DFG-Projekt „Overlapping Spheres of Authority“ (Geis/Moe/Pollmann)


18. Juli 2022


“Overlapping Spheres of Authority and Interface Conflicts in the Global Order” (OSAIC)

Projektbearbeiter/-innen: Dr. Louise Wiuff Moe (bis 31.3.2020), Stephanie Jänsch M.A. (1.5.-31.12.2020), Dr. Christian Opitz (1.11.2019-30.6.2020) und Lena Pollmann M.A.
Förderzeitraum: 2017-2020

Das Projekt startete am 1. Juni 2017. Eine ausführliche Beschreibung des Projekts findet sich hier.

The research group, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), focuses on the rise of interface conflicts within and across overlapping spheres of authority. The increased institutional production of norms in the international realm leads to both horizontal interface conflicts at the same level of governance (e.g. across two or more international spheres of authority) and vertical interface conflicts across spheres of authority on different levels (e.g. international and national spheres of authority). Under which conditions become such conflicts manifest? What are the responses to conflicting rules originating from overlapping spheres of authority? If responses are justified with reference to normative principles, what are these principles and how are they operationalized concretely? What consequences do the different ways of responding to interface conflicts have for the global order as a whole? With these questions, the research group moves beyond the study of issue-area specific international institutions or organizations, and targets the question of the international order understood as a system of overlapping and interacting spheres of authority.

The interdisciplinary research group consists of thematic sub-projects in the fields of international relations and (international) law. Below, you will find a brief description of the sub-projects the research group is working on.

Sub-project (Director: Anna Geis): “Management of Interface Conflicts in African Security Governance”

Security issues in global governance are shaped by different spheres of authority and the interaction between multiple political actors on different levels. Legally, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has the supreme political authority to take decisions on the use of military force. However, overlapping memberships of states in the UN(SC) and in various regional (security) organizations enhance the potential for norm conflicts across and within several spheres of authority. One such regional organization is the African Union that was set up in 2002 as successor to the Organization of African Unity and that has established itself as a significant collective security provider. Many violent intra-state conflicts are located within the geographical sphere of the African Union and several military interventions justified with references to human rights norms take place in Africa. Today, African security governance constitutes a dense web of interactions between international, regional, sub-regional and national actors, with the African Union being the regional key actor in this web. In this configuration interface conflicts are likely to occur.

The project analyzes seven cases of military missions in Africa as settings for interface conflicts, addressing the following questions: How do key actors within the emerging African security governance architecture articulate and manage vertical interface conflicts in the context of military deployments? Which norms do these actors invoke, and how can the variety in responses to such conflicts be explained? What are the effects of different forms of conflict management?


Louise Wiuff Moe (2020): The Dark Side of Institutional Collaboration: How Peacekeeping-counterterrorism Convergences Weaken the Protection of Civilians in Mali, in: International Peacekeeping, DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2020.1821364

Louise Wiuff Moe/Anna Geis 2020: From liberal interventionism to stabilisation: A new consensus on norm-downsizing in interventions in Africa, in: Global Constitutionalism, 9: 2, 387-412 (Special Issue ”After Fragmentation”, ed. by Christian Kreuder-Sonnen & Michael Zürn); available as Open Access: https://www.cambridge.org

Louise Wiuff Moe/Anna Geis (eds.) 2020: Security Governance/International Organisations in Africa, Special Issue of Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 14: 2.

Louise Wiuff Moe/ Anna Geis 2020: Hybridity and Friction in Organizational Politics: New Perspectives on the African Regime Complex, in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 14: 2, 148-170. Free Access online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17502977.2020.1729618 .

Louise Wiuff Moe (2019): Clear, Hold, Build…a ‘Local’ State: Counterinsurgency and Territorial Orders in Somalia, in Lemay-Hébert, Nicolas (ed.), Handbook of Intervention and Statebuilding, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 151–160.

Louise Wiuff Moe (2019): Somaliland, in Özerdem, Alpaslan and Roger Mac Ginty (eds.), Comparing Peace Processes, London: Routledge, pp. 255-269.

Louise Wiuff Moe (2018): Counterinsurgency in the Somali territories: the ‘grey zone’ between peace and pacification, in: International Affairs, 94: 2, 319–341.

Louise Wiuff Moe (with Finn Stepputat) (2018): Peacebuilding in an era of pragmatism: introduction, International Affairs 94: 2, 293–299.

Conference papers and talks

Anna Geis, Louise Wiuff Moe, Lena Pollmann: The ‘dark side’ of inter-organizational collaboration: counterterrorism partnerships in Africa,  at the authors workshop “Inter-organizational Relations and World Order” (organized by Ulrich Franke & Martin Koch) University of Bielefeld, 19-20 June 2020 (postponed to 2021).

Louise Wiuff Moe: Peace, Protection and Counterterrorism: Discursive Distancing and Practical Entanglements in Inter-organizational Relations in Mali (paper presentation), and Enhancing the Political Space for Protection of Civilians in Mali (Ignite Talk presenter) at the Folke Bernadotte Academy Research Workshop and Research-Policy Dialogue: Protection of Civilians in UN and Regional Peace Operations, Entebbe, Uganda, 5-6 November 2019.

Louise Wiuff Moe: Invited roundtable participant. Oxford Research Group roundtable on Fusion Doctrine and Remote Warfare on the African Continent (policy-research roundtable discussion on how to adapt UK Fusion Doctrine to Africa), London, UK, 17 September 2019.

Louise Wiuff Moe/Lena Pollmann: African Agency in the Reshaping of International Security Norms, at German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg, 26 June 2019.

Anna Geis: How securitization affects the relationship between global and regional IOs?, at the Congress of the German Political Science Association (DVPW) “Frontiers of Democracy“, Frankfurt, 25-28 September 2018.

Anna Geis, Louise Moe, Lena Schumacher 2018: African Agency in the Re-shaping of International Human Rights and Security Norms, presented at „Normenforschung in den Internationalen Beziehungen – Normen und die Rolle von Agency“, 4th and 5th May 2018, Potsdam, and at „Association of African Studies in Germany – African Connections“, 27th to 30th June 2018, Leipzig.

Louise Wiuff Moe 2018: Norm erosion and Counterterrorism: Changing Practices of Security Governance in Africa, presented at “The British International Studies Association 43rd Annual Conference”, 13th to 15th June 2018, Bath (UK).

Louis Wiuff Moe, Lena Schumacher 2018: Inter-Organizational Conflicts and Collaboration in Africa and the Reshaping of Human Rights and Security Norms, presented at the „ECPR General Conference“, 22th to 25th August 2018, Hamburg.

Lena Schumacher 2018: Pro-Constitutional Interventionism – the Practices of the African Union, presented at the „12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations“, 12th to 15th September 2018, Prague (CZE).

Louise Wiuff Moe 2018: “What is peace” in post 9/11 stabilization missions? Observations from Mali, presented at „‘Doing Peace’ after Liberalism? Legitimising and Practising pro-peace interventions in a global political marketplace“, 3th to 4th December 2018, Vienna (AUT).

Anna Geis/Louise Wiuff Moe/Lena Schumacher: Management of interface conflicts in African security governance:  a research agenda, at 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Barcelona, 12-16 September 2017.

Conduct of a project-related workshop at HSU:
Digital Workshop: “African Agency in the Transforming Field of Security Governance: Norms, Organizations and Futures”, Helmut-Schmidt-Universität/Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg, 5./6. November 2020.