IFF Project “Civic Participation in Foreign and Security Policy” (finished)


20. December 2021

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

Project team: Anna Geis / Hanna Pfeifer / Christian Opitz

Funding: HSU Internal Research 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 was to investigate the motivation, processes and results of these forms of citizen 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?
The work of this finished IFF-Project is expanded and deepened by our follow-up DFG-Project .



Opitz, Christian, Hanna Pfeifer, and Anna Geis 2022. “Engaging with Public Opinion at the Micro-Level: Citizen Dialogue and Participation in German Foreign Policy.” Foreign Policy Analysis 18(1): 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1093/fpa/orab033 .

Pfeifer, Hanna, Christian Opitz, and Anna Geis 2021. “Deliberating Foreign Policy: Perceptions and Effects of Citizen Participation in Germany.” German Politics 30(4): 485-502. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644008.2020.1786058 .

Anna Geis 2020. “Öffentlichkeit und Partizipation in der deutschen Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik.” Sicherheit und Frieden (S+F), 38(4): 185-187. https://doi.org/10.5771/0175-274X-2020-4-185 .

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://doi.org/10.5771/9783748904076-205 .

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 2019. “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), S. 199-221. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-23975-6_14 .

Geis, Anna, and Hanna Pfeifer 2017. “Deutsche Verantwortung in der »Mitte der Gesellschaft« aushandeln? Über Politisierung und Entpolitisierung der deutschen Außenpolitik.” Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 52: 218-243. https://doi.org/10.5771/9783845271934-219 .


Conference Papers:

“The citizens’ turn in security policy: Promises and pitfalls of a new role for citizens in democratic security”, presented at the European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) in Thessaloniki (online), June 2021.

“How should we normatively assess democratic quality in the field of FSP? A first approximation”, presented at the Annual International Conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Belfast (online), March 2021.

“Politisierung von unten? Bürgerbeteiligung in der deutschen Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik”, presented at the Offene Tagung of the Section International Relations of the German Political Science Association (DVPW) in Freiburg (online), October 2020.

“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.

“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.