Even a collaborative research center can’t last forever. The SFB 700 is currently in its final funding phase. Nevertheless, we have a nice and full agenda and, in spite of being just a little wary of the coming farewell, I’m pleased to be able to share with you, as per usual, the latest developments in our SFB with this newsletter. A highlight of 2017 thus far was the international conference to close the SFB in June, a report of which will be included here.
In this newsletter, our research associate Angela Heucher shares the results and experience of their field-work excursions. She conducted numerous interviews with actors from international organizations (IOs) in West Africa in the course of her study of efforts to fight starvation. Furthermore Kristóf Gosztonyi talks about his work as “scholar in residence” at the German Federal Foreign Office.
In addition to another year of SFB’s successful participation in the 58th annual conference of the ISA in Baltimore, we had the privilege of welcoming numerous guests to the SFB. Moreover, the newest publications out of the SFB can be found, as per usual, at the end of this newsletter.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, and we look forward to your comments!
Thomas Risse Speaker SFB 700
International closing conference of the SFB 700
More than 220 international participants traveled to Berlin
After three successful funding periods, the SFB 700 will conclude its work at the end of the year. We leave behind twelve years of intensive research on “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood”. As one of the highlights of our work, we organized a closing conference for 22-24 June. More than 220 international guests from academia to the political arena followed our invitation to the campus of the Free University Berlin.
After the arrival and reception of participants, an inaugural dinner and opening remarks from our co-coordinator Thomas Risse and from vice-president of the Free University and director of an SFB project, Klaus Mühlhahn, commenced the conference. Two days of rich, rigorous discussion and interdisciplinary exchange followed. As part of 16 different panels, both the entire scope of SFB research and external activities were presented, debated, and discussed. The diversity in theme and content of the given panels stretched from questions of “Legitimacy in Areas of Limited Statehood” and “Implications for International Law and the International Order” to “Varieties of Governance in History”
Additional highlights of the conference included two panel discussions that were open to the public. Peter-André Alt, president of the Free University Berlin, opened the panel discussion titled “Research on Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood: What Have We Learned?” on 23 June. Christopher Daase and Nicole Deitelhoff of Goethe University Frankfurt, Stephen D. Krasner of Stanford University, Amrita Narlikar of GIGA - the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Christian Neuhäuser of TU Dortmund, and Shalini Randeria of the Institute for Human Sciences Vienna, together with the public, discussed the central research results of the SFB 700, as well as questions that remain for future study. The discussion was led by Tanja Börzel, one of the principal investigators at SFB 700.
On the second evening, another conference day came to a close with a party at Domäne Dahlem for all attendees, as well as for SFB-alumni. With live jazz and a bbq-buffet, reunions were celebrated, and conference discussions continued and deepened into the night.
The panel discussion “Foreign Policy and Areas of Limited Statehood” on 24 June served to conclude the conference. Rüdiger König (director of the division “Crisis Prevention, Stabilisation and Post-Conflict Reconstruction” in the German Federal Foreign Office) and Rangin Dadfar Spanta (former foreign minister of Afghanistan) got the discussion started with their respective contributions. Stephen D. Krasner (Stanford University and former Director of Policy Planning in the US Department of State) followed, providing a comment to both presentations. Thomas Risse moderated the panel discussion and the subsequent exchange with the public.
Here, you will find a photo gallery with impressions from the conference, together with multiple video clips shot throughout the program.
Only through the active participation and involvement of our guests could this conference have been such a wonderful event. This conference allowed the SFB to, once more, garner valuable input for its final activities. It also became clear that many compelling questions on governance in areas of limited statehood have still yet to be researched, beyond 2017. In this vein, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all participants and attendees!
Willkommen! SFB 700 welcomes its many guests
This year, SFB 700 again had the privilege of working with a group of renowned guest scholars who researched various topics along with us.
Already in January and into February of this year, we were able to welcome Christian Neuhäuser of the Technical University Dortmund as a Mercator Fellow at SFB. Mr. Neuhäuser researches the moral responsibility of private actors in areas of limited statehood. Under a title of this same description, he presented his work as part of our SFB lecture series. A video clip of his presentation is available here.
As another Mercator Fellow and regular guest, we were pleased to once again be able to welcome Stephen D. Krasner of Stanford University in May and June. Stephen Krasner continued his research on external governance actors and state-building initiatives at SFB. Also a Mercator fellow, Julia Eckert of Bern University strengthened the work of the SFB in June and July with her expertise in legal anthropology concerning the study of the transnationalization of legal norms, conflict theory, and the anthropology of modern states. As the fourth guest, we welcomed Aila Matanock of UC Berkeley to Berlin in June. In dialogue with the SFB, she studies external governance actors and questions of their legitimacy.
We would like to sincerely thank all guest scholars for the fruitful collaboration and beneficial exchange!
From Berlin to Baltimore: the annual conference of the ISA
For another successful year, the SFB 700 took part in the annual conference of the International Studies Association (ISA). This year’s 58th annual conference took place from 22 to 25 February in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of more than 10 researchers from the SFB made their way to Baltimore to attend the conference. The wide and diverse range of research conducted at SFB was represented in the scholars’ various presentations. For instance, Andrea Liese, Angela Heucher, and Leon Schettler together presented their research on “Self-Legitimation through Inclusive Procedures? Evidence from International Organizations’ Food Security Projects”. Luisa Linke-Behrens presented the results of her research with her paper “Unraveling State Capacity: How Resources, Bureaucratic Efficiency, and Embedded Autonomy Affect Governance by External Actors”.
In total, the SFB 700 participated in 16 different events as part of the ISA program. As with years past, attendance of the ISA conference was an overall positive experience, throughout, allowing our researchers to leave Baltimore with many new ideas and perspectives to consider.
All in one: SFB 700 releases a new, comprehensive publications catalog
International organizations as governance actors in West Africa
With its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations has expressed a clear objective: to end hunger by the year 2030 (SDG2). This goal comes with the high expectation that international organizations (IOs) make a substantial contribution to food security. In areas of limited statehood, IOs are in this sense central governance actors; they provide this essential governance-good and implement projects meant to secure long-term food security. IOs are, however, confronted with a dilemma in this work. On the one hand, they need the (at least implicit) support of various actors to whom they are accountable (e.g. member-states and governance addressees). On the other hand, IOs maintain certain organizational values and guidelines for their work that also reflect what is expected of them.
How do IOs deal with these different expectations? To what extent do they adapt to local contexts? These questions posed by the project D8 - “‘Talk and Action’: How International Organizations React to Areas of Limited Statehood” were at the core of my research stay in West Africa. From January to March 2016, I spoke with employees from international organizations in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Niamey (Niger), and Freetown (Sierra Leone).
In humanitarian emergencies, the decisive factor for IOs in the distribution of goods is the level of need of the governance-addressees. In accordance with organizational values and guidelines, IOs give goods to those who - according to their estimations - need them most (“needs-based approach”). This is how the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) had operated as part of an emergency project in Ivory Coast. In order to bolster agricultural production in the western part of the country, the organization distributed packages of seeds to small-scale farmers who had been previously identified as being particularly in need. The project’s evaluation showed, however, that the dispersion of the seeds continued within the community, after the FAO’s initial allotment. This implies that governance-recipients consider different criteria to be important.
In development-oriented contexts, different organizational values and guidelines show themselves in an exemplary way. In this sense, many IO projects in Niger have a gender component. Women are the preferred recipients of money (cash transfers), so that they might buy food for their families. Through this preference, the food security of families is supported, while the social position of women is strengthened. However, in parts of Niger, men are traditionally responsible for supplying food to the family, such that a project’s distribution mechanisms may collide with the expectations of the population on the ground.
That IOs and governments could have differing views on how projects should be designed is demonstrated in Sierra Leone. While IOs point to the determining factor of need, the government’s approach had been to cover all regions in the country equally, so that no region would feel overlooked or disadvantaged.
Whether in Ivory Coast, Niger, or Sierra Leone, IOs are confronted with diverging expectations. They apply different strategies to manage these differences - for example, by determining distribution criteria in a more transparent way or by incorporating local stakeholders more into the process. Yet managing diverging expectations in the daily work of an international organization – not to mention the big expectation of IOs to make a significant contribution to ending hunger - remains a balancing act.
As “scholar in residence” in the German Foreign Office
A report on working between academia and the practice of politics
A report on working between academia and the practice of politics
As part of the SFB 700’s T3 project, the fundamental results of the SFB’s research from all three funding periods were evaluated for policy implications and prepared for the German foreign policy community.
This effort creates a point of exchange between academia and the practice of politics. The German Foreign Office (das Auswärtige Amt) is a central partner in this knowledge transfer. A foundational component of this collaboration between the SFB and the Foreign Office are the so-called scholars in residence.
The time from 1 June to 31 December 2016 I spent as a scholar in residence in the Foreign Office. Scholars in residence are members of the SFB 700 that the group dispatches to the Foreign Office for approximately six months to work on key topics, chosen collaboratively. During this dispatch period, the scholar works with a core team of three research associates of the SFB 700. Within the Foreign Office, this team was joined to Department S01 (Crisis prevention, stabilization, conflict prevention, and humanitarian aid).
Following the first two focus areas in the fields of knowledge transfer, promotion of the constitutional state, and reform of the security sector, the topic of stabilization was added as the third topic. The selection of this topic can be explained by the increasing importance of the concept of stabilization in international politics. Many Western states - e.g. the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, and Canada - have defined stabilization as the central objective in their engagement in fragile and conflict-ridden states.
When I began my work at the Foreign Office in June 2016, a working definition of stabilization had already emerged from the Foreign Office and from the Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). This working definition described stabilization as measures taken to support political processes that lead to the minimization of violence or to the creation of a safe environment and/or improved living conditions. Given that this definition did not yet contain any concrete instructions, which officials could have used in their work - for example, in planning stabilization measures in a country in crisis - the operationalization of the stabilization term quickly became the goal of my time there. The particular structure of the T3 project allowed me to accompany work processes within the bureaucracy of the Foreign Office intensively and to adapt my knowledge contribution to the specific needs of a given level of work.
In the early stages in July 2015, we tested the stabilization approach developed in project C9 of the SFB 700 in a workshop organized collaboratively with the Foreign Office. In this workshop, it became clear that the applied approach no longer fully corresponded to the definition developed by the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and thus required some adaptation. After the summer break, we held many conversations with different Foreign Office officials to determine an appropriate adjustment of the definition.
Alongside renewed discussion with the Foreign Office, I conducted research of the literature on the topic of stabilization, consulted with SFB 700 staff, and met with colleagues from national and international institutions with relevant expertise. The stabilization approach, so adapted, builds on the original C9-model and takes it one step further. The scholarly insights into the effect of stabilization measures were processed in such a way as to require a structured analysis of conflict and fragility on the practical level, in order to account more carefully for the contextual conditions of external engagement.
Our goal was to test our updated, operationalization approach in concrete plans for engagement in specific countries in crisis. With the support of David Remmert and Bianca Süßenbach (also from T3), we were able to receive permission from two officials for this experiment. The operationalization approach to result from this country-planning is currently being incorporated at the institutional level as an interactive online tool and will thus become part of long-term application. This online tool, internally known as “Vademecum”, will provide Foreign Office officials with directions for conducting analyses and evaluations, for developing strategies, and much more.
In addition to the operationalization of the stabilization concept, the SFB contributes further input to the topics of action planning (impact assessment) and impact evaluation. These modules have also been incorporated into Vademecum and may thus also be seen as the continued transfer of insights from the SFB to the political arena.
These results illustrate the significance and enormous potential of this particular form of knowledge transfer between academia and politics.
Selected Articles and Papers in Journals and Anthologies
Esders, Stefan 2017: Zwischen Historie und Rechtshistorie. Der consensus iuris im frühen Mittelalter, in: Epp, Verena/Meyer, Christoph H. F. (Hrsg.): Recht und Konsens im frühen Mittelalter, Ostfildern 2016 (Vorträge und Forschungen 82), Jan Thorbecke Verlag 427-474.
Müller, Markus-Michael/Hochmüller, Markus 2017: From regime protection to urban resilience? Assessing continuity and change in transnational security governance rationales in Guatemala, in: Geoforum, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Beisheim, Marianne/Simon, Nils 2017: Die Umsetzung der SDGs durch Multi-Stakeholder Partnerschaften. Bessere Meta-Governance seitens der Vereinten Nationen gewünscht?, in: Lepenies, Philipp/Sondermann, Elena (Hrsg.): Globale politische Ziele. Bestandsaufnahme und Ausblick des Post-2015 Prozesses, Nomos, Baden-Baden.
Böhnke Jan/Koehler Jan/Zürcher, Christoph 2017: State formation as it happens: insights from a repeated cross-sectional study in Afghanistan, 2007–2015, in: Conflict, Security & Development 17: 2.
Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Stefan Rinke Managing Director: Eric Stollenwerk, M.A.
Research Program of the Collaborative Research Center 700
Governance has become a central focus within the field of research of the social sciences. The SFB 700 inquires into the conditions of governance in areas of limited statehood. This includes developing countries or those in transition, failing and failed states in troubled regions around the world, and, from a historical perspective, different colonialset-ups.
The center‘s main research questions are: How can effective and legitimate governance be sustained in areas of limited statehood? What problems emerge under such conditions? Which consequences may arise from non-state governance for national and international politics?
Der SFB 700 is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and was set up in 2006.