LFF Graduate Programme: Democratising Security in Turbulent Times


20. June 2020

Funding period: 1 October 2020 – 31 March 2024

Funded by: Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg: „Landesforschungsförderung“ (a state-wide research funding scheme).

Coordinated by Universität Hamburg, the programme is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from Universität Hamburg (UHH), Helmut-Schmidt-University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg (HSU), Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at Universität Hamburg (IFSH) and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

How is security provided in today’s turbulent times and how does this affect the relationship between democracy and security? The interdisciplinary graduate programme examines fundamental reconfigurations of the relationship between security and democracy against the backdrop of growing political and societal polarisation in the face of a global pandemic and the rise of antidemocratic forces, the advent of new digital technologies and the rescaling of security to arenas below and beyond the state.

As established ways of resolving conflicts or planning for the future have come under stress, new modes of ordering beyond established rules and processes emerge, yet with often transitionary outcomes and conflictual potential. Unequal dynamics of resource concentration and abandonment shrink political spaces for providing security in line with core democratic principles: what the promise of security entails, how it is imagined, for whom and at what price, is an increasingly divided matter — a tendency which has dramatically deepened in the turbulent times of a global pandemic.

At the intersection of international relations, political theory, sociology, criminology and communication studies, the graduate programme investigates emerging security configurations in turbulent times and contributes to understanding their governability as well as the democratic dilemmas and opportunities that arise.

The possibilities and challenges of democratising security are analyzed in three inter-connected research perspectives: reordering democratic security and the emergence of new landscapes of security; reimagining democratic security as an affective matter around which communities and publics form; and redesigning democratic security through democratic exper-iments and the forging of norms.

Seven Principal Investigators from different disciplines are responsible for the programme:

Prof. Dr. Ursula Schröder (director of IFSH/ professor at UHH), coordinator of the programme
Prof. Dr. Anna Geis (HSU)
Prof. Dr. Christine Hentschel (UHH)
Prof. Dr. Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw (UHH)
Prof. Dr. Susanne Krasmann (UHH)
Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach (GIGA)
Prof. Dr. Antje Wiener (UHH)

The official website of the programme with detailed information on the content is run by the Universität Hamburg, please visit: