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.
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Letter of Concern and Support Regarding the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Ordnungen”

After the negative result of the DFG Excellence Strategy competition for Normative Orders, Seyla Benhabib and Charles Larmore, Members of our International Advisory Board, wrote an open letter to express their concern about the future of the Cluster and their strong support for it. More...

Leibniz-Preis für Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln


Prof. Dr. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, Professorin für Makroökonomie und Entwicklung und Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen", ist Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preisträgerin 2018. Das gab die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft am 14. Dezember 2017 bekannt. Hier...

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14 December 2017, 6.15pm

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15 December 2017, 10am

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New full-text Publications

Röß, Johannes (2017):

Die paradoxe Freiheit des Geldes. Eine sozialphilosophische Perspektive im Anschluss an Simmel und Marx. Normative Orders Working Paper 03/2017. More...

Forst, Rainer (2017):

The Justification of Basic Rights: A Discourse-Theoretical Approach. Normative Orders Working Paper 02/2017. More...