Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Alumni Fellows

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

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-141
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: koddenbrock@spam


Dr. Kai Koddenbrock joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. He conducted his research in Research Unit 4 “Paradoxes and Perspectives of Democratization” from September 2013 to August 2014.

Research Project at the Centre

A Democratic Ethos of Intervention? Attitudes Towards Political Struggle in Western Humanitarianism and Peacebuilding

If one accepts that democracy is a 'process of exploration and experimentation' (Rosanvallon) democracy requires an appreciation of opposition and political conflict. My project investigates the nature of the democratic ethos among intervention and individual interveners. Intervention is not democratic because it is practiced by democracies or because it aims to install democracy in the intervened country. Instead, building on an understanding of democracy as process, the ethos animating intervention from inside has to be considered if intervention is to be called ‘democratic’. How individual humanitarians, development workers or peacebuilders reflect on political conflict with 'partners' and 'beneficiaries' will be used as an indicator of the way this democratic ethos is fostered among intervention actors or not.

Research Interests

  • Intervention
  • Social Theory
  • Anthropology of the State
  • International Political Economy
  • Financial Markets


2009-2013 University of Bremen
Ph.D. in Political Science
Supervision: Prof. Klaus Schlichte and Prof. David Chandler
Topic: The Ambiguous Practice of Intervention. A Critique of the Self-Evidence of Humanitarianism and Peacekeeping in the Congo
08/2011-12/2011 Columbia University, New York
Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
Visiting Scholar
2008-2009 Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin
Research Associate
2005 - 2006 University of Passau
Chair for Political Science I Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heinrich Oberreuter
Research Assistant
2003-2004 University of Passau
MA Political Science
2002-2008 University of Passau
International Cultural and Economic Studies


Koddenbrock, Kai / Andrea Binder / András Horvarth (2013): Reflections on the inequity of humanitarian action: Courses of action for Germany, Discussion paper, Global Public Policy Institute Berlin

Koddenbrock, Kai (2013): The "Failed State" Effect: Statebuilding and State Stories from the Congo, in: David Chandler / Timothy Sisk (eds.): Routledge Handbook of Statebuilding, 118-130

Koddenbrock, Kai (2013): book review of 'Intervention as Indirect Rule: The politics of civil war and state-building in Ituri' by Alex Veit (2011), in: African Affairs, Vol. 112, No.446, 162-164

Koddenbrock, Kai (2012): Recipes for Intervention - Western Policy Papers Imagine the Congo, in: International Peacekeeping, Vol. 19, No.5, 649-564

Koddenbrock, Kai (2012): The International Self and the Humanitarianization of Politics - A case-Study of DR Congo, in: Berit Bliesemann de Guevara (ed.): Statebuilding and Stateformation - The Political Sociology of Intervention, London: Routledge, 214-229

Koddenbrock, Kai (2012): book review of 'International Statebuilding - The Rise of Post-Liberal-Governance' by David Chandler (2010), in: Peripherie, No. 125, 115-117

Koddenbrock, Kai (2009): The Will to Bridge? EC and U.S. approaches to linking relief rehabilitation and development, in: Julia Steets / Daniel S. Hamilton (eds.): Humanitarian Assistance: Improving U.S.-European Cooperation, Washington D.C.: Johns Hopkins University Press

Koddenbrock, Kai (2008): Smart Sanctions against Failed States - Strengthening the State through UN Smart Sanctions in Angola and the Democratic Republic Of Congo, Vdm Verlag Dr. Müller

Koddenbrock, Kai (2007):Qualitative Study - Semi-strucutred Interviews - About the Migration of History of Mexican Immigrants in Spanish-Harlem, New York City, USA, Chair for Geography, University of Passau

Teaching Responsibilities

  • 2013 - 2014: University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Political Science, BA Seminar: Peace and Conflict Studies
  • 2012 - 2013: University of Duisburg-Essen, Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden, BA Seminar: Perspectives on colonialism, de-colonization and development in the Congo
  • 2011: University of Magdeburg, MA Seminar: International Aid as Intervention: Making use of Foucault and Agamben

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Reviewer for 'Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding', 'Ethical Perspectives', and 'Resilience Journal'
  • April - June 2013: Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin, Senior Researcher for a study on the imbalances of humanitarian action for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • April 2009: Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Eschborn, Germany. Consultant. Participation in the development of the GTZ-strategy on development-oriented emergency aid in the DR Congo
  • March – May 2007: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), New York, USA. Consultant. Conception und co-management of the study “The Effectiveness of Foreign Military Assets in Natural Disaster Response”, undertaken in cooperation with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Case studies: Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti und Mozambique
  • Sept. 2006 – Feb. 2007: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), New York, USA. Fellow of the Carlo-Schmid-Program. Policy Development and Studies Branch. Contributions to study on sanctions in the DR Congo. Participation in evaluations and strategic planning
  • January – April 2005: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, Germany Intern. Section: Central America and the Caribbean. Study on small and medium enterprises and strategies to support them
  • Oct. – December 2004: Groupe d’Action Recherche pour le Développement Global Integré (Gardegi), Notsè, Togo. Fellow of the ASA-Program. Qualitative study for the NGO on the reasons of poverty among 20 rural households and with key donors in the capital Lomé
  • July 2001 – August 2002: Camphill School for Handicapped Youngsters, Hermanus, South Africa. Civil service as educator of two teenagers, thirteen and fifteen years old. Assistant teacher in the fourth and fifth grade

Seminars and Conferences

  • Resilience and Capital: Two Accounts of the (Im)Possibility of Agency, SGIR Conference Warsaw, September 2013
  • Ambiguous Practice: Making Practice Theory ripe for IR, From ‘praxis turn’ to ‘praxeological mainstream’, Institut für Höhere Studien, Soziologie, Vienna, June 2013
  • Democratic Intervention and Local Legitimacy, Invited speaker at the workshop organized by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for global Cooperation Research Duisburg and the University of Queensland, Australia, Duisburg, May 2013
  • The government as blind spot: How think tanks like the ICG disregard the strategic dilemmas and rationality of the Congolese government , Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, USA, April 2013
  • Democracy, Visibility and Resistance, Discussant at the Käte Hamburger Lecture by Prof. David Chandler, Duisburg, February 2013
  • Producing the Congolese State - An Ethnography of the State in Intervention, Workshop Anthropology and IR, HSFK/ University of Frankfurt, November 2012
  • Performing the Congo, with Peer Schouten, Millenium conference, London School of Economics, October 2012
  • Bringing the State back out – Ein Versuch anhand der Produktion und Infragestellung von Staatlichkeit im Kongo, Bi-annual conference of the German Political Science association, Tübingen, September 2012
  • The political economy of the financial crisis, Studienwerk Villigst, Summer School, Worskhop facilitator, September 2012
  • Out of many, one – Plural norms and reigning rationalities among intervention in the Congo, European Association of Social Anthropologists, Paris, July 2012
  • Norms and rationalities of intervention: Confronting Foucault to the African condition, Workshop critical norm research, University of Münster, June 2012
  • Producing and Contesting the State - International Intervention and the Ontological Status of the State in the Congo, Biannual conference of the Association of Africanists in Germany, Cologne, May 2012
  • Financial Crisis, Lupe e.V., Annual conference, workshop facilitator, Passau, May 2012
  • Producing and Questioning the State and Perspectives on Intervention – International Intervention and the Legacy of the State, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, USA, Apri 2012
  • Postcolonial power and capitalism - Critical approaches to contemporary international aid, Podiumsvorsitz Doppelpodium, Frankfurt Research Center on Postcolonial Studies, University of Frankfurt, June 2011
  • Linking, relief, rehabilitation and development, with Andrea Binder, Network International Cooperation in Conflict and Disasters, GTZ, Berlin, October 2010
  • Aimless power – Humanitarianism and Peacekeeping in the Congo’, Max-Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, June 2010
  • Aimless power – Humanitarianism and Peacekeeping in the Congo, Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies, University of Frankfurt, April 2010
  • Aimless power – Humanitarianism and Peacekeeping in the Congo, AK Orders of Violence of the German Political Science Associatioon, Bonn, April 2010
  • Aimless Domination – Humanitarianism and Peacekeeping in the Congo, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, New Orleans, USA, Februar 2010
  • The State in Africa, Carlo-Schmid Netzwerk für internationale Aufgaben e.V., Panel chair, Berlin, November 2009
  • EC and U.S. governance of the LRRD challenge, World Conference of Humanitarian Studies, Groningen, Netherlands, February 2009
  • Approaching Relief to Development – European Commission and United States Perspectives, GPPi - Johns Hopkins University, Washington.D.C., Second Transatlantic Dialogue on Humanitarian Action, workshop facilitator, December 2008


  • German Association of Political Science
  • European Association of Social Anthropology
  • German Association of Sociology
  • International Studies Association
  • British International Studies Association

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