Photo: Annette Hauptmann
Doctoral student Prof. Wiener (supervisor, since October 2020) and Prof. van Aaken (co-supervisor, since October 2020)
Transcending Nation States: Assessing and Modeling Civil Society Movements’ Influence on International Law
As many places on earth are ceasing to be habitable by humans due to climate change, nation states exhibit a striking resistance to taking the necessary steps for preventing a catastrophe. In yearly regularity, delegations of all 193 member states of the United Nations fail to negotiate an agreement that would keep global warming to an endurable minimum – if all adhered to its terms. Meanwhile, across the globe, people are taking to the streets in globally orchestrated climate marches, urging the global community to join forces in combatting climate change effectively in a civil society movement. Recognizing the inability of their national governments to coordinate and create international law, they coordinate instead, taking the international stage by storm and dominating (pre-Corona) global media coverage.
In this doctoral thesis, I explore the role of such informal civil society movements in the making of international law. I propose to do this by employing a method from computational social science, agent-based modeling. This method, which is not part of the standard toolbox of scholars in that field yet, allows for the exploration of the potential mechanisms by which informal civil society movements might exert their influence within the established international realm. The climate change movement serves as a case study to explore the significance and effects of informal civil society movements in global governance and international law.