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Laufende Dissertationen


Moritz Wiesenthal
Titel: Bending the legislative backbone: Party Group Competition and Committees in the European Parliament


Two organisational features decisively shape the work of virtually all parliaments around the world: committees and parties. Committees, broadly defined as an internal subunit of legislatures equipped with specific competences (Martin 2014a, S. 352), allow for an efficient division of parliamentarian labour, the acquisition of expertise and deliberation processes away from the limelight of the plenary. Parties, on the other hand, are considered to constitute a central element of democratic systems that provide ideologic benchmarks, transport societal demands into the political system and help to solve collective action problems within legislatures. If committees can be considered to form the “body and brain”, parties consequently constitute the “heart” of modern legislatures. Both significantly shape legislative behaviour and, ultimately, the choice of public policy.

But which factors determine the interaction between both? Does a strong committee system limit the power of parties to control their members? Or do parties instrumentalise committees to promote partisan and party leadership interests? And if one of these hypotheses holds, what consequences for democracy and policy choice follow? The purpose of this book is to shed light on these questions from various empirical angles in the context of the “world’s most far-reaching experiment in transnational democracy” (Corbett et al. 2016, S. 3): The European Parliament.

Beginn: 10/2018

Anna Görg
Titel: Geöffnete Grenzen für niedrigqualifizierte Arbeitsimmigration. Eine QCA-Studie zu Determinanten migrationspolitischer Entscheidungsprozesse


Niedrigqualifizierte Arbeitsimmigration in den Niedriglohnsektor ist in westlichen Demokratien die umstrittenste und oft am stärksten limitierte Form der Einwanderung. Doch trotz wiederkehrenden, hitzigen öffentlichen Debatten um „Wirtschaftsflüchtlinge“ und „Einwanderung in die Sozialsysteme“ entscheiden sich Regierungen immer wieder für Einreise- und Arbeitsmöglichkeiten, die auf eben jene Gruppe von Migrant*innen abzielen, wie z.B. Gastarbeiter*innen- oder Saisonarbeiter*innen-Programme. Dabei bestehen oft recht unterschiedliche institutionelle, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Kontexte, in denen sich Politiker*innen für diese vermeintlich unerwünschte Form der Immigration entscheiden.

Wie trotz variierender Bedingungen das gleiche Ergebnis erzielt wird, kann in der Forschung zu Migrationspolitik bislang theoretisch nicht erklärt werden. In der aktuellen Forschung zu migrationspolitischen Entscheidungen wird deutlich, dass sowohl institutionelle, interessensbasierte und politisch-kulturelle Aspekte hier eine Rolle spielen. Doch wo in diesem Politikbereich die Schwerpunkte liegen, welche Sphäre einflussreich ist und welche nicht, ist ungewiss.

Diese Dissertation setzt sich zum Ziel, diese Lücke mittels einer Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) zu schließen. Hierfür werden entsprechende Gesetzesakte der OECD-Staaten im Zeitraum 2008 bis 2017 anhand institutioneller, interessensbasierter und politisch-kultureller Bedingungen untersucht.

Beginn: 10/2016

Janna Hartmann
 Titel: Dissolution of Consensus - Turning points of international cooperation


International Relations (IR) literature extensively deals with the emergence and the extension of cooperation as well as with the expansion of existing international unions, for example the European Union (EU). The opposite process, on the other hand, receives far less attention even though there have been more and more cases of withdrawals from previously existing cooperation agreements in the last years. Examples of this development are, inter alia, the (announced or completed) withdrawals of the USA and Israel from UNESCO (2018), of the USA from the UN Human Rights Council (2018), of the USA from the Paris Climate Convention (2019), of the USA and Russia from the INF disarmament treaty (2019), and the Brexit (2020).

The dissertation departs from this observation of an accumulation of similar cases in the last years. Specifically, it follows the working hypothesis that changes of the domestic societal discourse strongly influence decisions for or against international cooperation while the direction and intensity of this influence depends on the governmental system of the respective state. As a whole, the aim is, on the one hand, to contribute to answering the question in which ways the structure of national political systems mediates between domestic societal discourses and international political outcomes. On the other hand, the project intends to contribute to a better understanding of specific cases of withdrawals from international cooperation. Referring to IB theories about the extension and the decrease of international cooperation, this dissertation also aims to stimulate the theoretical debate. 

Beginn: 10/2019 

Rawina Trautmann
Kurdish women's political violence: An extensive study of the female Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan


While the question of why people become politically violent may be as old as mankind itself, the question of whether men and women have different motivations adds to the complexity of this issue. Even though there has been extensive research on several politically violent groups containing prominent female members, there has been comparatively minimal research on the female Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan. Female Kurdish fighters reveal an oxymoron regarding women's roles in Kurdish society: On the one hand, Kurdish society is shaped by honor-based violence, self-immolation, female genital mutilation, and domestic violence. On the other hand, Kurdish female fighters, who have most recently gained international recognition for the fight against ISIS, portray an image of gender equality, where men and women fight together. A strong contradiction can be seen here: Gender discrimination in the private sphere, but gender equality in the armed forces, which is the public sphere. How can this be explained? When and why do women become politically violent and join the armed forces? When and why do armed groups, which are also shaped by this patriarchal society, integrate women into their ranks?
The purpose of this single case study is to describe and explain when and why women become politically violent in Iraqi Kurdistan. It aims to offer a comprehensive analysis of Kurdistan's history, culture, politics, and the status of Kurdish women. Theoretically, it seeks to contribute to theoretical debates regarding gender and security, nationalism, and militarism.

Beginn: 10/2020

Linda Walter
Titel: Networked Empathy - The Social Web as Enabler for Universal Human Rights
Over the last decades human rights often served as all-purpose weapon for justification and condemnation of political decision-making and individual behavior. However, despite their prominent role, human rights are violated as much as ever. The research project focuses on this contradiction and aims to understand and resolve it by focusing on the individual level of human rights and the role, the social web can play in changing moral judgment.
In a first step it is argued that the reasons for the high number of human rights violations despite a political unanimous condemnation can be found in the fact that the unanimity is only a theoretical political one based on deliberative rational argumentation – it is not taking into account the individual human being with its emotional and social nature. Based on Jonathan Haidt’s “Social Intuitionist Model” it is stated that moral judgments (the basis for a supportive attitude towards human rights) are based on emotional intuition and social context and not on rational argumentation.
Consequently, to change moral judgments in favor of human rights, it is necessary to focus on emotional storytelling and social interaction on an individual basis. The functionality of the social web is based exactly on these patterns. Structurally, individuals use the social web to strengthen and prolong connections to acquaintances. With regard to contents, individuals share personal experiences and emotional stories. Consequently, the social web is the port of call for a social intuitionist human rights education.
Beginn: 05/2013