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Max Lesch

Research Fellow
Tel. +49 (6221) 482-268

Main Fields of Research:

Norm research in International Relations; Sociology of International Law; Practice Theories in International Relations; Human Righths Law, particularly the Prohibition of Torture, Corruption

Academic Career:

since 11/2018 | Research Fellow at the MPIL, Max Planck Research Group Shades of Illegality

7/2014 - 10/2018 | Doctoral Researcher at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, DFG Project Norm Disputes

3/2014 - 6/2014 | Assistant to the Directors of the German Development Institute

5/2012 - 3/2014 | Research assistant & researcher at Centre for Global Cooperation Research

2009 - 2011 | Goethe University Frankfurt, MA International Studies / Peace and Conflict Research

9/2010 - 1/2011 | Aberystwyth University, International Politics (exchange term)

2006 - 2009 | University Bonn, BA Politics and Society

Research Stays:

9/2018 - 10/2018 | Visiting Researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Institute for Political Science (International Relations Group)

4/2016 - 5/2016 | Field research at the UN Committee Against Torture, Geneva

2/2011 - 3/2011 | Research Intern with the United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) Peace and Security Programme, Bruges

Recent Publications

  • Unlocking the agency of the governed. Norm dynamics and contestation. In: Third World Thematics. A TWQ Journal 2(5), 691-708 (2017) (with Lisbeth Zimmermann, Nicole Deitelhoff). Third World Thematics
  • Praxistheorien und Normenforschung in den Internationalen Beziehungen – Zum Beitrag der pragmatischen Soziologie. In: Zeitschrift diskurs 2, 31-54 (2017). Zeitschrift diskurs

Further Publications

  • Nur ein Feigenblatt? Deutschlands langer Weg zur Ratifizierung der UN-Konvention gegen Korruption. HSFK-Standpunkte, 2014. HSFK-Standpunkt 4/2017
  • Regionale Sicherheitkulturen im Wandel. Schutzverantwortung in Südostasien und Afrika. Sicherheitskultur im Wandel - Working Papers, 2012. Working Paper 10


27 Mar 2019

Dynamics of deviance. The international prohibition of torture

ISA Annual Convention 2019


18 May 2018

The Liberal Script and the construction of deviance. The prohibition of torture from the 1970s to the early 2000s

Joint PhD Workshop of the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: On contestations of the Liberal Script

FU Berlin

05 Apr 2018

International norm disputes: Comparing the effects of contestation on norm robustness

ISA Annual Convention 2018

San Francisco

24 Nov 2017

The robustness of the prohibition of torture

Conference: Decline or Transformation? Norm Change and Values in International Law

FU Berlin, KFG International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?

06 Oct 2017

International norm disputes. Contestation and robustness in the cases of the criminal accountability norm, the ban on torture and the whaling moratorium

Offene IB-Sektionstagung der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW)

University Bremen

05 Oct 2017

Norms, law and deviance. Doubts about doubts about the prohibition of torture

Offene IB-Sektionstagung der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW)

University Bremen

22 Jun 2016

Die Verhandlung von Korruption im Deutschen Bundestag

HSFK-Jahreskonferenz 2016: Normen in der Transitzone. Globale Skripte, lokale Praktiken

Leibniz-Institut Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung

20 Feb 2015

A climate of trust? Trust research and the climate regime

ISA Annual Convention 2015

New Orleans


Winter term 2018/19

International Norms: Emergence, Diffusion, Conflict

Goethe University Frankfurt (Graduate level)


International Studies Association (ISA)

German Political Science Association (DVPW)

DVPW-Working Group "Norms in International Relations"


2016 - 2017 | Speaker of the PhD Programme at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

5/2017 - 12/2017 | Editor-in-chief of PRIF Blog