Welcome to the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” at Frankfurt University!

We are living at a time of profound and rapid social changes. These changes are bound up with social conflicts, both within states and beyond them. Whether it is a matter of a just social order under conditions of “globalization” and new technological possibilities or a just “global order” in the face of scarce resources, climate change and armed conflicts –we are confronting challenges of a new kind that cannot be met with traditional conceptions of order. In a world of different cultural self-understandings and traditions, transnational norms and institutions are emerging whose validity is being – and must be – placed in question.

The researchers in the humanities and social sciences united in the Frankfurt Cluster of Excellence have made it their task to analyse these processes from the perspective of the “formation of normative orders”. They see the processes and conflicts in question not merely as facts and as phenomena to be described in functionalist terms; instead they enquire into the normative conceptions which play a role in this context, and thus confront, and in the process transform, one another. In the eyes of the researchers who work here, the dynamic and thrust of the current upheavals and conflicts first becomes apparent in the normative dimension.

Normative orders are understood in this context as historically grounded “orders of justification” based upon “justification narratives”. They privilege certain legitimations, where norms and values of very different kinds (moral, legal and religious, to mention just a few) are interconnected or give rise to tensions. Such orders derive their legitimation from specific norms and themselves give rise to norms, though always in a dynamic sense.

Researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, such as philosophy, history, political science and legal studies, as well as ethnology, economics, theology and sociology, cooperate within this research alliance. Their goal is to be able to reach conclusions informed by all of these perspectives concerning the extent to which we live in an era of the formation of new normative orders.

The Cluster of Excellence is funded by the German Research Foundation in the context of the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments.

Directors are

Professor Rainer Forst (Institute of Political Science and Institute of Philosophy) and

Professor Klaus Guenther (Institute of Criminology and Philosophy of Law).

Read more:

  • Forst, Rainer; Günther, Klaus (Hrsg.) (2011): Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven, Normative Orders Bd. 1, Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2011, 267 S.


Norm Conflicts in Pluralistic Societies

The Lecture Series "Norm Conflicts in Pluralistic Societies" starts on 28 October at 6.15pm. For further information and programme: click here...



Lecture and Film "Selbstporträts von anderen: Das Universum von Agnès Varda"

The Lecture Series Lecture and Film "Selbstporträts von anderen: Das Universum von Agnès Varda" starts on 29 october at 8pm. More...




Upcoming Events

25 November 2015, 6.15pm

Lecture Series "Norm Conflicts in Pluralistic Societies" of the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders": Dr. Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg (Dezernat XI - Integration, Frankfurt am Main). Chancen und Herausforderungen einer diversen Gesellschaft. More...

26 November 2015, 6pm

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">Lecture: Prof. Jasser Auda, An Islamic Critique of Authoritarian Rule. More...

26 November 2015, 7pm

Goethe Lectures Offenbach: Dr. Manuel Wörsdörfer  (Postdoc Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders", Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main), Banken und Menschenrechte – Zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. click here...

Latest Media

Recognizing the Human Right to a Name and the Implications for Giving and Changing Personal Names

Prof. Dr. Alison Dundes Renteln
Lecture Series "Norm Conflicts in Pluralistic Societies"

"Erkläre nichts. Stell es hin. Sag's. Verschwinde." Zur Frage nach einer Politik des Ästhetischen

Prof. Dr. Heiner Goebbels
Kantorowicz Lecture

New full-text Publications

Wörsdörfer, Manuel, Hennig, Alicia (2015):

Challenging Voluntary CSR-Initiatives – A Case Study on the Effectiveness of the Equator Principles, Normative Orders Working Paper 01/2015. More...

Günther, Klaus (2014):

Normativer Rechtspluralismus - Eine Kritik, Normative Orders Working Paper 03/2014. More...