In this section of my website, I take up current topics from European politics and international relations and examine them from a academic perspective. Different approaches and theories from the human sciences are discussed, especially from political culture research. They offer both experts and interested readers guidance in their own understanding of the social background to current political events. The pointed theses are intended to stimulate the discourse.

Anyone who does not want to be drowned in digitalisation with an ever-growing flood of information should improve their media competence. This includes not only an understanding of contexts and interactions of events, but also questioning one’s own knowledge and research horizon. Our open societies in Europe still offer enough space for questioning common narratives that spread opinions instead of opening perspectives and horizons. Behind the theses offered here are in most cases more detailed professional articles for further reading. 

Every scientific analysis, even if it strives for objectivity, contains subjective elements. This is because findings presuppose above all experiences and thus processed knowledge, which always remains linked to personalities. The trend towards the establishment of research teams and research alliances will not change this. For a scientific achievement, even in cooperation with other researchers, is always made by single individuals. They alone can vouch for the quality of their work. That is why I advertise on my own behalf and link to all publications from which my expertise emerges. 

"LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS!” (B.v. SUTTNER)

On International Women’s Day, March 8, one woman in particular should be remembered on the occasion of the Ukraine war, Bertha von Suttner. Growing up in the Habsburg monarchy, she wrote “Lay Down Your Arms!” as an autobiography, more than 130 years ago, which is one of the most successful books of the worldwide peace movement. In 1905, she was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her legacy includes the realisation that no end justifies the means of war. ...

UKRAINE IN CONFLICT OF IDENTITY

Since the beginning of 2022, Ukraine has temporarily pushed Corona off the top of the headlines. The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, in Donbass and Lugansk, has been smouldering for a good eight years, with no end in sight. On the contrary, the OSCE mission there complains about violations of the Minsk ceasefire agreement (15 February 2015), which was reached under the auspices of Russia, France and Germany. ...

THE KURDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

In 2021, an independent United Nations (UN) Commission of inquiry found that all parties to the conflict in Syria were guilty of war crimes. The actors concerned include not only government troops from home and abroad, but also armed groups such as the IS or Kurdish People's Defence Units (YPG). The Syrian crisis is therefore closely linked to the Kurds in the Middle East. ...

CHINA'S CLAIM TO POWER: TAIWAN

The media reports on the situation on the Polish border with Belarus sound dramatic. The situation is getting worse every day and Belarus is to blame. In terms of structure and intention, they are similar to many other foreign reports, only the names are interchangeable. This time, the Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko is the supposed villain, the "scoundrel" (Tagesspiegel, 9.11.2021, cf. quote on the left). Such personalisation of complex conflict situations only serves the goal of polarisation, in German: These media add fuel to the fire instead of helping to fight it with factual information. ...

MIGRATION BELARUS – EU

The media reports on the situation on the Polish border with Belarus sound dramatic. The situation is getting worse every day and Belarus is to blame. In terms of structure and intention, they are similar to many other foreign reports, only the names are interchangeable. This time, the Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko is the supposed villain, the "scoundrel" (Tagesspiegel, 9.11.2021, cf. quote on the left). Such personalisation of complex conflict situations only serves the goal of polarisation, in German: These media add fuel to the fire instead of helping to fight it with factual information. ...

CATALONIA'S MEDIA NARRATIVES

The former Catalan minister-president Carles Puigdemont is currently attracting media attention. From his exile in Brussels, he visited Sardinia on 24.9.2021 to participate in a Catalan cultural festival. This gave him the opportunity to meet his successor in office, Pere Aragonès, and other supporters of the Catalan independence movement. Since the European Parliament had lifted his immunity as a member of parliament on 9.3.2021, the Spanish authorities were able to demand that Italy execute the European arrest warrant against him. ...

PERSPECTIVES IN THE CORONA CRISIS

In the Corona crisis, the voices of experts in social or political science are hardly heard. Many are concerned with the deficits and conflicts of other countries, but there seems to be little interest in the preservation of our own democratic culture. However, it needs to be explained why fundamental rights have to be restricted in order to manage the dangers of a pandemic. Why is Europe going the Chinese way with lockdowns and de facto forced vaccinations instead of trusting the expertise, creativity and self-regulation of open societies? ...

10 YEARS OF ARAB SPRING

On the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring, the results from the perspective of Western democracies are mostly negative. But what criteria is this analysis based on? Couldn't a democracy-theoretical approach also lead to other findings? This article will also discuss other theories that contribute to an understanding of the current crises. The approach of system transformation, or rather transformation theory, points to deeper socio-economic and cultural contexts: According to this, there have already been consecutive processes of transformation or reform in economy and politics in the Arab world in the early 1990s. ...

CONTROVERSIES AROUND THE BREXIT

The reporting on the (post) Brexit negotiations 2019-2020 is a textbook example of how the media increasingly steer social discourses and influence political decision-making processes that actually belong in the hands of the sovereign, the citizens. Foucault's discourse analysis makes media techniques aware to recognise what has not been said, to question doctrines and to form one's own judgement. This makes it clear that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) means more to the European Union (EU) than the loss of a member. It is about the sovereignty to interpret "Europe" and about the direction European integration should take. ...

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