrary the problem exists, that political and social institutions fail or collapse. That in combination leads to a change in the shape of state power in a global age, the central elements of which are privatization, an increasingly transnational character as well as the consolidation of civil wars due to 'markets of violence', that lead to an increasingly globalized economy of war.

Third: These transformation processes are accompanied by process of nationalization in the sense of increasing transnational activities of public actors as well as governmental actors. This process is partly made easier through deregulation as well as it requires further regulation in other cases.

The actors, both governmental and nongovernmental, are subject to structural restrictions but do at the same time shape processes due to their acting. The acting itself can now be seen under the following aspects:

Governmental and nongovernmental actors attempt to regulate. That includes all those activities that are held to contribute to a normative integration into the international system. Nongovernmental actors play a decisive role both in the creation of certain norms (e.g. prohibition of anti person mines) as well as their implementation (for instance women's rights.) Besides the attempts to regulate the problem exists, in how far the intention to do so is backed by the ability to actually carry out such an attempt of normative integration. This stands both for the civil society as well as for the governmental actors. In addition do even those actions that are of best intention have unwanted effects.

A conceptional point of reference for the research program lies in the concept of the socialization of foreign policy, developed by Ernst-Otto Czempiel. By socialization, Czempiel means (speaking simplified) the emancipation of the society from governmental institutions both generally speaking and referring to extranational activities. With regards to the civil society this frame of activities can be circumscribed by the word "participation", meaning activities, that are concerned with democratization, both within the national society as well as international. This process of emancipation includes complementary relations, that occur in various shapes and harbor different areas of conflict: complementarity as substitution, subordination, precedence or independence to/from each other.

The dimensions of the international structural change within politics that are actually visible, as well as the actions of governmental as well as nongovernmental actors that stand in direct relation to each other and the fields of conflict resulting from it are mostly viewed at by the working group from the perspective of security politics and the politics of humanitarian aid. As far as security politics and questions of international order are concerned the challenges that result from internal conflicts and regional fragmentation within the international system are in the focus of our work. Among these challenges is the problem of how to effectively prevent violence from breaking out respectively how to use preventive measures and intervention to reduce the threat of an escalation of violence. Also the question of a possible enforcement and implementation of certain codes of behavior between certain states falls in this field of research. Resulting from this is a direct link with the field of humanitarian aid thereby we do understand humanitarian aid as a problem of international politics in general and as one of international order in particular. The normative approach of the system of humanitarian assistance can be linked with the change of norms within the international system. Humanitarian assistance is concerned with the diffusion and accomplishment of the humanitarian principle, which on the other hand form the basis of legitimacy as well as the goal of action for the humanitarian organizations. The overlap with international politics results from the attempt (at least it is symbolically declared) to enforce the Human Rights in the state system.

> Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Eberwein

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