Dr Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt

Senior Research Fellow

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Phone: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-Mail: ecker-ehrhardt@gcr21.uni-due.de


10/2017 - 09/2020

University of Leipzig

Institute of Political Science

Temporary Professor of International Relations

04/2017 - 09/2017

Freie Universität Berlin

Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science

Temporary Professor of International Security

04/2014 - 03/2017

Freie Universität Berlin

Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science

Project leader, "The Communicated IO: Public Relations, Civil Society Inclusion and Global Politicization of International Organizations"

04/2013 - 03/2014

University of Leipzig

Institute of Political Science

Temporary Professor of International Relations

10/2012 - 03/2013

Freie Universität Berlin

Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science

Visiting Professor of International Relations

03/2005 - 03/2013

Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

Department "Transnational Conflicts and International Institutions"

Senior Research Fellow

09/2003 - 02/2005

University of Bremen

Institute for International and Intercultural Studies (InIIS)

Research Fellow

09/1999 - 08/2003

Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

Working Group "Internationale Politics"

Research Fellow

Research Interests

  • International organizations and international authority
  • Public communication and public opinion
  • Legitimation and delegitimation
  • International Political Sociology
  • International Security and Peacekeeping
  • Global Climate Governance
  • Global Migration Governance

Current Projects

  • Building Bridges or Holding the Trench? Tweeting the Global Compact for Migration

  • Self-Legitimation by Framing Failure? United Nations Communication of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers


  • Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW)

  • European International Studies Association (EISA)

  • International Studies Association (ISA)


Dr Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt joined the research group 'Legitimation and delegitimation in global cooperation' in November 2020 and will be a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre until October 2021.


Research Project at the Centre

Understanding international organizations' social media ecology in times of anti-cosmopolitan contestation

His research at the Centre takes on social media as increasingly relevant arenas for the legitimation and delegitimation of international organizations. Empirically, the project focuses on debating international authority in global migration and climate governance online—two of the currently most controversial areas of global governance. Theoretically, he aims at a holistic perspective on the social media ecology of international authority. In this perspective, IO social media professionals are important translators of meaning, including claims to international authority and representation. At the same time, these attempts to provide compelling narratives about international authority and representation are heavily contested by critics, providing alternative readings of what international authority and representation is about. Arguably, social media frees public discourse from classical processes of elite gatekeeping and moderation to some widely debated extent, empowering citizens to co-create and distribute meaning. However, social media provide peculiar opportunities to self-selective clustering of communication ('echo chambers'), ideological polarization, conspiracy theories and incivility—new challenges to public deliberation as a precondition for democratic governance. With this focus, the project shall enhance our understanding of new digital spaces of reflexive global governance and their potential for democratizing international authority in times of anti-cosmopolitan contestation.

Seminars and Conferences

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „Global Governance in the Digital Age“, postponed to the 9th European Workshops in International Studies, EISA, Thessaloniki, 30 June-3 July, 2021 (with Corneliu Bjola)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „Public Communication in International Politics: Analyzing Capacities, Strategies, and Impact“, 44rd ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, Pisa, April 24-28, 2015 (with Bernd Schlipphak)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „Entgrenzte politische Teilhabe? Beiträge zu einer politischen Soziologie transnationaler Mobilisierungs- und Partizipationsprozesse“ at Technische Universität Berlin, June 12, 2015 (with Sabrina Zajak)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „The Quest for Legitimacy in World Politics – International Organizations’ Self-Legitimation“, 43rd ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, Warschau, March 29 to April 2, 2015 (with Jennifer Gronau, Henning Schmidtke, Dominic Zaum)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „Legitimate Global Governance? Searching for Patterns and Explanations of Public Attitudes Towards International Institutions“, 1st European Workshops in International Studies, EISA, Tartu, June 5-8, 2012 (with Bernd Schlipphak)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop „Konstruktivistische Forschung jenseits des konstruktivistischen Mainstreams“ at WZB, Juni 1-2, 2012 (with Martin Koch and Anna Holzscheiter)

  • Co-Organizer, Workshop “Gesellschaftliche Politisierung und Internationale Institutionen“ at WZB, March 6-7, 2008 (with Michael Zürn)


Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2020 “IO public communication going digital? Understanding social media adoption and use in times of politicization”, In: Ruben Zaiotti and Coneliu Bjola (eds). The Digital Diplomacy of International Organizations: Autonomy, Legitimacy and Contestation in the Global Digital Age, Routledge, p. 21-50.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2020 "Wie und warum kommunizieren internationale Organisationen? Zum problematischen Verhältnis von Politisierung und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit", Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 26:3 (forthcoming).

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2020 “IO Public Communication and Discursive Inclusion: How the UN Reported the Arms Trade Treaty Process to a Global Audience". Journal of International Relations and Development, 23, p. 385–413.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2018 “International Organizations ‘Going Public’? An Event-History Analysis of Public Communication Reforms from 1950 to 2015”. International Studies Quarterly, 62:4, 723–36.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2018 “Self-Legitimation in the Face of Politicization: Why International Organizations Centralize Public Communication”. Review of International Organizations. 13:4, S.519-46.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2016: “Why do Citizens Want the UN to Decide? Cosmopolitan Ideas, Particularism and Global Authority”. International Political Science Review. 37:1, S.99-114; DOI: 10.1177/0192512114540189

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2014: “Why Parties Politicize International Governance: On Globalization Backlash and Authority Contestation”. Review of International Political Economy, 21:6, 1275-1312; DOI: 10.1080/09692290.2013.839463

Bonacker, Thorsten, and Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt 2013: „Entstehung und Zerfall von Autorität in der Weltpolitik. Eine differenzierungstheoretische Perspektive“. Leviathan Sonderheft „Ordnung und Wandel in der Weltpolitik. Grundzüge einer Soziologie der internationalen Beziehungen“, 151-76.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias, and Michael Zürn 2013: „Die Politisierung der Weltpolitik.“ In: Zürn, M.; M. Ecker-Ehrhardt (Eds.): Die Politisierung der Weltpolitik. Umkämpfte internationale Institutionen. Berlin: Edition Suhrkamp, 335-368.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2012: “’But the UN Said So …’: International Organizations as Discursive Authorities.” Global Society, 26:4, 451-471.

Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias 2012: “Cosmopolitan Politicization? Relating Public Perceptions of Interdependence and Expectations in Internationalized Governance.” European Journal of International Relations, 18:3, 481-508.

Zürn, Michael, Martin Binder and Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt 2012: “International Authority and its Politicization.” International Theory - A Journal of International Politics, Law and Philosophy, 4:1, 69-106.