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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Research Field 3: Norms and Social Order(s)

The exchange of ideas, goods, and persons, as well as the global interdependence of occurrences and interactions, invariably unroll within the frameworks of normative beliefs and ordering systems that are themselves established on various levels. At first sight, norms and orders offer a basis on which to communicate about reciprocal contacts and interactions, and regulate these on levels ranging from local configurations up to global networks of relations. At the same time, they are shaped by underlying (specific) cultural concepts, as well as by inherent local and global asymmetrical power relations. Norms and orders are subjects to processes of change and interaction which increasingly assume global and transnational character.

In this research field, subjects to be studied include questions of economical and political interdependencies, the transnationalization of law, the interaction of individuals, local communities, national, and international organizations, as well as global discourses on statehood and development, among others.

3.1. Transnationalization of Norms and Orders

This research group’s work centers on transnationalization processes of norms and orders in international, national, and local contexts. Processes of globalization influence - among other things - forms of normative regulations and justifications; they are, at the same time, being judged along those selfsame lines and moreover turning into subjects of political debates and conflicts. In a globalized world, a multitude of stakeholders ranging from individuals to collectives and institutions make their appearance and contribute to the shaping and implementation of normative concepts and regulatory mechanisms on levels both below as well as above the nation state. This has decisive effects on customary forms of political accountability, norms of transparency, and the scope of democratic decision-making processes. At the same time, asymmetrical power relations are the stage on which all forms of normative pluralism, hybridizations, and cultural translations in the fields of legal norms, discourses on justice, and contexts of religious substantiations unfold themselves. These forms extend the scope of possible courses of actions. At the same time, they participate in creating new forms of power and subjectivity.

Against the background of both historical and current interconnections and upheavals in Asian-European relationships, this research group focuses on new possible courses of actions and opportunities as well as conflict lines and fragmentations as they shape and are shaped by normative concepts and regulatory mechanisms.

3.2 Social Protest and Political Conflict in Transnational Contexts

This research group inquires into the translocal circulation of norms and ideas from the perspective of the spaces, praxis, and forms of political protest in Asia and Europe that enable and connect to such norms and ideas. Discussion centers on the political spaces, mechanisms and processes of conflict through which norms and orders are negotiated as political disputes (e.g. secular democracy, environment, the use of nuclear power, etc.) and gain statuses of (il)legitimacy and (un)reliability in local or global contexts. We analyze not only semantic shifts emerging from these conflicts, but also the forms and technologies of circulation and entanglement, through which various ideas, norms, and orders from a diversity of contexts undergo debate.

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