Social Sciences

Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)

As a research institute of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Institute for Development and Peace, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, is committed to combined basic and applied research at the interface between development and peace. In the years to come, the work of INEF, which is concerned with processes of globalisation and their political manifestations, will be concentrated under “Responsibility in conflictual global society” on the areas of “Responsibility in global governance” and “Conflict Transformation in the Fault Lines of World Society”. This will include projects on the human rights responsibility of business and the content of a future sustainable development agenda, examination of processes of transformation and democratisation, and work on questions of non-violent forms of conflict reso­lution. The focal point of interest lies in the role of transnationally networked social groups (diasporas, terrorist groups, global production networks) but also on the relationship between states and non-state actors and the question of how “statehood” can be reinforced to secure a minimum of ­publicly accessible services and a balance of ­social interests. The broad thematic scope of the work is also reflected in “Global Trends”, which is published together with the Foundation for Development and Peace (SEF) and covers important development trends in global politics in generally comprehensible terms with extensive data and analysis.

The research of the recent past has been characterised among other things by a series of projects on corporate responsibility for human rights. More specifically, possible ways of effectively implementing the “UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights” were analysed from the perspective of development policy. ­Recommendations for action were also developed for German development policymakers. Conducted in cooperation with companies and trade unions, the projects also aim to prepare guidance to enable the various groups to meet their human rights obligations. Over the past few years, findings from these projects have flowed into research cooperation with colleagues from the Law Faculty at the Ruhr University Bochum on questions of “Political Authority and Transnational Governance Arrangements”, which is based on the example of regulation in the Asian textile and clothing ­industry by state and private labour, social and environmental standards. The purpose of this cooperation, for which a funding application has been made to the Mercator Research Center (MERCUR), is to prepare a proposal in the next two years for a DFG Research Unit on “Private Regulation and Polycentric Governance Arrangements”.

A series of other projects at INEF have dealt with transformation processes and protest movements, for example in the Near and Middle East, Turkey and Thailand. The ambivalent role of the middle classes is particularly apparent; while they can become a motor of change, as guardians of vested interests they can also contribute to the struggle for power that accompanies democratisation processes manifesting itself, in some cases violently.
INEF was also able to strengthen its international ties through “Peaceful Change and Violent Conflict – The Transformation of the Middle East and Western-Muslim Relations”, a project being funded for a period of three years by the DAAD. As part of this project, an exchange took place between INEF researchers and colleagues from Iran, Morocco and Pakistan. Cooperation between the higher education institutions also made it possible for groups of students to take part in exchanges and gain their first academic experiences abroad.