The Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)” is a research consortium that analyses the contemporary controversies about the model of liberal democracy and the market economy. The term “liberal script” relates to a set of ideas and institutional prescriptions about how society is organised based on the core principle of individual self-determination. The main purpose of SCRIPTS is to understand why the liberal model of order has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements.
SCRIPTS has been operating since 2019 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) until the end of 2025. The Cluster is hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin and unites eight major Berlin-based research institutes. Cluster research teams are made up of doctoral researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and professors from social, political, and area studies. SCRIPTS is well connected with research institutes and knowledge exchange partners throughout the world, including political and cultural organisations, as well as civil society actors. In addition, SCRIPTS brings renowned visiting scholars from all over the world to Berlin.
Human rights are one central component of the Liberal Script, often leading to an equation between human rights and liberalism. At the same time, the nexus between human rights and liberalism is predominantly attributed to the influence of Western/Northern liberal democracies on international human rights law-making. The project “De-Centering Human Rights: Liberalism, Human Rights, and the Global South” aims to expose how representatives of the global South have engaged with the notion of liberalism – as authors, owners, interpreters and contesters of liberal ideas in discourses on human rights. We focus on these different kinds of contestation to analyze the ways in which actors from the global South have shaped the international human rights regime. Our analysis comprises two interrelated parts relating (a) to the historical trajectories of international human rights discourses and (b) contemporary contestations with and over human rights whereby we focus in particular on contestations around human rights in the fields of global health, trade, and global social policy. The project consists of a series of workshops with human rights scholars from around the globe to result in a number of high-quality publications. The project is part of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) and led by Thomas Risse (Freie Universität Berlin), Anna Holzscheiter (Technische Universität Dresden), and Tobias Berger (Freie Universität Berlin).
The selection is done according to the SCRIPTS Diversity Rules & Guidelines: https://www.scripts-berlin.eu/about-us/Diversity
- Support the conceptualization and organization of a series of international workshops that bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars working in the above-mentioned fields
- Contribute to and support the publication of collaborative project outcomes such as special issues/edited volumes
- contribute to the research activities of the project
- Engage with the overall activities of SCRIPTS
- doctoral degree in Political Science/International Relations or a related social science discipline
- A very good doctoral degree
- Knowledge of one or more of the following (interdisciplinary) research areas: the history of human rights and human-rights related international institutions, the international politics of human rights in specific issue-areas, preferably global health/global social policy, international trade, business & human rights, or land governance
- Excellent knowledge of contemporary IR scholarship on international human rights politics and their historical trajectories
- Excellent knowledge of at least one of the substantive sub-fields of the project, i.e. global health/global social policy, international trade, business & human rights, or land governance, with a focus on at least one region in the Global South
- Very good knowledge of historiographic methods and demonstrated ability to conduct historical analyses in the social sciences
- Sound knowledge of quantitative or qualitative social science methods
- Excellent organizational and communication skills, experience of working in collaborative research projects
- Excellent command of written and spoken English
For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Tobias Berger (email@example.com / +493083865680).
Applications should be sent by e-mail, together with significant documents, indicating the reference code, in PDF format (preferably as one document) to Prof. Dr. Tobias Berger: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal to
Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften
Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Prof. Dr. Tobias Berger
14195 Berlin (Dahlem)
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