DFG-Project “Recasting the role of citizens in foreign and security policy? Democratic innovations and changing patterns of interaction between European executives and citizens”


20. December 2021

Participatory-deliberative processes in foreign and security policy: understandings, processes & ramifications

Project team: Anna Geis / Hanna Pfeifer / Christian Opitz

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG), June 2022-May 2025

For the last decade, politicians and members of national executives in Europe have started to actively engage ordinary citizens in foreign and security policy (FSP), by initiating dialogue and participation processes. Our project investigates this change of the role of citizens in a policy field, usually considered as being dominated by the executive.

More specifically, we have three objectives:

  • First, we analyse and structure (change in) understandings of executive-citizens interactions in FSP as held by executives in Europe.
  • Second, we investigate if and how these understandings translate into interaction processes of democratic innovations, by which executives alter and possibly deepen citizens’ involvement in FSP.
  • Third, we assess the ramifications these practices may have for the politics in FSP, as well as how we could evaluate them normatively.

We empirically map and theoretically conceptualise executive-citizens relations in FSP by comparing the cases of France, Germany, Poland, and the UK.

A brief description of the project can be found here .

This DFG-project expands and deepens our pre-study of the German case, and it draws on preliminary research on DIs in other European countries (funded by the internal funding line of the HSU).

Preliminary work

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.