Research Project 3: ‘Rogue States’, ‘Outlaws’, and ‘Pariahs’: Dissidence between Delegitimization and Justification

This cross-programme-area project carried out at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) analyses the criminalization of radically different concepts of international political order as a strategy of delegitimization which denies the legitimacy of dissidents’ claims to redistribution, recognition and representation and which may thus hamper efforts towards just peace. The project conceptualizes dissidence as a social construction located between the opposing poles of criminalization (as illegitimate and even illegal) and self-description (as legitimate and political).

Its descriptive part takes stock of different paths this interaction can take. The case studies comprise instances in which actors or practices are delegitimized ex post, after having been previously regarded as in conformity with the existing normative order; in which formerly criminalized actors or practices gain recognition; and in which actors are stigmatized apparently in an arbitrary manner. The explanatory research focus lies on the mechanisms of how radical dissidence is constructed,and on the conditions under which governmental or non-governmental dissenters succeed in gaining recognition or are successfully discredited as “rogues”, “outlaws” or “pariahs”. A comparison of cases is intended to shed light on different processes and actors involved as well as trace the mechanisms that may lead actors to chose a path into radical opposition or re-integrate themselves into existing normative orders and their institutions. In the final, policy orientedphase the project reflects about how political order should be designed to allow for a just dealing with radical opposition.


Project funded by the German Research Foundation.

Researchers in this project:

Harald Müller | Klaus Dieter Wolf | Svenja Gertheiss | Stefanie Herr | Carmen Wunderlich
Additional members: Claudia Baumgart-Ochse, Una Becker-Jakob, Annegret Flohr, Andreas
Jacobs, Konstanze Jüngling.