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Research Projects

 Current Projects 

  • "Overlapping Regionalism in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe Compared"


Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke, Dr. Sören Stapel


In the aftermaths of WWII and the Cold War, states have intensified multilateral collaboration and increasingly cooperated with states in their neighborhood. Today there are more than 70 ROs in all parts of world. When ROs share member states and policy competences, we speak of overlapping regionalism. While a comparative regionalism research agenda has been emerging recently, overlapping regionalism has not yet received much scholarly attention. The phenomenon of overlapping regionalism is widespread and important, not in the least since ROs’ policies and rules can be incompatible reducing their effectiveness. This project contributes towards filling gaps in our knowledge of overlapping regionalism in respect to three research questions: How has overlapping regionalism evolved over time and space? Why and when does overlapping regionalism occur and increase? How do states react to overlapping regionalism and does this affect the effectiveness of ROs? We answer these questions by compiling a novel and unique database (1945-2015), developing a set of hypotheses on the basis of a comprehensive theoretical framework, and analyzing drivers and consequences of overlapping regionalism with advanced methods.



  • "The Design of International Organizations. Fostering Diplomatic Deliberation?"

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Start: October 2017 (for 3 years)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke

Research Associates: Franziska Hohlstein, Gurur Polat

dfg-projekt deliberation 2017

(from left to right: Philipp Wagenhals, Diana Panke, Leonardo Rey, Franziska Hohlstein, Gurur Polat)



Whether we look at constitutions, founding treaties, or the rules of procedure of states and International Organizations (IO), it is striking that many rules on interaction between actors create room for deliberation, whilst simultaneously limiting the time available for discussion. While the latter speeds up decision making, it risks reducing its quality and legitimacy. How are these competing elements formally and de facto balanced in IOs? Do IOs differ in this respect, and if so, how and why? The project first assesses variation in the extent to which institutional design fosters or inhibits diplomatic deliberation in IOs. Second, a survey captures the actual usage of institutional rules. On this basis, the project explains variation, fit, and mismatch in institutional design and diplomatic deliberative practices within and across IOs. Third, the project examines how and under what conditions deliberative institutional design and deliberative diplomatic practices impact IOs’ problem solving effectiveness and legitimacy.

Major Objective:

The number of International Organizations (IOs) and the body of international law has considerably increased since the end of WWII. At the same time, we still know little about how IO institutional designs differ and how variation in their deliberative quality influences the dynamics of interaction between states and ultimately also negotiation outcomes. Accordingly, the project has three major aims: (1) to assess and explain the varying extent to which IOs are institutionally designed to facilitate deliberation among diplomats, (2) to measure deliberative diplomatic practices and explain why they differ between IOs and when and why they might deviate from the formal institutional design of a given IO, and (3) to analyze the nexus between the deliberative quality of institutional design and diplomatic practices of IOs as well as their problem solving effectiveness, decision making speed, and legitimacy.

Thus, the project:

  • offers novel empirical insights into the extent to which IOs’ institutional designs are deliberative in nature and into deliberative diplomatic practices across a representative set of IOs

  • develops explanations for variation in diplomatic deliberation between IOs, across stages of the policy-cycle (agenda-setting, negotiation, decision-taking), across interaction arenas (plenaries, committees) and across policy areas

  • provides novel insights into the workings of institutions as well as into practices which limit the effect of deliberative design features or which operate as functional equivalents for formal institutional rules

  1. generates essential and original knowledge about the extent to which an IO can foster state-state deliberation & provides insights into which compositions of deliberative design provisions could optimize the relationship between speedy, legitimate and high quality decision making in different IOs

For further information on the project click here.


  • "Still Images - Moving People? How visual images trigger the willingness to participate in political protest"

Funding: Friede-Springer-Stiftung

Start: June 2017

Partners: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke (University of Freiburg), PD Dr. Stephanie Geise (University of Münster), Dr. Axel Heck (University of Kiel).

still images - moving people?



The political power of images has probably never been stronger than in today’s “information age” of digital media networks and social connectivity (Van Dijck, 2013). Digital media and mobile devices allow instant access to information about local, national, and global events, which is mostly visualized – at least in some way. Consumers of digital media are therefore exposed to countless visual representations of terrorism, environmental deterioration, social inequality, and human suffering, to name just a few of the most striking political issues of our time. Although many people are using digital media networks for information purposes on a daily basis (Lenhart, et al. 2010), the mechanism by which images have an impact on political involvement and participation remains unclear and needs further research (Rucht 2010, Anduiza, et al. 2012, Rucht 2014).

At the same time, many images published in digital media are intellectually and emotionally provoking visual statements, and therefore highly politicized. But can still images in digital media also “move” people? Do they encourage political activism and impact the willingness of citizens to participate in political protest? This pilot study sheds light on the nexus between spontaneous, affective behavior and conscious, intentional action in response to visual images in digital media. Therefore, the pilot study will investigate the following research question: how and under what conditions do visual images trigger individual affective behavioral and cognitive responses that ultimately impact one’s willingness to participate in political protest? The pilot study ventures into methodological territory largely unknown in social sciences as it gathers data and theorizes how and under which conditions of emotional valence visual images can trigger changes in political action through combining pre- and post-surveys with eyetracking methodology.


  • "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and Related Migration"


Funding: FRIAS Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

Start: Semester 2017/18

Partners: Prof. Dr. Tim Krieger (Economics), Prof. Dr. Michael Pregernig (Environmental Social Sciences), Prof. Dr. Diana Panke (Political Sciences)



The research group “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and Related Migration” sheds light on a timely and highly important topic, namely the relationship between how resource and environmental conflicts in countries of origin induce migration into host countries as well as whether and why migration fosters conflicts in host countries and how migration feeds back into countries of origin. It addresses three core questions: Under which conditions do environmental and resource induced conflicts in a country of origin induce incentives for migration? Which individuals do indeed migrate? How are migration streams politically governed? These questions will be explored from an interdisciplinary perspective in regular meetings of the Forschergruppe at FRIAS, to which colleagues, junior researchers and guests will be invited. The Forschergruppe will organize in a workshop and an edited volume as well as Freiburger Horizonte talks.


  • "EUN-NET. Studying EU-UN Relations"


Funding: European Union

Start: December 2016 (for 3 years)

Partners of Prof. Dr. Diana Panke and her team are the co-ordinators at Athens University of Economics and Business (Spyros Blavoukos, Dimitris Bourantonis, John Galariotis and Maria Gianniou), experts of London School of Economics and Political Science (Karen Smith), Leiden University (Madeleine Hosli), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Robert Kissack), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Jan Wouters and Edith Drieskens), Adelphi University (Katie Laatikainen), Université catholique de Louvain (Tom Delreux).




 Publications Prof. Dr. Diana Panke

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