News

Poster: War against the planetPoster: War against the planet
Krieg gegen den Planeten und die Perspektiven von Weltordnungspolitik an Kipppunkten der menschlichen Entwicklung

The 5th Dieter-Senghaas-Lecture will take place on November 27, 2019 in the Olbers-Saal in the Haus der Wissenschaft (7 pm). Prof. Dr. Birgit Mahnkopf talks about the "war against the planet". The event is supported by the Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Bremen. All interested people are cordially invited.

You can download the poster here (in pdf or png format).

Depending on their geographical and social origins, people have become a "geological factor", albeit to varying degrees, which has upset the climate balance of the Earth system and thus destroyed the "web of life" that has developed over billions of years. With the inclusion of all regions of the world in the economic and ecological system of capitalism, humanity now seems to have arrived at the "planetary threshold" identified by climate researchers. Beyond this threshold, irreversible massive and sudden consequences must be expected for all living beings: A development path towards a "hothouse" state that could last for tens to hundreds of thousands of years.

Is it conceivable that a progressive human development is possible under the conditions of collapsing ecosystems and an essential lack of "treasures of nature" that are indispensable for us? How likely is it that civilization of unavoidable conflicts and contemporary tolerance will emerge? In short, can we imagine a "world order in the fragmented world" (Dieter Senghaas) that gives peace a future or do we not have to understand the global problems as elements of a systemic crisis of capitalism that cannot be solved within this system?

Birgit Mahnkopf is Professor of European Social Policy at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. She is a member of the scientific advisory board of attac Deutschland, the board of trustees of the Institut Solidarische Moderne, and the advisory board of the Open Access journal Momentum Quarterly. Her work focuses on the economic, political and social dimensions of globalization as well as on European and international politics. She also deals with sociology of work and industrial relations as well as with economics and politics of education.

With this lecture series, the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) and the Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Bremen honour the life and work of the internationally renowned peace and conflict researcher, who has been teaching at the University of Bremen since 1978 and is the founder of InIIS. With the "civilising hexagon" he developed, which emphasises the possibilities of peaceful development in and between societies, he has created a paradigm that has made it into the Abitur tasks of German pupils and into the most important textbooks of international relations. His book "Zivilisierung wider Willen" ("Civilization Against Will") on the long and difficult process of sustainable peace-building in Europe has been translated into numerous languages, including Chinese, Arabic and Korean. His oeuvre includes 35 books written by him as well as 35 other books in which he was involved as editor or co-author.

Poster Poster "Guest Lecture Beate Jahn"
Guest Lecture With Beate Jahn

Guest Lecture, 25.11.2019, von 14:00-16:00 Uhr,  
InIIS, UNICOM, Somerville-Str. 7, Raum 7.2210).
Poster for Downlooad (PDF)

 Critical theory was originally designed in response to the experience of populism in the 1930s. No wonder, then, that many writers interpret the return of populism today as a failure of critical theory – giving rise to a debate about its shortcomings and to suggestions for reform. This paper shares the goal of this debate: to identify the tasks of critical theory in times of Brexit and Trump. But it departs from the current debate in two ways: by providing an empirical analysis that shows that critical theory – contra common assumptions – has been politically very successful; and by providing a thorough reconstruction of Horkheimer’s core assumptions underpinning critical theory and its relationship to political practice. This reveals that while critical theory was always intended to have a political impact, it could never guarantee the outcome. Indeed, in the process of shaping historical development, critical theory inevitably becomes part of a new reality that must be subjected to further critique. It is therefore reflection on its own success that allows critical theory to unlock an account of the new historical realities today and to regain its critical edge: not through the reform of its core assumptions but through their application to a new historical conjuncture.

Beate Jahn is Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex and President of the European International Studies Association (EISA).

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.

Contents:

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.