Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker

Thorsten Bonacker
Dr. Kathrin Bonacker

Deputy Executive Director

Contact information

+49 6421 28-24574 +49 6421 28-24528 thorsten.bonacker@staff 1 Ketzerbach 11
35032 Marburg
F|20 Institutsgebäude (Room: 103 resp. +1/0030)

Organizational unit

Philipps-Universität Marburg Zentrum für Konfliktforschung (ZfK)

Thorsten Bonacker is professor for peace and conflict studies at the Center for Conflict Studies and the Faculty of Social Science and Philosophy at Marburg University. At the Center he directs two master programs in peace and conflict studies.

He is an elected member of the committee for social sciences at the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and a member of the research board of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs as well as of the Institute for Peace Reseach and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. At Marburg he is board member of the International Center for the Research and Documentation of War Crime Trials .

Since 2022 he co-leads the research network Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict and is a member in the Regional Research Centre Transformations of Political Violence. Funded by the DAAD in the Erasmus program he coordinates a projects on Integration of Work-based Learning in Conflict, Peace and Security Studies.

Together with the Civil Peace Service in the GIZ and partner universities in Battambang (Cambodia), Dili (Timor Leste) and Marawi (Mindanao, Philippines), he is involved in the project Southeast Asian University Partnership for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation. Regionally, his research focuses mainly on Southeast Asia and Central Asia.


T. Bonacker

His research is located at the crossroad of international political sociology and peace and conflict studies. For a long time he has been interested in theories and methods in peace and conflict as well as in critical security studies. Currently, he is working on practices of international administration in postcolonial and postwar societies, reparation politics of victim organizations in postwar justice and affective dimension of political violence. Methodologically, he uses theory driven and comparative research designs. Regionally he is particularly interested in Central Asia and Southeast Asia (particularly Cambodia and Timor Leste).



Reguraly he is teaching classes on introduction on peace and conflict studies, methods of conflict analysis, violent conflicts in the 20th and 21st century and an ongoing research seminar on international rule in postwar and postcolonal societies.

Since 2010 he has organised a series of summer schools in Central Asia. He is also the co-director of the Hessen International Summer University.

Topics for elective modules I am teaching in peace and conflict studies as well as in political science, sociology and international development studies are:

  • Postcolonial and post communist statebuilding
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Political legitimacy and conflict in Central Asia and Southeast Asia
  • Informal politics in fragile and conflict affected states
  • Transitional justice & peacebuilding

If you would like to write a BA or MA dissertation on related topics please come to my office hour with a first suggestion for a research question.

  • Vita

    Thorsten Bonacker studied sociology, psychology, philosophy, and cultural studies at University of Marburg from 1990 to 1996. He then worked for three years as a research assistant to Professor Stefan Müller-Doohm at the Carl-von-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg from where he gained his PhD in 1999. He then began work as a research assistant at the Institute of Sociology at Philipps-Universität, Marburg while also teaching as a substitute professor of Sociology in Oldenburg. In 2004 he was appointed as an assistant professor of peace and conflict studies in Marburg, where he was awarded a prize in recognition of excellent teaching by the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art in 2007. In 2008, Bonacker turned down an offer of a position as professor of Political Science at the University of Augsburg, opting instead for the position of professor of peace and conflict studies in Marburg. He has also taught as a guest lecturer at Universities in Innsbruck, Frankfurt and Almaty. In 2022 he took over the role as the coordinator of the Collaborative Research Cluster "Dynamics of Security" at the Universities of Marburg anf Gießen. Furthermore, he is

  • Current research projects

  • Recently finished projects

  • Selected publications

    Bonacker, T. 2022: Trusteeship as Affective Arrangement. Exploring Affective Practices of an International Bureaucracy, in: an Lüdert, Maria Ketzmerick, Julius Heise (Hg.): The United Nations Trusteeship System. Legacies, Continuities, and Change, 190-212.

    Kolah Ghoutschi, S./ de Luna, A./ Bonacker, T. 2021: Translating Sexuality Education in Ethiopia and Kenya: A Multi-Sited Approach, in: Australian Feminist Law Journal 47, 251-282.

    Bonacker, T./ Lottholz, P. 2022: The Post-Imperial Politics of Security and Depoliticisation: Comparing Discourses and Practices of Ordering Across Central Asia, in: Europe-Asia-Studies, online first:

    Lottholz, P./ Bonacker, T. 2022: Understanding the Post-Imperial Politics of Security, Stability and Ordering in Central Asia: An Introduction, online first:

    Bonacker, T. 2021: Reporting Security: Postcolonial Governmentality in the United Nations’ Trusteeship System, in: International Political Sociology,

    Bonacker, T./ Distler, W. 2021: Securitisation in World Politics. The Conflict on the Self-Determination of East Timor at the United Nations, in: International Quarterly for Asian Studies 52: 1-2, 35-54

    Bonacker, T & Sydiq, T 2020: The International and the Construction of Opposition in Iran, in: R. Ouaissa, F. Pannewick & A. Strohmeier (Hg.): Re-Configurations. Contextualising Transformation Processes and Lasting Crises in the Middle East and North Africa, Springer (open access) 65-81.

    Bonacker, T & Zimmer, K 2019: The Localization of Sexual Rights in Ukraine, in: Radzhana Buyantueva & Maryna Shevtsova (Hg.): LBTQ+ Activism in Centralk and Eastern Europe, Cham: Palgrave, 153-184.

    Bonacker, T (2019): Security Practices and the Production of Center-Periphery-Figurations in Statebuilding, in: Alternatives, online first:

    Bonacker, T/ Distler, W/ Ketzmerick, M 2018: Securitisation and Desecuritisation of Violence in Trusteeship Statebuilding, in: Civil Wars, online first:

    Bonacker, T 2018: The Militarization of Security. A Systems Theory Perspective, in: Critical Military Studies, online first: DOI:10.1080/23337486.2018.1505383

    Bonacker, T/ Brodocz, A 2017: Introduction: Authority Building in International Administered Territories, in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 11:4, 395-498

    Bonacker, T/ Distler, W/ Ketzmerick, M (Hg.) 2017: Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

    Bonacker, T/ Liebetanz. D 2017: How Dynamics of Security Contribute to Illiberal Statebuildung: The Case of Tajikistan, in: Bonacker, T/ Distler, W/ Ketzmerick, M (Hg.) (2017): Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 245-270

    Bonacker, T/ Ketzmerkick, K 2017: How Security Dynamics Shaped Trusteeship Statebuilding: The French Adminstration of Cameroon, in: Bonacker, T/ Distler, W/ Ketzmerick, M (Hg.) (2017): Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 155-182.

    Bonacker, T/ von Heusinger, J/Zimmer, K 2017: Localization in Development Aid. How Global Institutions enter Local Lifeworlds, London/ New York

    Bonacker, T  2015: The Inclusion of Victims and the Globalization of Criminal Law, in: Boris Holzer/ Fatima Kastner/ Tobias Werron (ed): From Globalization to World Society. Neo-Institutional and Systems-Theoretical Perspectives, London/ New York: Routledge, 107-127

    Bonacker, T/ Kowalewski, S 2014: Peacebuilding and Human Rights, in: Anja Mihr & Mark Gibney (ed.): The SAGE Handbook of Human Rights, London: Sage, 875-894 

    Bonacker, T/ Safferling, C (ed.) 2013: Victims of International Crimes: An Interdisciplinary Discourse, Den Haag: Asser Press/ Springer Verlag.

    Bonacker, T/ Buckley-Zistel, S 2013: Transitions from Violence - Analyzing the Effects of Transitional Justice, Focus Section on the Impact of Transitional Justice, in: International Journal of Conflict and Violence 7 (1)

    Bonacker, T 2013: Global Victimhood. On the Charisma of the Victim in Transitional Justice Processes, in: World Political Science Review 9, 1, 97-121

    Bonacker, T/ Safferling, C. (ed.) 2013: Victims of International Crimes: An Interdisciplinary Discourse, Den Haag: Asser Press/ Springer Verlag.

    Bernshausen, S./ Bonacker, T 201): A Constructivist Perspective on Systemic Conflict Transformation. In: Daniela Körppen, Norbert Ropers & Hans J. Giessmann (eds.): The Non-Linearity of Peace Processes. Theory and Practice of Systemic Conflict Tranformation, p. 23-38

    Bonacker, T/ Diez, T/ Gromes, T/ Groth, J/ Pia, E 2011: Human Rights and the (De)Securitization of Conflict, in: R Marchetti/ N Tocci (ed.): Civil Society, Conflicts and the Politicization of Human Rights, Tokio: United Nations University Press, 14-46

    Bonacker, T/ Braun, C/ Groth, J 2011: The Impact of Civil Society on Conflict: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis, in: R Marchetti/ N Tocci (ed.): Civil Society, Conflicts and the Politicization of Human Rights, Tokio: United Nations University Press, 220-242.

    Bonacker, T/ Form, W/ Pfeiffer, D 2011: Transitional Justice and Victim Participation in Cambodia: A World Polity Perspective

    Bonacker, T/ Wagner, U. 2010: Genocide Prevention and the Dynamics of Conflict, in: C Safferling/ E Conze (ed): The Genocide Convention. Sixty Years after its Adoption, Den Haag: Asser Press, 99-110

    Bonacker, T 2007: Debordering by Human Rights. The Challenge of Postterritorial Conflicts in World Society. In: Stephan Stetter (ed.): Contradictions! Territorial Conflicts in World Society, London: Routledge, p. 21-36

    Bonacker, T/ Gromes, T 2007: Securitisation as a Tool for Analysing the Role of Human Rights-Related Civil Society in Ethno-Political Conflicts, Working Paper Series, Center for Conflict Studies, Marburg.

    Bonacker, T 2006: Disclosing Critique. The Contingency of Understanding in Adornos Interpretative Social Theory, in: European Journal of Social Theory 9.

    Bonacker, T 2006: What Do We Have in Common? Modernity and the Paradoxes of Postnational Integration, in: Studies in Social and Political Thought 10, p. 73-97.

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