In the context of economic and societal globalization, non-state actors become increasingly important for the success or failure of governance on the international level. While the state is, allegedly, subject to profound transformation, if not failure, NGOs act as powerful advocates of normative orders and transnational corporations become co-regulators within global policy networks or public-private partnerships.
Research Department III has been reconfigured in 2009 to focus on the newly emerging and changing roles of private actors in the context of Just Peace Governance. It analyzes the transnational dimension of the tense relationship between justice and peace guided by the overarching research question: Under what conditions does inclusion or exclusion of private actors contribute to the success/failure of Just Peace Governance ?
While they often engage as justice entrepreneurs, the role of private actors in the context of Just Peace Governance is highly ambiguous: on the one hand, they support the normative order of transnational relations and contribute to solving transnational problems; on the other hand, they are also the source of political and normative conflicts due to their diverging interests and understandings of justice. The research department focuses on three different types of non-state actors: networks of criminals and armed groups, transnational corporations and civil society actors.
Transnational organized crime challenges the state’s monopoly over the use of force and thereby its capacity of fostering justice in society. Other types of violent actors, such as rebel groups, aim to establish alternative norms of justice and forms of order and maybe compensate state failure. Transnational corporations, for their part, evade state control. Hence, they either contribute to the intensification of certain justice-related conflicts or render states' attempts at solving these ineffective. On the other hand, they maybe directly involved in the fulfilment of justice claims when they take over state functions such as the provision of puplic goods. Civil society actors, such as NGos and social movements, regularly acts as justice entrepreneurs who frame and advocate new normative standards and demand their fulfilment. However, in particular where global and local conceptions are in tension, this engagement may negatively impact upon conflict dynamics.
Within this research department, different types of non-state actors are at the same time analyzed as causers of justice-related conflicts who violate justice conceptions, as addressees of justice claims and as justice entrepreneurs who propose particular and partially competing solutions for conflicts over redistribution, recognition and representation. The department investigates theses differing potentials and impacts of private actors in the context of Just Peace Governance systematically, from descriptive, causal-analytic and normative perspective.