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.

Speakers 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.


Lecture Series "Gesetz und Gewalt im Kino"

Five Lectures will cast some light of the theme of "Gesetz und Gewalt im Kino". Presenter is the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" with the "Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt". First Lecture 25 April 2014, 7pm, Museum für Moderne Kunst. More...

"Frankfurter Stadtgespräch" with Christopher Clark (Cambridge)

The title of the next "Frankfurter Stadtgespräch" is "Wer hat angefangen? Sinn und Unsinn historischer Schuldzuschreibungen". Participants are Prof. Christopher Clark  (Cambridge) and Prof. Andreas Fahrmeir (Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders"). The conversation will be moderated by Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther (Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders") on 19 May 2014, 7pm, Historisches Museum. More...

Upcoming Events

24 April 2014

Author meets critics’ workshop on Leif Wenar’s book manuscript titled "Power / Counter-Power: Might Makes Right, Popular Sovereignty and the Unity of Humanity"Workshop: Clean Trade in Natural Resources: Workshop with Leif Wenar (King's College London). Mit Prof. Darrell Moellendorf u. a. More...

25 April 2014, 7pm

Lecture Series "Gesetz und Gewalt im Kino": Verena Lueken (Frankfurt am Main), "Babes Behind Bars - Gesetz und Gewalt im Frauengefängnisfilm" about Caged (John Cromwell, USA 1950). More...

Latest Media

Die Herausbildung der europäischen Notstandsverfassung. Die Grundstruktur rechtlicher Normativität und warum wir auf einem falschen Weg sind

Lecture by Prof. Armin von Bogandy (Executive Director of Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law/Cluster of Excellence „The Formation of Normative Orders“)

Anarchy, Hierarchy, Polyarchy, Monarchy or else? What sort of global rule for a time of power change?

Lecture by Prof. Harald Müller (Executive Director of Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)/Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders"), Lecture Series "Beyond Anarchy: Rule and Authority in the International System"

List of video & audio recordings: Here…

New full-text Publications

Forst, Rainer (2013):

Zum Begriff eines Rechtfertigungsnarrativs, Normative Orders Working Paper 03/2013. More...

Forst, Rainer (2013):

Noumenal Power, Normative Orders Working Paper 02/2013. More...