World Order Narratives of the Global South (WONAGO)

  • The decades since the late twentieth century are marked by the end of the bipolar world order and the rise of countries of the Global South. Most explanations focus on political and economic power shifts and do not pay much attention to ideas of order, especially those prevalent in the Global South. To provide a more inclusive perspective, this project researches world order narratives in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its Area Studies strategy.
    BMBF, 2021-2024


    Alex Waterman

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Khalil Dahbi

    Research Fellow


    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies / Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mücke

    Universität Hamburg

    Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zimmerer

    Universität Hamburg

    Research Questions

    World order narratives are powerful representations and interpretations of global order and conflicts that posit and define the role of one's own country, region and/or culture. The following questions are at the heart of this project:
    - What views on global developments and problems are articulated in the world regions ?
    - Do these views differ between countries and regions?
    - Are there narratives of the South that are distinct from those of the North (and East)?

    Contribution to International Research

    Today, research in the humanities and social sciences on the world's regions faces the challenge of adequately taking into account the significance of the Global South, freeing itself from colonially shaped patterns of thought, remaining methodologically compatible and at the same time developing area-specific expertise. When interpreting the global upheavals of recent decades, it is therefore of paramount importance to take greater account of developments in the Global South.

    The project researches world order narratives and strengthens the cooperation of the area studies in Hamburg and between Hamburg and the areas. It contributes to the further advancement of Area Studies in Germany and internationally.

    Research Design and Methods

    World order narratives are understood as explicitly formulated concepts that articulate power and interests in a way that connects them with ideas about the global position of a country and/or a region. The project is divided into two subprojects.

    Sub-project 1 is located at the University of Hamburg and researches world order narratives in Latin America and in sub-Saharan Africa with their respective global connections. Sub-project 2 is located at the GIGA and researches world order narratives in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, with their respective global connections.

    In close cooperation with the partner institutions in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), sub-project 2 starts with drafting and discussing a research design. After that, our post-doctoral researchers in the team pursue research for several months in Asia and the MENA region. In a third phase of subproject 2, the findings of the research stays are analysed in Hamburg and in cooperation with the partner institutions, followed by the drafting and publication of the results. All these steps are accompanied by periodic workshops and meetings in which colleagues of sub-projects 1 and partners from Hamburg and from the areas meet and discuss the research project’s progress.

    Additionally, during the entire duration of the project public relations and transfer activities will be carried out to inform the public and decision makers about the project’s results. Project partners from Asia and the MENA region participate in these activities. Together with sub-project 1, the project will prepare and publish a book in the second phase of the three years project period.

    9DashLine | 10/2022

    The EU Ventures into the Strategic "Jungle"

    The article unpacks the negative consequences of diplomatic discourse such as 'garden/jungle' coming out of the EU, especially as they pertain to the European search for strategic autonomy in the world and EU's competition (through the Global Gateway) with China (and its BRI) in Africa.

    National Interest | 09/2022

    What the West Gets Wrong About the SCO

    While Exaggerated Analyses of the Geopolitical Bonding in the SCO Abound, Little is Being Said About its Members’ Geoeconomic Projects.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 5/2022

    From New to Normal: Two Years after the Abraham Accords

    When Israel signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, reactions were split. Two years later, normalisation dynamics in the region are stronger than many had anticipated, though they differ in degree and scope. Further progress is limited by, for instance, the unresolved Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

    Petra Dachtler

    Diplomat in Residence and Fellow

    Blog Article | 07/2022

    Biden’s Middle East Policy Contradicts his China Policy

    US President Joe Biden has just completed his first trip to the Middle East. This blog article discusses four global implications of this trip for US Indo-Pacific policy and the China-US rivalry.

    Blog Article | 05/2022

    America’s Pivot to Asia 2.0: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

    In this tripartite article, I (first) introduce the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework or IPEF, (second) trace its history and discourse back to Obama's 2011 Pivot to Asia, and (third) I offer seven observations about the visions behind, contradictions within, and challenges ahead of IPEF.

    Panelist | 13/06/2022

    Networking Meeting: Crisis and Reordering

    Prof. Narlikar eröffnet die Debatte über "Krise" und "Neuordnung" in einer Podiumsdiskussion zusammen mit Prof. Björn Alpermann und Dr. Florian Schneider.

    Speaker | 02/12/2021

    The very voice of international conscience: VS Srinivasa Sastri and Liberal Internationalism

    Workshop 02/12/2021

    This second event in our guest lecture series allowed us to welcome Dr. Thakur, Assistant Professor at Leiden Universtiy, to speak about his newest publication on VS Srinivasa Sastri as well as the creation of internationalism in connection with modern global orders. In addition, the use of biographical writing was added to ideas of changing narratives and possibilities of decolonising postcolonial histories from a non-Western perspective.

    Dr. Vineet Thakur

    Leiden University

    Invited Guest | 03/12/2021

    WONAGO Workshop at University Hamburg

    Workshop 03/12/2021

    Workshop at UHH with Dr. Vineet Thakur (Leiden University)

    Dr. Vineet Thakur

    Leiden University


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