Privatdozentin Dr. Fatima Kastner

University of Bielefeld


Prof. Dr. Fatima Kastner
Lehrbereich Globalisierungsdiskurse und digitale Transformation
FG Kunst- und Medienwissenschaften
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln (KHM)
Peter-Weller-Platz 2
50676 Köln
Tel: +49 22120189 236

Curriculum Vitae

Fatima Kastner studied law, philosophy and political science in Frankfurt, London and Paris. In 2002, she received her doctorate degree with a dissertation on “Ohnmachtssemantiken: Systemtheorie und Dekonstruktion. Zum Primat der Paradoxie von Luhmanns Systemtheorie und Derridas Dekonstruktion am Beispiel ihrer epistemologischen und rechtstheoretischen Konstruktionen” and subsequently worked as a researcher at the Hamburger Institute for Social Research.  There, she was also a Senior Research Fellow from 2011 until 2013.
Since 2014 Fatima Kastner is Ambassador for Science and Culture of the Arab-Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGY) at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
In 2015, she completed her habilitation at the University of Bielefeld with a piece on the topic “Transitional Justice in der Weltgesellschaft”. Following her habilitation, she has been working as a private lecturer at the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld.
Dr. Fatima Kastner is member of numerous academic associations as well as an expert for various  specialist journals. Moreover, her academic work was honored with the Adam Podgòrecki award in the category “outstanding achievements in socio-legal research” and the  Early Career Award of the German Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR).

From January to December 2017 PD Dr. Fatima Kastner was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Project

The Sociology of Constitutions:
Societal Constitutionalism in Globalization

Within the debates on societal constitutionalism, there are differing opinions regarding what actually comprises the typical characteristics of a constitution. It is admittedly indisputable that constitutions form normative orders that instruct further normative orders. However, whether constitutions must necessarily be structured according to the classical political legitimation model of state constitution remains highly controversial. Similarly, questions concerning to what extent international organizations, transregional commercial enterprises, or even transnational civil society protest movements and NGOs are considered “constituent powers” as well as if the disjunction of the state and the constitution is connected the structural transformations of a globalized world and what the nature of their relationship may be remain in discussion.

The project aims to pursue these questions using the dynamics, function, and performance of independent legal regimes in transnational and transregional spaces in order to conceptualize a sociology of constitutions. To do so, the macro-sociologically-oriented global cultural and societal theories of neo-institutionalism and of sociological systems theory will be combined with cultural-science-based analytical methods of legal anthropology and ethnology, which take a micro-sociological research perspective towards transnational phenomena. In contrast to conventional, primarily state-centered work on processes of societal constitutionalism, this synthesizing point of view can offer an innovative contribution to theoretical reflection on the legal, social, and cultural dimensions of constitutional orders under the structural conditions of globalization. At the same time, this can also be considered a contribution to interdisciplinary research on globalization.

Research Focal Areas

Theoretical Focal Areas: sociological theory; legal theory and political legal sociology of transnational and bordering-making institutions; comparative research on globalization as well as global society and global culture; the change of legal perceptions in transnational and transregional regions; sociology of human rights; discourse on justice in the context of intercultural communication and global constitutionalism. An additional focal area is the combination of sociological and cultural-scientific theories of the law.

Thematic Focal Areas: transformation processes of society, politics, and law under the structural conditions of globalization; mechanisms for global spreading ideas and their impact on local level, using the example of the international diffusion of international (criminal) tribunals as well as truth and reconciliation commissions; transnationalization and transregionalization in the countries of the Global South, using the example of the global spread of norms, standards, and institutions of transitional justice; local politicization of universal norms, using the example of UN’s human rights regime; emergence of independent legal regimes, using the example of transcultural diffusion of the expanded justice concept of transitional justice.

Regional Focal Areas of Empirical Research: Euro-Mediterranean area; North Africa/the Maghreb and the Middle East; Oceania

Publications (selected)

  • Transitional Justice in der Weltgesellschaft. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition 2015 (Habilitation thesis).
  • From Globalization to World Society. Neo-Institutionalism and Systems-Theoretical Perspectives. New York: Routledge 2015 (conjointly with Boris Holzer and Tobias Werron).
  • Niklas Luhmann. Law as a Social System. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008 (conjointly with Richard Nobles, David Schiff and Rosamund Ziegert).
  • Academia in Transformation. Scientific Views of the Arab Spring. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag 2017 (conjointly with Sarhan Dhouib, Florian Kohstall and Carola Richter).
  • Lex Transitus: Zur Emergenz eines globalen Rechtsregimes von Transitional Justice in der Weltgesellschaft. in: Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie Band 36 (2015), Heft 1, pp. 29-47.
  • Weltkultur der Versöhnung: Zur Ausbreitung vergangenheitspolitischer Normen, Standards und Institutionen von Transitional Justice in der Weltgesellschaft. in: Claudia Fröhlich and Harald Schmid (Ed.), Jahrbuch für Politik und Geschichte Band 6. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2016, pp. 47-59.
  • Transitional Justice: Von der normativen Ausnahme zur weltpolitischen Regel. in: Klaus Ebeling et al (Ed.), Handbuch Friedensethik, Stuttgart: Springer Verlag 2016, pp. 893-902.
  • Globale Dissensformel: Zur politischen Macht der Menschenrechte aus weltgesellschaftlicher Perspektive. in: Erwägen, Wissen, Ethik. Forum für Erwägungskultur – Forum for Deliberative Culture, Jg. 24 (2013), Heft 2, pp. 230-233.
  • Retributive versus restaurative Gerechtigkeit. Zur transnationalen Diffusion von Wahrheits- und Versöhnungskommissionen in der Weltgesellschaft. in: Regina Kreide and Andreas Niederberger (Ed.), Staatliche Souveränität und transnationales Recht. München: Hampp Verlag 2010, pp. 194-211.
  • Soziologie der Menschenrechte: Zur Universalisierung von Unrechtserfahrungen in der Weltgesellschaft. in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 42, Heft 3. Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag 2017 (in print)
  • The New Global Legal Regime of Transitional Justice: On the Worldwide Diffusion of Norms, Standards and Institutions of Post-Conflict Justice in World Society. In: Nina Schneider (Hrsg.), The Brazilian National Truth Commission in the Context of Latin America: Local, National and Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge 2017 (in print)
  • Auf dem Weg zu einer Weltkultur der Versöhnung? Transitional Justice und die Versöhnungspolitik der Vereinten Nationen. In: Irene Dingel und Urszula Pekala (Hrsg.), Ringen um Versöhnung. Versöhnungsprozesse zwischen Religion, Politik und Gesellschaft. Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2017 (i. E.)