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Since the end of the Cold War, the post-1945 world order has been undergoing a profound transformation. This has meant that international institutions are overtaxed in a double sense: their basis of legitimacy is too small for the responsibilities they are supposed to carry out; in view of the magnitude of global problems, however, what they do is not enough. Many of the post-war international institutions have been supplemented with, or replaced by, new institutions that intervene more deeply in the affairs of national societies. These institutions increasingly exercise independent political authority and violate the principle of non-intervention, which, in turn, leads to serious problems of legitimacy and public acceptance. At the same time, international institutions are too weak, for instance, to regulate international financial markets or to effectively combat climate change and its impacts. As a result, growing societal and national resistance to these institutions has begun to emerge in conjunction with transnational disputes over international affairs. The main focus of our research unit is placed upon the institutional and normative challenges, inextricably tied to one another, which these new arrangements present. An array of projects are currently being undertaken, dealing with various aspects from the politicization and democratization of international institutions to differentiation processes or rule-of-law issues in world politics.