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)

At the University of Marburg, I was entrusted with the academic management of the European University for Peace, Justice and Inclusive Societies (EUPeace). I am directing SFB 138 "Dynamics of Security" and two  Master's programmes in peace and conflict studies. In collaboration with the Civil Peace Service at the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and partner universities in Battambang (Cambodia), Dili (Timor Leste) and Marawi (Mindanao, Philippines), I am devilling curricular for teaching peace and conflict.

I am a member of the research board of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs as well as of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. At Marburg I serve as a board member of the International Center for the Research and Documentation of War Crime Trials. Since 2022 I am co-leading the research network Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict and is a member in the Regional Research Centre Transformations of Political Violence. 


T. Bonacker

My research is located at the interface of sociology and political science in the field of international relations. I have long been interested in theories and methods of peace and conflict research as well as critical security studies. I am currently focussing on practices of international administration in post-colonial and post-war societies, the role of victims in dealing with past mass violence and sexual and reproductive rights as a global field of conflict. Methodologically, I use theory-orientated and case-comparative research designs with a regional focus on Central Asia and Southeast Asia (especially Cambodia and Timor Leste). As part of the regional research centre "Transformations of Political Violence", I also investigate the role of affects and atmospheres of political violence.



Reguraly I am 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 postcolonial societies.
Other topics of courses and for the supervision of theses are:
postcolonial and post communist statebuilding, humanitarian intervention, transitional justice & peacebuilding, regional conflict in Southeast Asia, interstate conflicts after 1945, contentious politics in postwar societies, international organisations in peace and conflict, critical security studies

Since 2010 I have organised a series of summer schools in Central Asia. I am also the acadmic co-director of the Hessen International Summer University.

  • 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 and Gießen.

  • 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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