IFF Project “Civic Participation in Foreign and Security Policy” (Geis/Pfeifer/Opitz)


25. January 2021

Civic Participation in Foreign and Security Policy: Motivation, Processes, Results

Anna Geis / Hanna Pfeifer / Christian Opitz, funded by the HSU Internal Reseach Fund (IFF), July 2018-June 2019

Democratic foreign and security policy (FSP) has for a long time been regarded as a domain of the executive and as hardly accessible to participation beyond regular representative, parliamentary procedures. During the last years, though, a trend has emerged in some democracies to enhance citizens’ inclusion into deliberative and decision-making processes in the field of FSP. The goal of this project is to investigate the motivation, processes and results of these forms of civic participation.

  • How, why and for what purpose do ministries initiate participatory processes in the field of FSP?
  • Which results emerge from different formats of participation have regarding policies, processes and institutions?
  • How do different groups of participants, i.e. citizens, experts, stakeholders, and representatives of the executive assess the outcomes of these processes?
  • How can such participatory processes in FSP be contextualised within democratic theory, i.e. how should they be judged regarding their normative quality, in particular the legitimacy and effectiveness of political decisions?

A synopsis of the project can be found  here.


Hanna Pfeifer/Christian Opitz/Anna Geis 2020: Deliberating Foreign Policy: Perceptions and Effects of Citizen Participation in German Foreign Policy, in: German Politics. Access online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644008.2020.1786058.

Anna Geis 2020: Partizipative Formate in der deutschen Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik: die Politisierung des staatlichen Arkanbereichs?, in: Andreas Schäfer/David Meiering (eds.): (Ent-)Politisierung? Die demokratische Gesellschaft des 21. Jahrhunderts, Baden-Baden: Nomos (Leviathan-Sonderband 35), 207-228; https://www.nomos-shop.de/titel/ent-politisierung-id-88846/).

Anna Geis 2019: The Illusion of a „Great Debate“ about German Security Policy. A Plea for More Citizen Participation, in: Gunther Hellmann/Daniel Jacobi (eds.): The German White Paper 2016 and the Challenge of Crafting Security Strategies, Frankfurt/Berlin: Report of the Goethe University and the Aspen Institute Germany, S. 77-88 (http://www.fb03.uni-frankfurt.de/76345851/Band_Crafting_Security_Strategies_Aspen_englisch.pdf).

Anna Geis:  Warten auf die große sicherheitspolitische Debatte in Deutschland? Jenseits von Defizitdiagnosen, Vermeidungsdiskursen, Erziehungskampagnen, in: Daniel Jacobi/Gunther Hellmann (eds.): Das Weißbuch 2016 und die Herausforderungen von Strategiebildung, Wiesbaden: Springer VS (Edition ZfAS), 2019, S. 199-221.

Conference Papers:

Democratic Innovations in Foreign and Security Policy – A Way of Democratising Security?, angenommen für die European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) in Brüssel (geplant für Juli 2020).

Democratic innovations in foreign and security policy – Framing of participatory-deliberative processes by German ministries, angenommen für die ECPR Joint Sessions in Toulouse (geplant für April 2020).

Negotiating Foreign and Security Policy at the “Heart of Society”? Evidence from Germany, presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Mons (Belgium), April 2019.

Negotiating Foreign and Security Policy at the “Heart of Society”? Evidence from Germany, presented at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), April 2019.

Citizens Dialogues in Foreign Policy between Democratic Participation and Strategic Communication – Some Lessons Learned from the German case?, presented at the European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) in Kraków, June 2019.