Working Papers

8 publications

The Ukrainian crisis and its implications for Western-Russian relations. Contrasting views on the reasons for the confrontation

Center for Global Politics Working Paper 03/2016

Segbers, Klaus / Sergunin, Alexander

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2016-03

Center for Global Politics Working ...

This document is an intermediate outcome of an one year project which started in spring 2015, jointly conducted by scholars from the St. Petersburg State University, the Department of International Relations Theory & History, and the Osteuropa-Institut at the Freie Universität Berlin. While the initial idea of the project was to focus on Russian-German relations in the time of current crisis, a first workshop in St. Petersburg made clear that a focus on EU-Russian relations would be more fruitful. Although actors within the German and French governments have obviously been quite active (at least in the public’s perception) in mediating the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, the project members have decided to incorporate the EU level as the West European national governments are embedded into the EU – and vice versa.

Can Affluence Explain Public Attitudes towards Climate Change Mitigation Policies? A Multilevel Analysis with Data from 27 EU Countries

Center for Global Politics Working Paper 02/2014

Sasko, David

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2014-02

Can Affluence Explain Public Attitudes ...

This study examines the hypothesis that prosperity is an important determinant of public attitudes towards climate change mitigation. The analysis focuses on attitudes towards climate change mitigation policies in 27 EU countries using Eurobarometer data from June 2011. In the analysis, a random intercept multilevel model is used to test the relative strength of different individual level and country level effects. The results support the hypothesis that a higher level of prosperity leads to more concern about the environment. This study shows that individual affluence is an important determinant of the level of individual support for climate change mitigation policy. Furthermore, the results indicate that individual prosperity has a stronger effect than the overall level of wealth in society.

Subject: climate change, migration policies

Personality Cults in Modern Politics: Cases from Russia and China

Center for Global Politics Working Paper 01/2014

Xin Lu / Soboleva, Elena

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2014-01

Personality Cults in Modern Politics: ...

The popularization of Area Studies in the USA during the Cold War was driven by international political considerations, in particular the need to produce knowledge about so-called enemy countries – communist states. As the political systems of the major representatives of the communist bloc - USSR, China, North Korea – developed the phenomenon of personality cults, it consequently became an important subject for Area Studies scholars, as well as its new concept. They approached this phenomenon through multidisciplinary culturally and historically contextualized studies instead of applying macro-historical theories based on the Western experience (Szanton, 2002: 5-11). The term “personality cult” became popular after Nikita Khrushchev’s “Secret speech” at the 20th Party Congress in 1956, when he used it to explain the consolidation of Stalin’s personal dictatorship, the ensuing abuses of power and the extraordinary adulation of Stalin (Rees, 2004:3). Since then the term has had a highly negative connotation and is associated with the notorious human rights abuses of Stalinism, as well as the regimes of Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler and the Kim family in North Korea. The term, personality cult, when applied to modern politics, usually refers to the practice of non-democratic regimes to promote an idealized image of a leader with the aid of modern mass media in order to generate personal worship in a society. Although the practice of personality cults in modern states arguably started with the Russian leader Stalin’s decision to place the corpse of Vladimir Lenin on public display after Lenin’s death in 1924 (Rutland, 2011:365), the spirit of the phenomenon is extremely ancient. “The deification of dead emperors and then of living emperors was used to legitimize personal power in ancient Greece and Rome, especially with the dynasty of Augustus” (Rees, 2004:7). However, technology improvements utilized in mass media and police monitoring activities have made modern states more capable of creating and sustaining a personality cult. The popularity of the personality cult as a research topic in Sino, Soviet and Korean studies can be explained by a specific approach undertaken by foreign scholars studying the policies and politics of these states (these studies are also known as Kremlinology). The lack of reliable information and the highly opaque decision making structures in these communist states have made it necessary for Kremlinologists to read between the lines and employ such empirical data as the physical position of members of the inner circles during parades, the wording in newspaper articles, the presence or absence of slogans and phrases in documents, etc. That also explains why they focused on the visible actors – leaders – and therewith shaped the research of personality cults. “In identifying cleavages and controversies within the Soviet leadership, Kremlinologists have tended to emphasize personal alignments, overstate personal power struggles and downgrade policy issues to mere instruments in the fight for supremacy” (Jönsson, 1977:132). With the end of the Cold War a new understanding of the personality cult has begun to develop. It has been argued that this concept should be put in a broader context of person-centered modern symbolic politics, opening up vistas for comparisons with Western democracies. According to E.A. Rees (2004:7) “embryonic cults exist even in relatively open, democratic political systems”. These are not personality cults in the full form, but they resemble them in some respects. So the ghost of the personality cult is not peculiar to non-democratic states, but the political and social conditions in non-democratic states serve as a more comfortable hotbed in which it can grow. The first section of the working paper will provide a theoretic framework for the analysis of personality cults: from Weber’s theory of charismatic authority to theoretical developments specifically related to personality cults. The following sections will present case studies of subjects of the most famous personality cults: Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, and also look into more recent developments, such as the idolization of Vladimir Putin in modern Russia.

Subject: china, russia, personality cults

Governing a Knowledge Commons: The Influence of Institutional Design on the Performance of Open Access Repositories

Center for Global Politics Working Paper 02/2013

Wemheuer-Vogelaar, Wiebke

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2013-07

Appeared In: CGP Working Papers

Governing a Knowledge Commons: The Infl ...

Knowledge is a rather new member of the “commons family”. For quite a while, it has played a minor role in the research on commons and governance systems. However, since last decade, both its relevance and attention gained have tremendously increased. Open Access (OA) to (scientific) knowledge will play an increasingly important role in (the study of ) the digital age. This paper focuses on the problems of collective action in the creation of an OA repository as a knowledge commons and thus contributes to this development. The case of open access to scholarly knowledge is relevant not only because of its recent nature; it also shows the story of a good whose use has severely suffered from the impact of privatization. While academic journals have been the traditional forum for making scientific information and innovation known to peers and other audiences, this format has gone through two big institutional changes during the last 30 years. Firstly, the publishing rights and habits changed in a way that the ownership of more and more journals ended up in the hands of a few very big and influential publishing companies (e.g. Oxford University Press, Routledge). Secondly, the upcoming of the Internet made it much easier and less costly to disseminate publications (Suber 2007; Hess and Ostrom 2007). The combination of these two processes produced a system of enclosure and rising prices: between 1986 and 2000 the average price for journal subscriptions has tripled (Hess 2005).1 Open Access in the form of online repositories is an attempt to counter this enclosure and turn scientific knowledge from a club back to a public good (Kranich 2007; cp. Table 1). The governance of OA repositories is comparable to that of all other commons. In a way it depends on the organization of collective action. It is prone to social dilemmas as well. For knowledge commons, this dilemma does not so much come in the form of the famous “tragedy of the commons” (Hardin 1968), where the rationally induced overuse by individuals unavoidably leads to the destruction of a resource. Rather, OA repositories are likely to suffer from a social dilemma which the commons theorist Peter Suber labeled the “tragic stalemate” (2007:183). The tragic stalemate points to a situation of collective paralysis in which all potential users of a good would profit from its provision, but none of them wants to take the first step to provide it.

Subject: Open Access, Knowledge

Cascades of Collective Action?

Center for Global Politics Working Paper 01/2013

Fischer, Florian

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2013-02

Appeared In: CGP Working Papers

Cascades of Collective Action?

By testing the model of information cascades through the analysis of the recent political uprisings in Egypt and Syria, this study aims not only at enhancing our knowledge of the model and its possible application(s), but also hopes to specifically shed light on how concise its adoption by Shirky is with regard to social media. At the same time, it may contribute to our understanding of the recent political developments in the Middle East. It is important to mention at this point, that this paper does not aim at a general explanation of the occurrence of political protest in Egypt or Syria. While factors such as economic performance and resource distribution,8 rising (food) prices,9 demographic changes in combination with (the lack of) educational and economic opportunities,10 as well as sectarian divisions11 can be considered as possibly having contributed to the occurrence and development of political protest in Egypt and Syria respectively, they will not be discussed in detail here due to the scope and focus of this study. Within the broad framework of collective action theory, this paper solely focuses on how political protests might be regarded as information cascades (as understood by Lohmann) and the impact social media might have on these (as proposed by Shirky).

Subject: syria, collective action, social movement, social media

Multipolarity, Intersubjectivity, and Models of International Society: Experiences of Russia – EU (Mis)communication

Andrey Makaychev

Makarychev, Andrey / Sergunin, Alexander

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2012-01


This Working Paper seeks to analyze the multifaceted Russia – EU relations as seen from different models of multipolarity. The key question the authors address is how the various perspectives of multipolarity can shape the EU – Russia relations and bring different outcomes. Arguably, Moscow and Brussels have divergent ideas about the practical arrangements the idea of multipolarity implies; besides, inside Russia and the EU there are multiple competing views on multipolarity. This plurality of voices requests a scrutiny of different models of a multipolar international society in which Russia and EU are its constitutive poles. In a multipolar world, the Russian – European inter-subjective interaction may take different institutional forms which we flesh out in this paper, dwelling upon a well-known distinction between pluralist and solidarist types of international society. Methodologically, the paper is based on an inter-subjective approach to EU – Russia relations. Inter-subjectivity connotes not only a possibility of achieving some practical effects of altering policies of other actors, but also of constituting their roles and even identities in the process of communicative exchanges.

Subject: multipolarity, intersubjectivity, russia

Multipolarity in Plural: Resignification(s), Language Games, and Russia’s Multiple Identities

Andrey Makaychev

Makarychev, Andrey

Garystraße 55, D-14195 Berlin: Center for Global Politics | 2011-12


In his Working Paper, Andrey Makarychev addresses the situation of linguistic uncertainty that gives obvious political effects. He approaches the concept of multipolarity, which has been well-known for decades, and demonstrates that it has multiple meanings in Russia. He challenges the almost iconic uniformity of the idea of multipolarity, showing that it hides many alternative discourses, both academic and political. As a “Russian doll”, the unpacked multipolarity breaks down into a number of fragments, which constitute a certain menu of Russia´s foreign policy choices. The author invites to think more creatively about Russian foreign policy narratives by asking such questions as: how “real” is multipolarity in the eyes of Russian experts? Is there a gap between its academic understanding and political meaning? Shall Russia and EU find a common language in their worldviews, or are discursive disconnections between them to prevail?

Subject: multipolarity, russia, multi-regionalism

The role of civil society organizations in China and Germany

Working Paper 69 - Margret Thieme

Segbers, Klaus/ Yu Keping/ Jantschek, Ole

Center for Global Politics | 2009

The role of civil society organizations ...

From March 13 to 15, 2009, the Center for Global Politics at Freie Universität Berlin and the Chinese Center for Comparative Politics and Economics in Beijing held the workshop “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in China and Germany”, funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The research objective was to analyze the role of civil society organizations in political regulation in China and Germany as well as their contribution to ensuring efficiency in specific policy areas.

Subject: civil society, china, germany,