Institut für Weltgesellschaft
Institute for World Society Studies
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Thorsten Bonacker

is professor of peace and conflict studies at the Center for Conflict Studies, University of Marburg. His research comprises constructivist approaches to conflict and security research, transitional justice as a global model of dealing with past human rights violations, the diffusion and localization of global institutions, and the politics of international administrations. He is especially interested in processes of political and societal transformation in Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Beyond that he is also member of the steering committee of the research network on “Re-Konfiguration. History, remembrance and transformation processes in the Middle East and North Africa”.

Recent publications:

  • “Victims of International Crimes: An Interdisciplinary Discourse” (ed. with Christoph Safferling), Asser Press: Den Haag.
  • “Global Victimhood. On the Charisma of the Victim in Transitional Justice Processes”, in: World Political Science Review 9, 1, 97-129.
  • “Entstehung und Zerfall von Autorität in der Weltpolitik. Eine differenzierungstheoretische Perspektive“, in: Stephan Stetter (Hg.): Ordnung und Wandel in der Weltpolitik. Konturen einer Soziologie der internationalen Beziehungen, Leviathan Sonderband 28, 2013, 151-176 (with Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt).

Lothar Brock

Lothar Brock is senior professor of Political Science at Goethe University Frankfurt and guest researcher at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. Together with Mathias Albert and Klaus-Dieter Wolf he was a co-founder of the World Society Research Group in Frankfurt and Darmstadt. His research interests include the constitutionalization of international law, just peace, and the international protection of ‘civilians’ against mass atrocities in intra-state conflict.

Recent publications:

  • Brock, Lothar: The Model of „Just Peace” Suspended Between Justice and Peace, in: Werkner, Ines- Jacqueline/Rademacher, Dirk (Hrsg.): Protecting People – Loosing Just Peace? Debates on the Responsibility to Protect in the Context of Christian Peace Ethics, Berlin/Zürich: Lit Verlag 2013, 21-32.
  • Brock, Lothar: Dilemmata des internationalen Schutzes von Menschen vor innerstaatlicher Gewalt, in:Die Friedens-Warte 88: 1-2, 2013, 163-186.
  • Brock, Lothar/Holm, Hans-Henrik/Soerensen, Georg/Stohl, Michael: Fragile States. Violence and the Failure of Intervention, Cambridge (UK): Polity 2012, 194. S.
  • Brock, Lothar: Staatenordnung und Weltgesellschaft, in: ten Brink, Tobias (Ed.): Globale Rivalitäten.Staat und Staatensystem im globalen Kapitalismus, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner 2011, 45- 66.

Martin Bühler


Benjamin Davy


Hans Dieter Evers

emeritus Professor of Development Planning and former Dean of the Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld is one of the founding directors of the Institute for the Study of World Society. He is now Senior Fellow, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn and Eminent Visiting Professor, Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam. After finishing his postgraduate education in sociology, economics and geography at the University of Freiburg, Germany, he taught sociology at the Mannheim School of Economics, Monash University, at Yale University, where he was also Director of Graduate Southeast Asia Studies, University of Singapore (Head of Dept.) before joining Bielefeld University as the Chairman of the Sociology of Development Research Centre. He also served as Visiting Professor at the Singapore Management University, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universitas Gajah Mada, the EHESS (Paris), Trinity College (Oxford), the University of Hawaii, and as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. His current research is concerned with the governance of global maritime space, the South China Sea and knowledge governance.

Recent publications:

  • Menkhoff, Thomas, Hans-Dieter Evers, Yue Wah Chay, and Chang Yau Hoon (Eds.). 2014. Catalysts of Change: Chinese Business in Asia. New Jersey, Singapore, Beijing, London: World Scientific Publisher
  • Evers, Hans-Dieter. 2014. "Understanding the South China Sea: An Explorative Cultural Analysis." International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies 10(1):80-95.
  • Evers, Hans-Dieter. 2014. "Changing Ethnic Diversity in Peninsular Malaysia." Kajian Malaysia, Journal of Malaysian Studies 32(1).

Katja Freistein

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Centre "From Heterogeneity to Inequality" (SFB 882) in the project "Conceptions of Global Inequality in World Society". Her main research interests are international relations theory, international organisations and discourse theory. Current research projects deal with the semantics of global inequality (postdoc project), inequality as and international organisations and the myth of global civil society participation.

Recent publications:

  • Institutioneller Wandel im (Kon)Text der ASEAN. Sicherheitsgemeinschaft und Charta im Diskurs der ASEAN (Nomos)
  • "A Living Document": Promises of the ASEAN Charter. The Pacific Review 26:4 (2013).
  • Gouvernementalität und Regionales Regieren: Konkurrierende Ordnungsvorstellungen in der ASEAN, in: Staat - Souveränität - Nation. Beiträge zur aktuellen Staatsdiskussion (Andreas Vasilache (Ed.), Springer VS Verlag, 2013).
  • Organisation-im-Kommen: Intertextualer Institutionalismus in der Analyse von Weltorganisationen (with Philip Liste), in: Weltorganisationen (Martin Koch (Ed.)Springer VS Verlag, 2012).

Bettina Heintz

is Professor for Sociological Theory at the University of Lucerne. From 2004 to 2013 she was Professor at the Faculty of Sociology of Bielefeld University and Director of the Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg) “World Society – Making and Representing the Global“. Her research concentrates on world society theory, historical sociology, human rights and sociology of quantification.

Recent publications:

  • ‚Numerische Differenz. Überlegungen zu einer Soziologie des (quantitativen) Vergleichs‘, in: Zeitschrift fuer Soziologie, 2010, 39/3, S. 162-181.
  • ‚Welterzeugung durch Zahlen. Modelle politischer Differenzierung in internationalen Statistiken, 1948-2010‘, in: Cornelia Bohn et al. (Eds.), Welterzeugung durch Bilder. Sonderband der Zeitschrift Soziale Systeme, 2012, 18/1, S. 7-39.
  • ‚Menschenrechte in der Weltgesellschaft‘ (ed., together with B. Leisering), Frankfurt a.M.: Campus (2014) (in press).

Sebastian Hoggenmüller

is Scientific Researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences/Department Sociology at the University of Koblenz-Landau (on Landau Campus). He is a member of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Lucerne (GSL) in Switzerland, and is writing his hermeneutic-sociological doctoral thesis on the visual construction of globality. Furthermore, he teaches as guest lecturer at the Universities of Hannover and Lucerne.

Boris Holzer

Boris Holzer is Professor of Political Sociology at Bielefeld University. He earned his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has subsequently worked at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the University of Lucerne. His current research interests include political and economic sociology, social networks and globalization. Recent publications in these fields include the book Moralizing the Corporation (E. Elgar, 2010) and chapters in The Political Role of Corporate Citizens (ed. by K. S. Helgesson and U. Mörth, Palgrave 2013), in Netzwerke in der funktional differenzierten Gesellschaft (ed. by M. Bommes and V. Tacke, VS 2011) and, with G. Mutz, in Globalisierung Süd (ed. by A. Paul, A. Pelfini and B. Rehbein, VS 2010). He is currently preparing the edited volume From Globalization to World Society (co-ed. with F. Kastner and T. Werron, Routledge 2014), which focuses on neo-institutional and systems approaches to globalization.


Fatima Kastner

Fatima Kastner is professor for Theories of Globalization and Digital Transformation at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany. Having studied law, philosophy, and social sciences at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Collège International de Philosophie (CIPh) in Paris, she holds a Master and a Doctoral degree from the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main as well as a Habilitation from Bielefeld University. Fatima Kastner received several prizes, research grants and scholarships from the Hessian Academic Scholarship Foundation, the German Research Organization (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Quite recently she was awarded the Adam Podgorecki Prize by the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) in the category “outstanding achievements in socio-legal research”.

Her current research interests include Theories of Globalization, Sociology of Law and Global Constitutionalism, Theory of World Society and World Culture, Transitional Justice and Human Rights, Digital Society and Robot Law.

Her publications include:

  • Haben Roboter Rechte? Konstruktionen von Individualität und Personalität in der digitalen Gesellschaft. In: Eric Hilgendorf und Benno Zabel (Hrsg.), Die Idee subjektiver Rechte. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2019 (in print).
  • Academia in Transformation. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag 2018 (conjointly with Sarhan Dhouib, Florian Kohstall and Carola Richter).
  • Soziologie der Menschenrechte: Zur Universalisierung von Unrechtserfahrungen in der Weltgesellschaft. In: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 42, Heft 3. Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag 2017, pp. 217-236.
  • Transitional Justice in der Weltgesellschaft. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition 2015.
  • From Globalization to World Society. Neo-Institutional and Systems-Theoretical Perspectives. New York: Routledge 2015 (conjointly with Boris Holzer and Tobias Werron).
  • Niklas Luhmann. Law as a Social System. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008 (conjointly with Richard Nobles, David Schiff and Rosamund Ziegert).

Sven Kette

is lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland). His research interests include sociology of organizations; sociology of risk and regulation and sociological theory. Currently he is working on the Demographic Change as a challenge for organizations.

Karin Knorr-Cetina

Friederike Kuntz

is research associate in the DFG research project “The Concept of Sovereignty in the Transnational Constellation: A Reconfiguration of Political Normativity“ at the Department of Political Science at University of Trier. Her research interests include Theory and History of international relations; Knowledge Practice and Discourse Analysis; as well as Global Governance, Transnational Relations and the Transformation of Sovereign States’ Relations. Friederike Kuntz is currently working on her PhD thesis in which she focuses on the historical emergence of knowledge about the international and its implication for the sovereign states’ relation in historical-comparative perspective.


Gesa Lindemann

is Professor for Sociology/Sociological Theory at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg (Oldb), Germany. Her research interests are social theory and theory of society. One of her major concerns is to analyze human life and human dignity/freedom as foundational institutions of modern societies.

Recent publications:

(2009) „Das Soziale von seinen Grenzen her denken“ (Thinking the Social from its Borders), Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft
(2014) „Weltzugänge. Die mehrdimensionale Ordnung des Sozialen” (Making Sense of the World. The Multidimensional Order of the Social) Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft
Journal articles:
(2009) „Gesellschaftliche Grenzregime und soziale Differenzierung“ (Societal Border Regimes and Social Differentiation), in: Zeitschrift für Soziologie 38 (2): 94-112
(2010a) „Moralischer Status und menschliche Gattung – Versuch einer soziologischen Aufklärung“ (Moral Status and Human Species – a Sociological Enlightenment), in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 58 (3): 359-376
(2010b) „Die Emergenzfunktion des Dritten – ihre Bedeutung für die Analyse der Ordnung einer funktional differenzierten Gesellschaft, in: Zeitschrift für Soziologie 39 (6): 493-511

Bettina Mahlert

is lecturer at the Institute for Sociology at RWTH Aachen University. Her research interests include global inequality, development, sociology of time and quantification. In 2012, she completed her PhD thesis "The meaning of affluence. Niklas Luhmann, Talcott Parsons and Pierre Bourdieu on global inequalities". Her current research focuses on development indicators. It investigates how these numerical policy tools relate to time – for example, how they symbolically refer to past, present and future, and how they articulate with processes of social change. Recent publications include: "Soziale Ordnungsbildung durch Kollektivität: Luhmanns "Ebenenunterscheidung" und die moderne Weltgesellschaft. In: Interaktion – Organisation – Gesellschaft. Sonderband der Zeitschrift für Soziologie (Hrsg. Bettina Heintz und Hartmann Tyrell), Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius 2014 (in press)." "Talcott Parsons: A Sociological Theory of Action Systems. In: Darrell Arnold (Hrsg.), Traditions of Systems Theory: Major Figures and Developments, London/New York: Routledge, 2013."


Tamara Onnis

Is a Postdoctoral Researcher. She completed her PhD thesis, titled "Theorizing Regional Integration in the Caribbean: Neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)" at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German Research Foundation. Her research interests includes the investigation of internal and external economic, social and political factors affecting regional economic and political integration in CARICOM and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Recent publications:

  • "Applying Theories of European Integration to CARICOM: Liberal Intergovernmentalism and its possibilities" In publication.
  • "Addressing Non-Compliance through Restructuring CARICOM's Institutions" Working Paper
  • "The OECS in CARICOM: A Comparison of the OECS and the CSME Integration Schemes" Working Paper
  • "The Caribbean Community and Common Market" In: The Democratization of International Institutions: First International Democracy Report, edited by Giovanni Finizio Lucio Levi, Nicola Vallinoto. Routledge 2014
  • "Exporting Regional Integration: The European Union (EU) and the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM)" Sao Paulo, Brazil 2011
  • "Regions in World Society. A Macro-Sociological Approach on Comparative Regional Integration Studies" M. Albert and T. Onnis Washington, DC 2010
  • "Theories of Regional Integration and Comparative Politics, Why Compare?" Bremen 2010
  • "Local Governance and Regional Political Integration: Obsolete or Essential? A Case for the Local State" Jamaica (2009)

Sigrid Quack


Mitja Sienknecht

is a doctoral researcher at the chair for "European and International Politics" at European University Viadrina and a research associate of the project „The discursive construction of conflict and international organizational decision-making processes between normative frameworks of peacebuilding and securitization - the case of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)" at Bielefeld University, funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research. Her research focuses on world society theory and peace and conflict studies, the sociology of international relations, inclusion and exclusion processes of ethnic minorities and European Foreign and Security Policy. Current projects include research on global dimensions of intrastate conflicts – especially relations between ethnic minorities and international organizations (PhD project) as well as an article on UN interventions from a world society perspective (forthcoming in 2014, co-authored with Kerstin Eppert and Mathias Albert).

Stephan Stetter

is Professor of International Politics and Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Universität der Bundeswehr Munich. His research interests include sociological theories of world politics, EU foreign politics and politics, society and conflict in the Middle East. He is author of "World Society and the Middle East: Reconstructions in Regional Politics" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and has edited several books with sociological/world societal foci, inter alia "The Middle East and Globalization: Fractures and Horizons"  (Palgrave, 2012) and "Ordnung und Wandel in der Weltpolitik: Konturen einer Soziologie der Internationalen Beziehungen" (Nomos, 2013). With Carlo Masala, he is co-editor of the leading German-language political science journal, the Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen and one of the co-speakers of the IR section of the German Political Science Association.

Rudolf Stichweh


Ingrid Volkmer

University of Melbourne, Australia. She has held visiting positions at Harvard, MIT, University of Amsterdam, University of Vienna and London School of Economics. Her field of interest are globalized spheres of political communication and the influence on societies. She has published widely in this area. Among her recent publications: "The Handbook of Global Media Research" (Wiley Blackwell, 2012) and the monograph "The Global Public Sphere" (Polity, Cambridge, 2014).


Anja Weiß

Andreas Wimmer

was educated at the University of Zurich, from where he received a PhD in social anthropology in 1992 and a habilitation two years later. He joined Princeton University in 2012 as the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Associate in Politics. From 2014 onward he will direct Princeton's Fung Global Fellows Program. His research aims to understand the dynamics of nation-state formation, ethnic boundary making and political conflict from a comparative perspective. He has pursued these themes across the disciplinary fields of sociology, political science, and social anthropology and amateured in various methodological and analytical strategies: field research in Oaxaca (Mexico) and Iraq, comparative historical analysis, quantitative cross-national research, network studies, formal modeling, the analysis of large-scale survey data, as well as policy oriented research.

Recent publications:

  • “Waves of War. Nationalism, State-Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • “Ethnic Boundary Making. Institutions, Networks, Power”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Klaus Dieter Wolf

is Deputy Director of the Peace Institute Frankfurt am Main (PRIF) and Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences and History at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. His research interests include the role of non-state actors in global governance, in particular their contributions to just peace governance. He is co-author of "The Role of Business in Global Governance” (with Annegret Flohr et al., Palgrave MacMillan, 2010) and has co-edited several books related to transnational governance processes, inter alia, "The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime: Non State Actors in Security (with Anja P. Jakobi, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and “Corporate Security Responsibility? Corporate Governance Contributions to Peace and Security in Zones of Conflict” (with Nicole Deitelhoff, Palgrave MacMillan, 2010). He is principal investigator in the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” and Speaker of the Leibniz Research Alliance on “Crises in a Globalised World”.