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TLI Signature Lecture: Antje Wiener - Global International Relations Theory

SW1.17 Somerset House East Wing
07/02/2018 (17:00-19:00)
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TLI Signature Lectures 2017-2018

Democratic Politics in Global Crisis? Challenges, Approaches, Resistances

Speaker: Professor Antje Wiener (Universität Hamburg)

Title: Global International Relations Theory: Contestation Repertoires and Normative Change 


The talk will speak on Prof. Wiener's forthcoming book 'Constitution and Contestation of Norms in Global International Relations’ (CUP 2018). The book presents a principled approach to practice that addresses the normativity-practice nexus as an enduring issue for norms studies in international relations theory and international law alike. The apporach is illustrated with referene to three case scenarios which examine the involvement of local actors in global norm conflicts about fundamental rights, the prohibition of torture and the sexual violence prohibition. Providing accounts of local interventions made on behalf of those affected by breaches of norms, the book identifies the constraints and opportunities for stakeholder participation in a fragmented global society. The book also considers cultural and institutional diversity with regard to the co-constitution of norm change. Proposing a clear framework to operationalize research on contested norms, and illustrating it through three recent cases, this book contributes to the project of Global International Relations by offering an agency-centred approach.  


The election of Trump in the USA, the Brexit vote in the UK, the rise of extremist parties in France, Holland and elsewhere, impeachments (successful and failed) of presidents in South Korea, Brazil and South Africa following corruption scandals, authoritarian turns in Hungary, Poland and Russia… Wherever one turns to, there are worrying signs that democracy, or at least democratic politics, is in trouble around the world.

This is further corroborated by lower election turn out and repudiation of mainstream political parties and politicians, symptoms of a generalized sentiment of political disenchantment that leads to political disengagement.

How deep is this crisis? What are its causes? How can it be solved?

These are the themes and questions we will be debating in our Transnational Law Institute Signature Lectures, now in its third year, with experts from around the world. The lectures are organized around four broad sub-topics: Democracy and extremism; Democracy and inequality; Democracy and corruption and Democracy and authoritarianism.

The Signature Lectures are delivered by world renowned scholars whose work tackles central challenges in global governance by cutting across disciplinary boundaries to develop new analytical and conceptual frameworks, which address today’s pressing problems of transnational legality and legitimacy with rigour and fresh eyes. Previous speakers included: Saskia Sassen, Albie Sachs, Sally Engle Merry, Wolfgang Streeck, Joseph Weiler, Eve Darian-Smith, Guy Standing, Upendra Baxi and Boaventura Sousa Santos.


Antje Wiener holds the Chair of Political Science, especially Global Governance at the University of Hamburg since 2009. She earned her PhD in Political Science at Carleton University, Canada (1996) and her MA in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin (1989). Before coming to Hamburg, she spent 20 years abroad, teaching in Canada, the US and the UK where she held Chairs of Political Science and International Relations at Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Bath. Her research focuses on International Relations Theories especially norms research. She has served as Managing Director of the Centre for Globalisation and Governance in Hamburg and is a founding editor of Global Constitutionalism (Cambridge since 2012). 

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