Michael Zürn

Michael Zürn
WZB Berlin Social Science Center · Research Unit Global Governance

Prof. Dr.

About

295
Publications
51,306
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Introduction
Director of the Research Unit Global Governance at WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Professor of International Relations at Freie Universität Berlin.
Additional affiliations
June 2004 - present
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Position
  • Managing Director
June 2004 - present
Freie Universität Berlin
Position
  • Professor
May 2004 - August 2009
Hertie School of Governance
Position
  • Founding Dean

Publications

Publications (295)
Article
Abstract: This contribution sketches a conceptualization of authority and rule in Global Governance. The core of this conception is in line with the tradition of the sociology of domination “deference”, not “resistance”. This logic of deference builds on epistemic foundations and thus is able to see and criticize forms of authority and rule that do...
Book
Functional differentiation has long been at the heart of sociological thought, and as such has become a defining feature in the evolution of modern society; one which distinguishes it from pre-modern societies which have instead typically differentiated by means of segmentation, or stratified social systems such as class. Drawing on the latest deve...
Article
We can observe some developments that indicate a further strengthening of human rights and the rule of law even after 2001. These developments are puzzling as they occurred despite largely unfavourable scope conditions. This article offers an account of these developments that focuses on dynamics endogenous to the law. These internal dynamics provi...
Article
World politics is no longer a matter of executive multilateralism and technocratic expert decisions. What we see instead is the politicization of international institutions – a twofold process of growing resistance to and the more intensive utilization of these institutions. After providing evidence for this claim, this article develops proposition...
Chapter
World politics discourse is full of responsibility demands to prevent genocides, to promote democracy, to fight terrorism, to feed the starving, to save the environment, to halt sexual violence against women, to manage economic crises, to contain epidemics, and so forth (Hansen-Magnusson and Vetterlein 2015). Addressees of these demands are various...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this working paper, we aim to make the amorphous concept of “liberal script” more tangible, manifest, and concrete. We do so in three steps. First, we elaborate on the added value of the term “script” for the social sciences. While “script” has been used in other disci-plinary contexts, we translate it to the social scienc-es by delineating it f...
Article
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International organizations (IOs) are perceived as increasingly important, yet also severely challenged actors in world politics. How authoritative are IOs, how do they exercise authority, and how has their authority evolved over time? The International Authority Database (IAD) offers a novel measure of IO authority built from several aspects of an...
Article
Full-text available
Why did we witness such a strong growth of anti-liberal forces twenty-five years after the triumph of liberalism? The answer is twofold. First, authoritarian populism has not sneaked into a given political space but is co-constitutive of a new cleavage in most modern societies. Authoritarian populists speak to the issues of this cleavage. Second, t...
Article
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The increasing density and entanglement of international law and institutions leads to a growing potential for collisions between norms and rules emanating from different international institutions. It is an open question, however, when actors actually create manifest conflicts about overlapping norms and rules and how – and with what consequences...
Article
Compelling visions of how political institutions can be effective and democratic in handling globalization problems is one of our most important predicaments. Political institutions always were deficient in that they were hardly fully effective and democratic. During the prime of liberal democracies, their problem-solving capacity was limited, and...
Article
The 1990s saw a systemic shift from the liberal post–World War II international order of liberal multilateralism (LIO I) to a post–Cold War international order of postnational liberalism (LIO II). LIO II has not been only rule-based but has openly pursued a liberal social purpose with a significant amount of authority beyond the nation-state. While...
Article
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This response to my critics discusses four claims that are central for A Theory of Global Governance . The first claim is that observing a high level of conflict and contestation in world politics is not proof of the unimportance of global governance, since many of the current conflicts and contestations are about international institutions. The se...
Article
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This conclusion to a special issue on backlash politics develops a proto-theory of backlash politics. The special issue’s introduction defined backlash politics as a particular form of political contestation with a retrograde objective as well as extraordinary goals or tactics that has reached the threshold level of entering mainstream public disco...
Article
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Despite the widespread sense that backlash is an important feature of contemporary national and world politics, there is remarkably little scholarly work on the politics of backlash. This special issue conceptualises backlash politics as a distinct form of contentious politics. Backlash politics includes the following three necessary elements: (1)...
Article
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One of the most important features of the multi-level governance research programme is the parallel conceptualisation of the vertical and the horizontal relationships within multi-level governance systems. Different systems of multi-level governance are characterised by the relationships between political institutions on the same level (Are there m...
Article
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The omnipresence of radical uncertainty asks for a concept of causality that moves beyond the notion of predicted probabilities. Protean power is a most important contribution to move International Relations research in this direction. Yet, some of the key components need further grounding in existing concepts and debates. First, protean power shou...
Article
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Fragmentation, institutional overlaps, and norm collisions are often seen as fundamental problems for the global (legal) order. Supposedly, they incite conflict and disorder. However, some scholars have also emphasized functional and normative advantages of the resulting institutional pluralism. We argue that the consequences of the increasing inte...
Article
Der Artikel trägt zur Diskussion bei, die Floris Biskamp, Michael Hartmann und Carsten Nickel angestoßen haben. In einem ersten Schritt begründe ich die Wahl der Begriffe Kommunitarismus und Kosmopolitismus zur Kennzeichnung der neuen gesellschaftlichen Konfliktlinie. Der entscheidende Punkt ist dabei, dass die neue Konfliktlinie nicht, wie alle bi...
Article
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The G20 has two distinctive features that make it a unique forum in global politics. First, it is one of the few existing global platforms where different international institutions and regional organisations can coordinate across a vast array of issue areas and emergent policy fields. Second, it is an institution that brings together heads of gove...
Article
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Recent mobilization against core tenets of the liberal international order suggests that international institutions lack sufficient societal legitimacy. We argue that these contestations are part of a legitimation dynamic that is endogenous to the political authority of international institutions. We specify a mechanism in which international autho...
Chapter
This chapter is a comment on Jean d’Aspremont’s suggestion that the very question of the rise and decline of international law is an expression of liberal thinking as predominant in international law and that the conception of non-state actors depends on liberal theory. While there is no doubt that both the question about the rise and decline of in...
Chapter
The introduction develops a framework for analysing demands for change put forward towards contemporary world orders by both rising power and NGOs. It identifies two significant changes in world politics over the last two decades: the rise of new powers, and the rise of international authority. Against this backdrop, we present the conceptual tools...
Chapter
The concluding chapter draws together the findings and compares them across chapters, issue areas, and actors. Three findings are most noteworthy. First, the demands of both rising powers and NGOs can be characterized as in some cases status quo oriented and in others reformist. There are only a few signs of revisionism. Second, the challengers do...
Article
Cambridge Core - Political Sociology - The Struggle Over Borders - edited by Pieter de Wilde
Article
Full-text available
The current literature on politicization can be separated into three groups: politicization within national political systems, of the EU, and of international institutions. In spite of speaking about a similar phenomenon based on a common definition, these three strands of literature do not interact with each other and display, beyond the definitio...
Article
Full-text available
While legitimacy dynamics are paramount in global governance, they have been insufficiently recognized, conceptualized, and explained in standard accounts of international cooperation. This special issue aims to advance the empirical study of legitimacy and legitimation in global governance. It engages with the question of when, how, and why intern...
Chapter
The concept of the state has proven itself to be too narrow in many ways. It is only partially—or not at all—suitable when looking at systems of rule in antiquity and the Middle Ages. This also applies to forms of denationalised rule in the wake of globalisation. Therefore, it appears advisable to supplement the overly narrow concept of the state w...
Article
Full-text available
The DFG research group, "Overlapping Spheres of Authority and Interface Conflicts in the Global Order" (OSAIC), focuses on the rise of interface conflicts within and across overlapping spheres of authority. The increased institutional production of norms in the international realm leads to both horizontal interface conflicts at the same level of go...
Article
In the latest contribution to the Democracy Papers, Michael Zürn explores the roots of authoritarian populism. He argues that authoritarian populist politics is an expression of a new political cleavage: between cosmopolitans and communitarians. This cleavage emerged in the wake of post–World War II grand bargains to tame the class conflict and is...
Book
This book offers a major new theory of global governance, explaining both its rise and what many see as its current crisis. The author suggests that world politics is now embedded in a normative and institutional structure dominated by hierarchies and power inequalities and therefore inherently creates contestation, resistance, and distributional s...
Article
This article aims to contribute to the third generation of global governance research by unfolding the concept of a global governance system consisting of normative principles and patterns of authority relationships and legitimation. The goal is to formulate a positive theory that goes beyond the negative descriptions of global governance as post-i...
Chapter
Die Frage nach der Möglichkeit und den Merkmalen von Ordnung in der Weltpolitik markiert den Bündelungspunkt in Klaus Dieter Wolfs Arbeiten. Seine Dissertation mit dem Titel „Die dritte Seerechtskonferenz der Vereinten Nationen: Beiträge zur Reform der internationalen Ordnung und Entwicklungstendenzen im Nord-Süd Verhältnis“ aus dem Jahre 1981 mach...
Article
Human rights violations by international organisations (IOs) are a possible side effect of their growing authority. Recent examples are the cases of sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers and violations caused by IMF austerity measures. In response, IOs increasingly develop safeguards to protect human rights from being violated through their polici...
Article
Power Shift: On the New Global Order, Richard Falk (London: Zed Books, 2016), 300 pp., $95 cloth, $19.95 paper. - Volume 31 Issue 3 - Michael Zürn
Article
This article develops a reason-based social foundation of new forms of authority, which often are liquid and sectorally limited. The recognition of authority hinges, in this view, on reflexive actors who are aware of their own limits of rationality regarding the lack of either information or a perspective that allows for the pursuit of common goods...
Preprint
Full-text available
While legitimacy dynamics are paramount in global governance, they have been insufficiently recognized, conceptualized, and explained in standard accounts of international cooperation. This special issue aims to spearhead the empirical study of legitimacy and legitimation in global governance. It addresses the overarching question of when, how, and...
Chapter
Die von Wolfgang Merkel geschilderten Erosionsprozesse der eingebetteten Demokratie versuche ich im ersten Schritt dieses Beitrags als Folgewirkungen einer reduzierten Eff ektivität zu beschreiben. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser These – so der zweite Schritt in der Argumentation – ist die demokratietheoretische Kritik an Kompetenztransfers an die Europ...
Chapter
International organizations (IOs) were traditionally not deemed to be actors capable of violating international law, generally, or human rights law, specifically. They were either considered too weak to actually do wrong, or, if something did go wrong, it was assumed that it was the member states’ fault. With IOs having become sites of authority an...
Book
International organizations (IOs) develop institutional provisions to make sure that their policies do not violate human rights. Accordingly, whilst IOs have a greater scope of action and ability to promote collective goods than ever before, they also have a greater capacity to do harm. Based on ten case studies on UN and EU sanctions policy, UN an...
Chapter
How do international organizations (IOs) react to complaints about the violation of human rights when they exercise authority over individuals? We can show empirically that, in recent years, IOs have progressively introduced provisions for the protection of human rights. They have committed themselves to fundamental legal principles associated with...
Article
Full-text available
Economic, cultural and political systems formerly bounded by the borders of nation states are increasingly globalized. Politicians, civil society and other societal actors engage in publically debating issues related to globalization. Whether conflicts consolidate to form a stable cleavage depends among other factors on the extent to which they bec...
Article
In this commentary, an outside perspective, mainly informed by International Relations (IR) and Political Theory (PT), is taken. From there, three issues are identified that point to the next steps in extending the research programme on politicisation. First, it is argued that an exclusive focus on public media might be too narrow in scope, as impo...
Article
Die Entscheidungen der Europäischen Union (EU) blieben der breiten Be-völkerung lange Zeit verborgen. Die Liberalisierung europäischer Ökono-mien wurde häufig nationalen Regierungen zugeschrieben, während die Mehrheit der Bürger die EU vor allem mit einer ausufernden Bürokratie in Verbindung brachte, die auch nicht vor Bananen und Traktorsitzen Hal...
Chapter
Sovereign equality—the idea that all sovereign states are formally equal—is a fundamental tenet of international law, many international institutions, and much international relations theorizing. This chapter analyzes the origins of the sovereign equality concept and its contested nature, the claim that institutions can equalize relations among oth...
Chapter
This chapter examines the question of sovereignty and the external side of statehood. It begins by analyzing the effects of internationalization on the state before turning to a discussion of traditional sovereignty as a concept with several components, each corresponding to the internal components of the modern state. It then considers whether sov...
Article
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In der heutigen globalisierten Welt sind die Menschen auf vielfältige, nicht nur wirtschaftliche Weise miteinander verbunden, nationale Grenzen spielen immer weniger eine Rolle. Zur Lösung globaler Probleme haben sich in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten komplexe Formen globalen Regierens entwickelt, in der Fachwelt Global Governance genannt.
Article
Full-text available
Samuel Huntington gilt zu Recht als einer der bedeutendsten Politikwissenschaftler in der zweiten Hälfte dieses Jahrhunderts. Seine Beiträge zur Modernisierungstheorie und zur Ausbreitung der Demokratie – wiewohl nie unumstritten – prägten das Fach. Seine Publikationen zeichneten sich zumeist durch das äußerst lebendige Zusammenspiel von Imaginatio...
Article
This contribution sketches a conceptualization of authority and rule in Global Governance. The core of this conception is in line with the tradition of the sociology of domination "deference", not "resistance". This logic of deference builds on epistemic foundations and thus is able to see and criticize forms of authority and rule that do not come...
Book
The observation that the international institutional order has proven highly resilient in the face of exogenous shocks, while at the same time undergoing significant changes, has focused scholarly attention on questions of "institutional development" This book addresses the challenge of explaining both stability and change in international institut...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Dieses WZB Diskussionspapier befasst sich mit der im Rahmen des Brückenprojekts „Die politische Soziologie des Kosmopolitismus und Kommunitarismus“ durchgeführten representative claims analyis. Es dient als methodologische Grundlage für die Interpretation der hierbei entstandenen Datensammlung sowie den aus ihr folgenden Erkenntnissen. Darüber hina...
Chapter
Full-text available
Fördert die gesellschaftliche Denationalisierung den deliberativen Supranationa-lismus? 2 Wird im Zuge der Globalisierung das Prinzip der allgemeinen Partizipa­ tion durch eines der Repräsentation aller denkbaren Gesichtspunkte ersetzt? Welchen Einfluss hat die Denationalisierung sozialer Handlungszusammenhänge und die Entstehung intrusiver interna...
Chapter
Full-text available
Der europäische Einigungsprozess war lange Zeit ein vornehmlich elitengesteuertes Projekt. Nach der Gründungsphase, in der die Väter der Europäischen Einigung primär außenpolitisch motiviert waren (Milward, The European Rescue of the Nation-State, 1992), griffen mit den Römischen Verträgen zunehmend ökonomische Interessen, die das Gros der Aushandl...
Article
Dieser Beitrag untersucht, wie IOs auf die gestiegenen Legitimitätsanforderungen reagieren, wenn sie Autorität über Individuen ausüben und mithin Menschenrechte verletzen können oder auch tatsächlich verletzen. Empirisch können wir zeigen, dass solche IOs seit einigen Jahren vermehrt Verfahren zum Schutz der Menschenrechte einrichten, die Präventio...
Article
Full-text available
In this WZB Discussion Paper we develop an analytical framework for the research project ‘Contested World Orders’, a collaborative effort between researchers based at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), and the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). In this project, we analyse the inte...
Article
Full-text available
This commentary takes up conceptual issues raised in the introduction. Discussing the contributions to this volume, we offer three points. First, the concept of fragmentation needs theoretical clarification, which can be provided to some extent by sociological differentiation theory. We suggest a typology of different types of fragmentation. Second...
Article
Climate engineering technologies, sometimes also referred to as geoengineering technologies, attempt to ward off the worst effects of climate change by intervening in the global climate system. We see the potentials offered by climate engineering technologies in counteracting the threats of climate change but also take into account the risks that a...
Chapter
Einführende Überblicke zum politikwissenschaftlichen Teilgebiet ‚Internationale Beziehungen‘ beginnen häufig mit einer Beschreibung des Gegenstands internationale Beziehungen als der Analyse von Politik in einem anarchischen System souveräner Nationalstaaten. Darauf folgt dann eine Darstellung der unterschiedlichen Analyseperspektiven entlang der d...
Book
Die Analysen und Hypothesen dieses Buches machen die Politisierung der internationalen Institutionen – insbesondere der EU – erfaßbar und verständlich. Seit dem Zusammenbruch der US-amerikanischen Großbank Lehman Brothers im September 2008 – dem Beginn der Finanzkrise – erleben wir eine umfassende Politisierung der internationalen Finanzpolitik un...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
When the Cold War ended, Western-liberal democracy and market economy seemed to have emerged as the most successful model for social development. 25 years later, the liberal order faces fundamental global as well as domestic challenges, among them Islamist terrorism as well as authoritarian and illiberal states. Within Western societies, mostly right-wing populist movements proclaim to accept liberal values while contesting their content at the same time. The proposed Excellence Cluster “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) shall examine the current controversies over the liberal model of order from broad historical, global, and comparative perspectives. In addition to Freie Universität Berlin as the host institution, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), and five other academic institutions in Berlin are involved in the initiative. SCRIPTS draws on the superb expertise of the social sciences and comparative area studies available in Berlin, including Western and non-Western perspectives, quantitative and qualitative methods, generalizing theories, and local bodies of knowledge. To enhance the multiplicity of perspectives, institutional partnerships with universities in all regions of the world have been developed. At the same time, the initiative seeks to work closely with local political and cultural institutions in the German capital.
Project
The project involves the analysis of the evolution of world order, its underlying normative differences and conflicts as well as the question of the legitimacy of international authority. The aim is to link together the participating Leibniz Institutes (besides the WZB, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, and the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Frankfurt am Main) using a common analytical framework that integrates the concepts of "rising powers", "opposition, dissidence and justice" and "politicization" which have been separately analysed in the three institutes. In this way, it should be possible to study the emergence and forms of political authority beyond the nation-state, its politicization on the part of the "rising powers" and non-state actors, as well as associated implications for the peacefulness of world order.
Project
The research group, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), focuses on the rise of interface conflicts within and across overlapping spheres of authority. The increased institutional production of norms in the international realm leads to both horizontal interface conflicts at the same level of governance (e.g. between international institutions) and vertical interface conflicts across different levels (e.g. between international and national authorities). Under which conditions become such conflicts manifest? What are the responses to conflicting norms and rules within and across overlapping spheres of authority? If responses are justified with reference to normative principles, what are these principles and how are they operationalized concretely? What consequences do the different ways of responding to interface conflicts have for the global order as a whole? With these questions, the research group moves beyond the study of issue-area specific international institutions or organizations, and targets the question of the international order understood as a system of overlapping and interacting spheres of authority. The interdisciplinary research group consists of thematic sub-projects in the fields of international relations and (international) law from Freie Universität Berlin, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva), Helmut-Schmidt-Universität (Hamburg), Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University of Potsdam, and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.