International Security

Research Department I sets out to investigate and compare the security policies that states pursue. Our researchers analyze these policies in relation to the normative orientations and justice claims that they entail along with their potentialities for conflict. The policies are also evaluated in respect to the positive or negative contributions they may have for a peaceful world order. The question that interests us in particular is if recurring conflict among vastly differing national conceptions of international security leaves room for the development of non-hegemonic systems of norms. The empirical fields that comprise this research department include arms control, disarmament, non-proliferation, armament and military policies, deployments of armed forces, and national discourses about security. The associated studies are guided by a normative stance that aims at decreasing the level of violence in international relations. They work on the supposition that states continue to assume a crucial position in matters of war and peace, despite an ongoing process of globalization.


Within the scope of the research program Coercion and Peace, we analyse how technological, political and normative change affects the practice of coercion between states. Additionally, we examine the effects of coercion on national and international security as well as on global peace.

Studies within the last research program Just Peace Governance (2009-2017) had two primary tasks. First, they investigated the position assumed by justice claims within the foreign affairs and security policies of states, along with their influence on potentials for conflict in international relations. Second, they examined the opportunities for and constraints on a peaceful and just world order that emerge as a result of the way that states handle their instruments of force.

Based on the insights we gained into the security policies pursued by democracies from research program Antinomies of Democratic Peace (2000-2009), we focused on comparing policies among various political systems and cultures. We posed the question of whether systematic differences exist among groups of states that share certain characteristics.

Along with the basic research carried out within this research program, the research department investigates current policy issues with a focus on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. These issues are, in part, addressed as a by-product of basic research as well as by way of independent projects.