Completed PhD Research

Annalisa Addis

Linking Relief and Development. Case study: Ethiopia

Professor Dr. Bianca M. Carcangiu (Department of Social Sciences, University of Cagliari)
Professor Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum)

Humanitarian and development action are two different faces of charitable involvement in third-party countries, with the former focusing on crisis response and life-saving measures, whereas the latter is concerned with longer term improvement of living conditions. Besides having different objectives, the two types of action are guided by different principles. Yet, humanitarian crises often happen in areas that were already of concern for development actors, for instance due to vulnerabilities related to poor living conditions. As a result, the two ideally separate types of action end up being carried out in the same context. Furthermore, as many organisations with a humanitarian mandate also operate in development contexts, and vice-versa, it becomes more and more clear that the dichotomy between the two types of action is blurred, at least at operational level. Over the years, a number of approaches for better coordinating humanitarian and development actions have been elaborated, and are here referred to as 'Linking Relief and Development (LRD)', but they do not appear to have become mainstream. It is argued that different kinds of institutional pressures contribute to maintaining the humanitarian-development divide, even where collaboration happens on the ground. This research takes into examination the case of Ethiopia, a country where development efforts already coexist with humanitarian efforts in response to recurrent crises. Through a combination of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and desk research, institutional elements both pro and contra LRD are analysed.



Katharina Behmer

Local Negotiation of Global Norms in Post Conflict Societies: A Case Study on Gender in Peacebuilding

Professor Dr. Uwe Andersen (IFHV and Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

This PhD project seeks to understand how global norms are negotiated locally in post-conflict settings by examining hybrid forms of post-war prosecution in the context of transitional justice in Cambodia. In 2000 the UN Security Council released resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, recalling the need for a gender perspective in peace and security politics on all levels of engagement. One of the three pillars of the resolution is prosecution, which has also been subject of three follow-up resolutions. As global gender norms are frequently contested on national and/or local level, this specific set of norms will be used to understand norm contestation and negotiation in “global” areas.

Following the logic of constructivist international relations theory, norms, understood as intersubjective, widely shared beliefs about appropriate behavior, shape the action and interests of actors in world politics (cf. Finnemore/Sikkink 1999). Norm change therefore implies a deviation of previous assumptions about normality that naturally is accompanied by norm contestation and conflict in various dimensions and on different levels of interaction. Special emphasis will be given to the analysis of power relations in international prosecution processes. The project therefore studies the emerging system of global justice on the one hand and the complex interplay of global and local norms on the other hand from an international political science perspective. Moreover, the project advocates the establishment of the rule of law as means of peacebuilding and a gender perspective in the study of war and peace.



Katrin Fenrich

The Unexpected Effectiveness of Alternative Human Rights Mechanisms? – A Legal and Economic Analysis

Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Christoph Ohler (Faculty of Law, University of Jena)

The concept of Human Rights traditionally lacks effectiveness due to non-existing or insufficient enforcement mechanisms. The United Nations’ individual complaint procedures cannot provide the desirable protection of particularly vulnerable groups that is needed to guarantee a universal Human Rights standard. This PhD project seeks to analyse and compare alternative Human Rights mechanisms in order to use their yet undiscovered potential of effectiveness. The legal and economic research will examine the procedure of diplomatic protection, the compensational practice of international criminal courts and international investment law. The aim is to rediscover or open new paths to effective international protection of Human Rights.



Carolin Funke

Practices and Politics of Norm Implementation: Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons in Georgia

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum) and Prof. Dr. Jessica Pflüger (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)

In the study of international affairs, (human rights) norms represent a central theme. Yet, the number of studies examining their actual implementation into national and local settings remains relatively small. Most norm research focuses on processes of norm creation, evolution and diffusion as well as the role of non-state actors in advocating for them. This PhD project broadens the study of norms by combining international policy analysis, ethnographic and other qualitative research methods to examine the development and implementation of norms at the international, national and local levels and how these processes are linked with each other.

It focuses on durable solutions, with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia as an in-depth case study, and thus on a group of forced migrants who receive only scant attention in academic research, global discourse and international policies. Building on extensive field research, it describes and explains considerable problems of norm implementation, as well as ongoing hardship that IDPs experience. Importantly, the book reveals the simultaneous progress and setbacks in implementing international norms. Using the concept of a norm cluster, it explains why even in comparatively favorable contexts, such as Georgia, where national laws, policies and institutions on internal displacement are well advanced, the full protection of the human rights for IDPs remains incomplete.

The PhD project combines approaches from humanitarian studies, International Relations, and organizational sociology, and offers an innovative theoretical contribution to the study of norms at various levels of societies. It is highly relevant to the study of other violent conflicts and crises of protracted displacement.



Lisa Hilleke

Water is Life: Coping with Water Challenges in Iraqi Kurdistan           

Professor Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Katja Bender (International Centre for Sustainable Development, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences)

Increasing water scarcity is an urgent global concern. Historically, some regions are more prone to suffer from limited access to water than others. Compared to most other Middle Eastern countries, Iraq was well positioned to access water sources. However, this has changed in recent years. Longer dry seasons, limited rainfall, and more frequent droughts, as well as a history of oppression, war, occupation, and sanctions have led to mismanaged, poorly maintained or destroyed water systems. As a consequence, Iraq’s water sources have been constrained over the last four decades. Currently, Iraq’s population must address both the negative effects of both oppression and protracted conflict, as well as the deficiency of its most precious natural resource and response to basic needs. Limited access to clean water constitutes a main cause for migration and displacement in Iraq and the Kurdish region, especially. This contributes to constant urbanisation.

This research project assesses urban Iraqi Kurdistan’s challenge of accessing clean water and the presence of coping mechanisms for increased water scarcity and pollution. This assessment is based on an analysis of the population’s needs and vulnerabilities, with a particular focus on their traditional and religious behavior towards water utilisation and the extent to which their coping mechanisms influenced by their dependency on the state’s political and economic system. The project develops the theoretical argument that political and economic environments can constrain the development of coping strategies that positively influence the access to clean water in the long run. It combines scientific research on coping mechanisms, access to water, and the role of the state. It concentrates on three cities in Iraqi Kurdistan: Erbil, Sulymaniyah, and Dohuk.



Ruth Körsgen

Das Recht auf Zugang zu angemessenem Wohnraum in der Republik Südafrika und der Bundesrepublik Indien – Gewährleistungen und Grenzen im Lichte internationalen Rechts

[International Perspectives and Domestic Legislation concerning the Right to Adequate Housing – Case Study of South Africa and India]

Professor Dr. Markus Kaltenborn (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Social human rights become an increasingly important motor for enhancing the living conditions of the poor in developing countries by means of legislation. Against the backdrop of challenges like population increase, urbanisation, migration and economic development, the social human right to adequate housing attracts particular attention. The dissertation will address the implementation of the right to adequate housing in South Africa and India. The builders of the South African and the Indian constitution implemented social rights in quite different ways. Aim of the thesis is therefore to provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of the two states’ legal structures and political programs for the realisation of the right to adequate housing.



Franziska Kring

Responsibility to Protect (R2P) revisited: Towards climate change-related obligations of states?

Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

This PhD project deals with the applicability of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest emerging humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. As all previous attempts to stem climate change have proved to be inadequate, alternatives must be considered. One possibility may be the R2P, a concept developed in 2001 in order to prevent the worst human rights violations. This PhD project aims at analysing whether and to what extent the R2P is suitable to oblige states to counteract climate change. On the one hand, the consequences of climate change could be subsumed under the scope of the R2P determined by the General Assembly, namely genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Another possibility could be the expansion of the R2P’s scope. Both alternatives will be examined in detail and a conclusion as to their suitability will be provided.



Mareike Meis


Die Ästhetisierung und Politisierung des Todes - Der Syrienkonflikt im Handy-Todesvideo unter einer diffraktiven Perspektive’
[The Aestheticization and Politization of Death – The Syrian Conflict in Mobile Death Videos in a Diffractive Perspective]

Prof. Dr. Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, RUB);
Prof. Dr. Eva Warth

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, RUB.

As media spectators and users we encounter the Syrian conflict (2011-ongoing), first and foremost, in online videos that show violence, death and suffering in Syria. Recorded by low-tech mobile phone cameras in the first years of the conflict, these videos were increasingly recorded by high-quality handheld and action cameras later on. From the very beginnings of the Syrian conflict, these videos are disseminated via the Internet and picked up by international news media as well as by international artists works and filmmakers regardless of their qualitative aspects.

Emanating from Donna J. Haraways concept on situated knowledge and her diffractive approach, Mareike Meis develops a research perspective that allows to analyze online videos in its different and changing appearances and perceptions. Based on diverse and numerous media material, she brings the politics of meaning of the Syrian conflict, of mobile phone videos and of death into view. Mapping the narrative and figurative entanglements across different video events—ranging from amateur footage by Syrian videographers to the infamous beheading videos of the Islamic State and their reenactment by the Identitäre Bewegung Wien—Mareike Meis answers the question: What does it mean to record, to disseminate and to watch once own death and the death of others?




Heike Montag

Pflichten des Sicherheitsrates und der Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen zur Friedenskonsolidierung
[Peacebuilding Obligations of the Security Council and the Member States of the United Nations]

Professor Dr. Adelheid Puttler (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (IFHV, Ruhr University Bochum)

This PhD project focuses on the question to what extent there might be a legal obligation for the United Nations Security Council and its members to mandate post-conflict peacebuilding, when an authorised intervention by military means is being conducted. Reports and studies have shown that nearly half of the civil conflicts that ended relapsed into conflict within five years. Sustainable peacebuilding measures would help to reduce such relapse. In response, increasing attention has been paid to peacebuilding within the UN in recent years. Almost all UN missions are entrusted with peace building activities to varying degrees. It is in this light that the research project addresses the question whether peacebuilding is mandated simply because of moral obligations and political goodwill or whether there is a tendency to evolve into a corresponding legal obligation.



Inga Zimmermann

(Hu)Man Security – Organisationsperspektiven auf Flucht und Männlichkeit in deutschen Kommunen
[(Hu)Man Security – Organisational Perspectives on Forced Migration and Masculinity in German Municipalities]

Professor Dr. Ludger Pries (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Jürgen Straub (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum

During the summer of 2015, approximately 840,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany (BAMF 2016). Resulting from a global humanitarian crisis, in Germany, this period has often been referred to as the “summer of migration” or the “refugee crisis”. Thereafter, public debates, media reporting and political discourses addressed, on the one hand, a “welcome culture” towards refugees in general and, on the other hand, highlighted the potential of a security risk arising from male refugees in particular, who represent the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers in Germany. The present research establishes the current situation of this group of men living in shared accommodations in German municipalities. It applies the individual-centered and holistic concept of human security (first adapted by UNDP in 1994), denominated here by myself as (hu)man security.

More specifically, this study focuses on the behaviour of non-governmental organisations and takes an organisational sociological approach in analysing their options in catering to the needs of refugees. Therefore, it investigate the role of masculinity construction(s) influencing the behavior of organisations involved in refugee assistance. With this objective, and assuming that the organisational performance impacts on (hu)man security, two hypotheses are made: Firstly, factual, political and societal changes since 2015 have affected the (organisational) masculinity constructions negatively and have therefore influences the situation for male refugees in Germany, and, secondly, masculinity constructions have equally generated a behavioral change in organisations over the same period.

Likewise, this research combines both semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus groups with organisational personnel and male residents of two chosen municipal refugee accommodations with a structural analysis of housing and protection standards and asylum policies, municipal politics and legal changes in a selected time frame from 2015 until 2018. In the outcome, I describe existing masculinity constructions within organisations which are involved in refugee assistance and identify their impacts on both legitimating their strategies and organisational performance towards accommodating male refugees. Furthermore, the results of this study enable the detection of potential organisational insecurities. It recommends a careful, gender-sensitive organisational planning and policy development at municipal level. Consequently, new findings help to address current challenges and seek persistent solutions for improvement of everyday life not only for male refugees, yet, German society.