Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science

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Research Projects

Which Post-Westphalia? International organizations between constitutionalism and authoritarianism (Prof. Dr. Bernhard Zangl with Christian Kreuder-Sonnen)

The most recent transformation of world order is often depicted as a shift from a Westphalian to a post-Westphalian era in which international organizations (IOs) are becoming increasingly independent sites of authority. This internationalization of authority is often considered as an indication of the constitutionalization of the global legal order. However, this project highlights that IOs can also exercise authority in an authoritarian fashion which violates the same constitutionalist principles of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law that IOs are usually expected to promote. It is thus an open question which post-Westphalia we are in fact heading to: a constitutionalized order, an authoritarian order, or a combination of both? Based on a conceptualization of post-Westphalian orders as a two-dimensional continuum linking the ideal-typical endpoints of constitutionalism and authoritarianism, we analyze the UN security system and the EU economic system as two post-Westphalian orders. While we find a remarkable level of constitutionalization in the EU and incipient constitutionalist tendencies in the UN, we also find authoritarian sub-orders in both institutions. Most visibly, the latter can be discerned in the UN Security Council’s counter-terrorism policy after 9/11 and the European emergency governance during the sovereign debt crisis. The project thus argues that the emerging post-Westphalian order is characterized by a plurality of fundamentally contradictory (sub-)orders coexisting in parallel.

Varieties of Indirect Governance (Prof. Dr. Bernhard Zangl with Ken Abbott, Philipp Genschel, and Duncan Snidal)

Governors – domestic, international and private – frequently lack key capacities needed to achieve their policy goals. In such cases, governors must work with or through third parties, rendering governance indirect. Four general modes of indirect governance have been observed and discussed in the literature, although not in unified fashion. These modes are defined, first, by whether intermediaries with sufficient authority are available (cooptation, orchestration) or whether the governor must endow actors with authority (delegation, trusteeship); and, second, by whether the governor can exert hard control over intermediaries (delegation, cooptation) or is limited to soft influences (trusteeship, orchestration). We introduce these governance modes in terms of their analytic similarities and differences, consider the governance problems for which each is best suited, examine their workings and implications, and investigate their stability over time. To illustrate their importance and operation, we draw on a wide range of examples ranging from international organizations, peace-keeping, central bank autonomy to the management of dependent states.

When and how do International Organizations Adapt to Power Transitions? Prof. Dr. Bernhard Zangl

The rise of emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil and the ensuing decline of established powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France is considered to be prone to international conflict. Power transition theories (PTTs) expect emerging powers to ask for the adaptation of the international order and the underlying international institutions to the new (power) realities, while established powers prefer to keep untouched the time-tested international order and the underlying international institutions. PT theorists thus generally agree that emerging powers aim at gaining the very same institutional privileges that established powers want to preserve for themselves; they disagree, however, whether and when the resulting conflicts can be dealt with cooperatively. Pessimist PT theorists expect non-cooperation and institutional stalemate (or worse), while optimist PT theorists expect cooperation and institutional adaptation. Empirically, we see both at the same time: institutional stalemate in some institutions and institutional adaptation in others. While agreement could be reached to adapt voting rights in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to emerging powers’ demands, attempts to adapt permanent seats and voting rights in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to altered power realities resulted in failure. Thus, against what most PT theorists would hold, power transitions as such cannot explain whether emerging and established powers are able to agree on institutional adaptation. The ambition of this project is to refine power transition theories in this respect. Drawing on different variants of rational institutionalism in IR, we develop an institutionalist power transition theory (IPTT) which specifies the conditions and mechanisms of international institutions’ adaptation to power transitions among their member states.