Special Section published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding

Alex Veit guest-edited the special section entitled "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence" in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (Vol. 13,4). The section is part of the research project "International Intervention against sexualised violence in conflict regions. Intended and unintended consequences", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Project member Lisa Tschörner co-authored one of the articles.


Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on ‘The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence’

by Alex Veit

Abstract: The prevention and mitigation of sexual and gender-based violence in (post-) conflict societies has become an important humanitarian activity. This introductory article examines the analytical discourses on these interventions, the institutionalization of SGBV expertise in international politics, and the emancipatory potential of anti-SGBV practices. It argues that the confluence of feminist professional activism and militarized humanitarian interventionism produced specific international activities against SGBV. As part of the institutionalization of gender themes in international politics, feminist emancipatory claims have been taken up by humanitarian organizations. The normal operating state of the humanitarian machine, however, undercuts its potential contribution to social transformation towards larger gender equality in (post-) conflict societies.

‘A Real Woman Waits’ – Heteronormative Respectability, Neo-Liberal Betterment and Echoes of Coloniality in SGBV Programming in Eastern DR Congo

by Charlotte Mertens and Henri Myrttinen

Drawing on archival and field research, this article critically examines the production and distribution of gender roles and expectations in SGBV programming, in particular in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find the underlying currents in some of these programmes reinscribe heteronormativity and focus on individual betterment which resonates with regulating gender and sexuality during colonialism. In some cases, strongly western-inspired norms of individual agency have been introduced, disregarding structural constraints of people’s lives. To conclude, we explore alternative approaches to SGBV prevention, ones in which international approaches are re-defined and vernacularized for local use – but which also at times inform global understandings.

‘Without Education You Can Never Become President’: Teenage Pregnancy and Pseudo-empowerment in Post-Ebola Sierra Leone

by Anne Menzel

This article analyses the emergence of ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a new policy focus in post-Ebola Sierra Leone and explores how Sierra Leoneans interpret the problem of ‘teenage pregnancy’. I argue that the new policy focus is not indicative of changing or new problems. Rather, ‘teenage pregnancy’ has created opportunities for donors and the Government of Sierra Leone to continue cooperation in gender politics. At the same time, Sierra Leoneans are clearly concerned about ‘teenage pregnancy’, and many agree with sensitization campaigns that responsibilize young women and girls while downplaying structural factors that render them vulnerable to arrangements involving transactional sex.

Creative appropriation: academic knowledge and interventions against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Alex Veit and Lisa Tschörner

Recent academic research has questioned assumptions about sexual violence in (post-) conflict contexts. Gender norms rather than military decision-making have been found to constitute a major underlying reason for wartime sexual violence. In this contribution, we investigate whether international organisations seeking to prevent sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accordingly changed their analytical perspectives and modified policies and programming. We find that many, but not all, such organisations creatively appropriate new academic work in their policy and project documents. However, incentives for continuity in the humanitarian field have slackened the pace of any substantive practical changes.

Prof. Dr. Birgit MahnkopfProf. Dr. Birgit Mahnkopf
Birgit Mahnkopf gives the Senghaas Lecture 2019

On 27.11.2019 at 19:00 the 5th Dieter-Senghaas-Lecture will take place at the Haus der Wissenschaft, Sandstr. 4/5, Bremen. Prof. Dr. Birgit Mahnkopf will report on the "War against the Planet and the Perspectives of World Order Policy at Tipping Points of Human Development".

All interested citizens are invited to this event.

Birgit Mahnkopf is Professor of European Social Policy at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. She has become known to a wider audience through her book "Die Grenzen der Globalisierung" (together with Elmar Altvater).

With the Dieter Senghaas Lectures, the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) pays tribute to the life and work of one of the most internationally renowned and respected peace and conflict researchers, who has been teaching and researching at the University of Bremen since 1978 and was a co-founder of InIIS. 

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Projekt „A05: The global development, diffusion and transformation of education systems“

job advertisement as pdf

The research project “The global development, diffusion and transformation of education systems” which is part of the DFG funded Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" (SFB 1342) is searching for the position of
student assistant (30h per month).
The recruitment is expected to take place on 01.10.2019 for a period of three months, possibly longer.
The main task is to support the data collection within the quantitative part of the project. Documents and country reports will be used to collect historical and up-to-date information on education systems in over 160 countries. Interest in, or even previous knowledge of, educational sociology or policy and globalisation is desirable, but not a prerequisite. The same applies to knowledge of quantitative methods.
We offer an insight into an interesting field of work and a friendly team. Salary is based on the usual rates for student assistants at the University of Bremen.
Your application should include a short curriculum vitae and your study focus or interests. A current excerpt of the transcripts of records should also be enclosed.
The closing date for applications is 30.08.2019. Applications should be made by e-mail, to be sent to
Fabian Besche,
Helen Seitzer,