Privatdozentin Dr. Franziska Martinsen

University of Hannover

Curriculum Vitae

PD Dr. Franziska Martinsen studied Philosphy, Political Science, and Music at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin. After working as a research associate at the University of Basel, she received her doctoral degree in Philosophy with a piece on Sharing Across Borders? Justice and Cosmopolitanism. She was also a research assistant at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) for a project focused on analyzing European policy issues from a legal-theoretical perspective. Since 2005, she has held various teaching positions, including at the University of Basel’s Center for Gender Studies, the University of Zurich, and the University of Göttingen. From 2007 to 2017, Franziska Martinsen was a research associate at the University of Hannover’s Department of Political Theory and the History of Ideas. During her time there, she also acquired the venia legendi in political science (2016). Since receiving her habilitation, Franziska Martinsen has been a visiting professor at the University of Vienna as well as an interim professor at the University of Greifswald, the University of Kiel, and the University of Bremen’s Research Center for Inequality and Social Politics (SOCIUM).

Franziska Martinsen is a board member of the German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft). She is also the spokeswoman for the Association’s branches for Political Theory and the History of Ideas as well as Politics and Gender.

Her research interests include political philosophy and theory, the political history of ideas, legal and social philosophy, democratic theory, and theories of (global) justice.  

From September 2019 to March 2020, PD Dr. Franziska Martinsen was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture.”

Research Project

“‘Call for Human Rights.’ Claims to Economic Autonomy in Global Human Rights Semantics”

This research project builds upon the results of my study on The Limits of Human Rights. Citizenship, Belonging, Participation (2019). One of the central arguments suggests that human rights cannot correspond to individual and collective claims to a self-determined life as long as they are understood as humanitarian, and thus as moral, rights in particular. The disputes and decisions about the conditions of human life – of political and economic autonomy – are to be viewed as matters of political practice that should not interpreted in a moral language, especially because their actual challenge, namely the participatory inclusion of all those affected by political decisions, is neglected.

At the core of my project “‘Call for Human Rights.’ Claims to Economic Autonomy in Global Human Rights Semantics” are global human rights semantics, which can collectively be comprehended as a field of public political debate on possible interpretations of human rights. Individual and collective claims to a human right – to economic autonomy – as formulated, for example, in human rights NGOs, will be analyzed, ultimately pursuing the question of to what extent these can be viewed as (self-)communication processes about empowerment strategies in the struggle for individual and collective autonomy.

In recourse to the critical approaches towards postcolonial theory, the significance of economic autonomy, as found in UN documents, will be compared with that of political practice. It will thus be asked to what extent conventional legal-philosophical and political-theoretical conceptions – which often address human rights within a conceptual framework of liberal individual rights that ignores the dimension of political negotiation regarding the content of these claims – can be supplemented or, if necessary, revised.    

Publications (selected)


  • Grenzen der Menschenrechte. Staatsbürgerschaft, Zugehörigkeit, Partizipation, Bielefeld 2019.
  • Politische Philosophie der Besonderheit. Normative Perspektiven in pluralistischen Gesellschaften, Frankfurt a.M. 2014 (with O. Flügel-Martinsen).
  • Recht auf Wiedergutmachung. Geschlechtergerechtigkeit und die Bewältigung historischen Unrechts, Opladen 2014 (with T. Hitzel-Cassagnes).
  • Verteilung über Grenzen? Gerechtigkeit und Kosmopolitismus, Frankfurt a.M. 2011.

Editorial Work

  • Radikale Demokratietheorie. Ein Handbuch, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2019 (with D. Comtesse, O. Flügel-Martinsen, M. Nonhoff).
  • Pierre Rosanvallon’s Political Thought. Bielefeld 2018 (with O. Flügel-Martinsen, S.W. Sawyer, D. Schulz).
  • Wissen. Macht. Meinung. Digitalisierung und Demokratie, Weilerswist 2018.
  • Staatsverständnisse in Frankreich, Baden-Baden 2018 (with N. Campagna).
  • Welches Europa wollen wir? Solidarität in der Politik, Weilerswist 2017 (with D. Horster).
  • Alle Macht den Städten? Partizipation und Praxis in der Stadt von morgen, Weilerswist 2016 (with. D. Horster).
  • Demokratietheorie und Staatskritik aus Frankreich. Neuere Diskurse und Perspektiven, Reihe Staatsdiskurse, hrsg. v. Rüdiger Voigt, Stuttgart 2015 (with O. Flügel-Martinsen).


  • Politik und Politisches, in: Comtesse, Dagmar/Flügel-Martinsen, Oliver/Martinsen, Franziska/Nonhoff, Martin (eds.), Radikale Demokratietheorie. Ein Handbuch, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2019.
  • Demokratie, in: Comtesse, Dagmar/Flügel-Martinsen, Oliver/Martinsen, Franziska/Nonhoff, Martin (eds.), Radikale Demokratietheorie. Ein Handbuch, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2019 (with D. Comtesse, O. Flügel-Martinsen, M. Nonhoff).
  • Repräsentation versus Performativität. Feministische Perspektiven, in: Voigt, Rüder (ed.), Repräsentation. Eine Schlüsselkategorie der Demokratie, Baden-Baden 2019.
  • Stereotype Zuschreibungen. Die Rolle von Frauen in Internationalen Men-schenrechtsabkommen und UN-Deklarationen, in: Birke, Roman/Sachse, Carola (eds.), Das Geschlecht der Menschenrechte von der Frühen Neuzeit bis in die Gegenwart, Göttingen 2018.
  • Die Erfindung der Citoyenne. Weibliche (Staats-)Bürgerschaft und die Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter in Olympe de Gougesʼ politischen Schriften, in: Campagna, Norbert/Martinsen, Franziska (eds.), Staatsverständnisse in Frankreich, Baden-Baden, 2018.
  • Das Menschenrecht auf politische Partizipation – Zur Revision des gegenwärtigen Menschenrechtsverständnisses, in: Mürbe, Ulrike/Weiß, Norman (eds.), Aufgaben und Grenzen der Praktischen Philosophie vor dem Hintergrund menschen- und völkerrechtlicher Wirklichkeiten. Studien zu Grund- und Menschenrechten des MenschenRechtsZentrums der Universität Potsdam 2018.
  • Powerlessness versus Empowerment. The Aporia of Human Rights and Political Subjectivation, Coils of the Serpent. Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power 1:1, 2017.
  • Gerechtigkeit: Das Recht auf Rechte, in: Verrone, Assunta/Nickl, Peter (eds.), Welche Gerechtigkeit? Münster 2016.
  • Climate Change and the Concept of Shared Ecological Responsibility, Environmental Ethics 35:2, 2013 (with J. Seibt).