A Gordian Knot? Rule and Resistance in International Relations

Ringvorlesung "Beyond Anarchy: Rule and Authority in the International System"

Prof. Christopher Daase, Prof. Nicole Deitelhoff, Exzellenzcluster "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"/Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung

12. Februar 2014, 18.15 Uhr
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum HZ 9



Global politics is best conceived, we propose, not strictly as anarchy or hierarchy, but as a heterarchy where institutionalized power, or rule, assumes an array of guises, serves diverse functions and can be more or less concentrated or diffuse. We define rule as a structure of institutionalized superand subordination that reduces contingency and stabilizes expectations. The initial intuition is that ontologically rule predicates resistance, such that power and hegemony are only thinkable and visible when they are contested. Thus, we propose a research programme that observes and theorizes rule by way of observing and theorizing resistance. To do so coherently in a broad range of contexts, we introduce a distinction between opposition and dissidence. Given the definition of rule as a structure of institutionalized super- and subordination, dissidence is the stronger form of dissent characterized by a rejection of the structure in toto. Opposition, by contrast, is resistance to particular manifestations of rule, such as policies or specific norms, while accepting the overall structure. This distinction is analytically valuable because it allows substantively normative features of rule, like authority and domination, to be brought back into the analysis but with an empirically informed, rather than a priori, foundation.

Christopher Daase is Chair for International Organization at Goethe University Frankfurt and Research Director at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). Previously he held the Chair in International Relations at the University of Munich (2004-2009) and was Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent at Canterbury as well as Director of the Programme on International Conflict Analysis at the Brussels School of International Studies (1999-2004). Educated at Universities in Hamburg, Freiburg and Berlin, he became SSRC-MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security for 1990 –1992 and was Research Fellow at Harvard University and the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. He received his PhD in 1996 from the Free University of Berlin for an award winning dissertation on unconventional warfare. His research centres on theories of international relations, security issues and international institutions. As member of the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” at the University of Frankfurt he currently works on changing patterns of legitimacy with regard to the use of force on the one hand, and on trends of informalization in international politics on the other hand.

Nicole Deitelhoff is Professor for International Relations in the Cluster of Excellence „Formation of Normative Orders“ at Goethe University and heads a research group on “Contested Normativity: Norm Conflicts in Global Governance“ at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). She obtained an MA in Political Science from State University of New York (UB Buffalo) and a PhD from University of Technology Darmstadt. She was visiting professor to Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2010 and visiting fellow to the Center for European Studies at Harvard University in 2011. Her current research focuses on international institutions and norms, the foundations of political rule and its legitimation beyond the national state, and forms of resistance. Among her most well-known publications are Überzeugung in der Politik (Persuasion in Politics), Suhrkamp 2006, The Discursive Process of  Legalization. Charting Islands of Persuasion in the ICC case in International Organization 2009, and Leere Versprechungen? Deliberation und Opposition im Kontext transnationaler Legitimitätspolitik (Empty Promises? Deliberation and Opposition in Transnational Legitimation Politics) in Leviathan (2012).

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