Frank Nullmeier



Professor of Political Science, University of Bremen

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
October 2011−March 2012

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Legitimacy and Social Justice. Valuing Political and Economic Orders«

Project outline:
Over recent years the understanding of legitimacy within the social sciences and the political public sphere has expanded enormously. In general terms the concept has now come to denote the justified assessment of political as well as economic processes. Accordingly, policies, political orders and economic activities are only seen as legitimate if they are coupled with a justified, positive assessment. This generalized concept of legitimacy poses a challenge for theories of democracy and justice. The older understanding of legitimacy, which was still closely oriented to structures of political authority, in particular the state, focused on promoting a readiness to comply and could draw on the criteria of democracy and popular sovereignty. However, these criteria cannot be applied seamlessly to new international political institutions nor are they compatible with economic orders. Currently we have no coherent conception of legitimation that can be applied to the overall structure of political (including nation states and international institutions) and economic orders. The project aims to trace changes and new problems emerging in our understanding of legitimacy and to attempt to delineate an integrated, normative theory of legitimacy that applies to both political and economic activities and orders. (Frank Nullmeier)

Funding of the stay:
»Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«

Scholarly profile of Frank Nullmeier


Main areas of research:
Social Theory, Political Theory, Policy Research

Selected publications:
  1. Frank Nullmeier, Dominika Biegon, Jennifer Gronau, Martin Nonhoff, Henning Schnidtke, Steffen Schneider: Prekäre Legitimitäten. Rechtfertigung von Herrschaft in der postnationalen Konstellation, Frankfurt a. Main/New York: Campus 2010.
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  3. Steffen Schneider, Achim Hurrelmann, Zuzana Krell-Laluhová, Frank Nullmeier, Achim Wiesner: Democracy’s Deep Roots. Why the Nation State Remains Legitimate, Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave 2010.
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  5. »Post-War Welfare State Development« (with Franz-Xaver Kaufmann), in: The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, ed. by Francis C. Castles, Stephan Leibfried, Jane Lewis, Herbert Obinger and Christopher Pierson, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010, pp. 81-101.
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  7. »The Implicit Normativity of Political Practices. Analyzing the Dynamics and Power Relations of Committee Decision-making« (with Tanja Pritzlaff), in: Critical Policy Analysis 2009, vol. 3 (3/4), pp. 357-374.
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  9. »Zur Politisierung internationaler Institutionen. Der Fall G8« (with Martin Nonhoff, Jennifer Gronau, Steffen Schneider), in: Zeitschrift für internationale Beziehungen 2009, vol. 16 (2), pp. 237-267.
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  11. Stephan Lessenich, Frank Nullmeier (eds.): Deutschland – Eine gespaltene Gesellschaft, Frankfurt a. Main/New York: Campus 2006.
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  13. Politische Theorie des Sozialstaates, Frankfurt a. Main/New York: Campus 2000.

Further academic activities:
rnFrank Nullmeier is head of the department »Theory and Constitution of the Welfare State« of the Centre for Social Policy Research at the University of Bremen. He is a member of various academic associations, inter alia the German Political Science Association (Vice Chairperson 2009-2012), the European Social Policy Network and the Social Policy Group of the German Society of Sociology. He is co-editor of the book series Theorie und Gesellschaft (Campus Verlag), Modernes Regieren (Nomos Verlag), Staatlichkeit im Wandel (Campus Verlag) and Bürgergesellschaft und Demokratie (VS-Verlag) as well as of the journals Critical Policy Studies, Leviathan and Zeitschrift für Sozialreform.