Transformation of Normative Orders: The Transnationalization of Rule and Resistance

The continuing process of globalization leads not only to denser international and transnational relations, but also to more pronounced dissent to global regulatory politics. This is evidenced in resistance to liberal economic models, disregard for international rules and open protest against ‘western values’. This could be related to the deepening penetration of international institutions and norms into national jurisdictions and the increasingly drastic adaptations they demand of state and non-state actors. Such forms of political resistance have not yet seen systematic treatment in International Relations because they defy the realist, liberal and constructivist paradigms’ attempts to explain them satisfactorily. Only a perspective that enables the normative and institutional forms of global politics to be understood as a form of rule can grasp and explain forms of resistance, opposition and radical dissidence, as a socially and normatively relevant phenomenon.

This project addresses the question of the relationship between rule and resistance at the transnational level. A central hypothesis is that the more transnational rule finds expression in domination and suppresses or curtails opportunities for participation and criticism, the more willing critical actors are to organize themselves at the transnational level to enhance the effectiveness of their resistance. A second, complementary hypothesis is that, in order to assert themselves, political orders must confront transnational agents of resistance and to this end must strengthen their international cooperation. Transnational rule is in this sense a response to the political challenge facing a normative order.

Two empirical studies were developed to test these hypotheses. One study analyzed the development of transnational networks linking security organizations, in particular the police, in response to the transnationalization of protest. The second study, by contrast, took the transnational networks and forms of cooperation of resistance (in particular, exit forms of resistance in ecovillages) as a starting point for establishing the extent of the transnationalization of governance structures and the forms they assume. The studies analyzed how far the two transnationalization processes influence each other (reinforcing/inhibiting/no influence). The two studies were able to show that the transnationalization of rule and resistance are closely interconnected. Forms of governance are becoming transnationalized in response to a corresponding transnationalization of resistance; and resistance is increasingly forming against transnational institutions and practices the more the latter are equipped with authority. This fundamental correlation was also confirmed in several workshops and conferences conducted by the project. In this context, however, it also becomes apparent that the mechanisms responsible for this diverge sharply between different forms of rule and resistance.

Both studies are approaching completion and some of their central results have already been published in, among others, a project volume published by Springer in January 2017. In addition, the research project has established a working paper series (international dissidence) of its own in which research results generated within the project and in the context of the project were published continuously. Furthermore, in spring 2017, the research project organized a major international conference at which the central research results were presented and which served, in addition to international publications, also the preparation of follow-up projects.

The most important publications of this project:

Daase, Christopher/Nicole Deitelhoff/Ben Kamis /Jannik Pfister/Philip Wallmeier (eds.): Herrschaft in den internationalen Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Springer, 2017.

Pfister, Jannik: "Diesseits des Transnationalen. Die Verräumlichung widerständiger Praktiken von der Alterglobalisierungsbewegung bis Occupy“, in: K. H. Backhaus and David Roth-Isigkeit (eds.): Praktiken der Kritik, Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2016, pp. 157–183.

Daase, Christopher and Nicole Deitelhoff: "Jenseits der Anarchie: Widerstand und Herrschaft im internationalen System“, in: Politische Vierteljahresschrift 56(2), 2015, pp. 299–318.

Wallmeier, Philip: "Dissidenz als Lebensform. Nicht-antagonistischer Widerstand in Öko-Dörfern“, in: Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (Sonderband II), 2015, pp. 181–200.

Deitelhoff, Nicole: "Leere Versprechungen? Deliberation und Opposition im Kontext transnationaler Legitimitätspolitik“, in: A. Geis/F. Nullmeier/C. Daase (eds.): Der Aufstieg der Legimititätspolitik, (Leviathan Sonderband 27), Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2012, pp. 63–82.

 

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