Communicative Power and Global Cooperation

2nd Annual Conference

Please note: Due to a general cancellation of events at the University of Duisburg-Essen until mid of April because of the current corona virus emergency and in accordance with the instructions of the North Rhine-Westphalian state government, the Centre has decided to postpone its 2nd Annual Conference, scheduled for 16th April. Already registered participants will be notified. A new date will be announced in time on this website.


The 2nd Annual Conference of the KHK/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21), organized together with the Main Research Area ‘Transformation of Contemporary Societies’ at the  University of Duisburg-Essen, aims to explore the nexus between communication and cooperation, hitherto often neglected in research on global politics, transnational and global governance, and regional integration.

Communication can move people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. The reason is that communication shapes identities and relationships, thereby often making a difference in facilitating, stabilizing and intensifying collaboration, or preventing, destabilizing or disrupting it. This is what we call 'communicative power'. However, what is not well understood so far is how communicative power is mobilized globally, and what makes it succeed or fail in specific global and transnational political contexts.

The Annual Conference seeks to examine the workings of communicative power, as distinct from structural, material and positional power, in creating possibilities and hindrances for transnational and global cooperation. Understanding better how communicative power works is paramount in a context in which global cooperation, despite pressing problems of planetary scale such as climate change, is increasingly contested. Communicative power is central to processes of critique and justification of (global) public policies, and it is even more so in times of often opposing world order conceptions. Even when actors agree on overarching goals, such as sustainability, communicative challenges can still pervade their practical cooperation because of different world views. How global cooperation is communicated and how it is framed by politicians and media is also likely to shape publics’ and electorates’ support for or opposition against global politics.