Institute of Political Science

Dr. Bettina Ahrens

Bettina Ahrens is a researcher and lecturer at the department “International Relations/Peace and Conflict Research” at the Institute of Political Science since October 2012.

Academic Background

Bettina Ahrens studied political science as well as German literature and linguistics in Tübingen.


After completing her first state examination for teachers she worked as the local organizer for the 25th Conference of the German Political Science Association.

In July 2018 she has defended her PhD thesis entitled “AmbigEUity – The EU and the Solidarisation of International Society”. The thesis contributes to the debate about the EU’s role in the world. Her core argument is that inconsistencies in EU foreign policy do not necessarily undermine the EU’s transformative impact on international society as is often assumed. Using an English School approach, she argues instead that the EU is an inherently ambiguous actor and that processes of change are necessarily ambiguous so that what is often considered as mere inconsistency becomes an inevitable feature of change and at times even contributes positively to transformation. Empirically, the thesis deals with three policy fields: human rights, climate change and trade.

In April 2018 in San Francisco, she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Paper Award by the ISA's English School section for her paper "The EU and Ambiguity as a Mechanism of Change".

She is also part of the research project GLOBUS which deals with the EU's contributions to global justice. In this project the Tübingen team focuses on EU climate politics.

Research Interests

Teaching Experience (regular courses)

Conference Contributions

EISA, September 2018, Prague, paper: "The EU and the Pluralist-Solidarist Ambiguity of the Paris Agreement: Moving forward by Stepping backwards?"

English School Section Workshop "Security and International Society", May 2018, University of Birmingham, introductory remarks (as invited speaker).

EISA, September 2017, Barcelona, paper: "The Solidarisation of International Society – The EU in the Global Climate Change Regime".

EISA, September 2017, Barcelona, paper (with Thomas Diez): "Two Dimensions of Global Justice Claims".

EWIS, June 2017, Cardiff, paper: "Normative Power Europe in Crisis? Understanding the Productive Role of Ambiguity for the EU’s Transformative Agenda".

WISC, April 2017, Taipei, paper: "The EU and Ambiguity as a Mechanism of Change in International Society".

ISA Annual Convention, February 2017, Baltimore, paper: "The EU and Ambiguity as a Mechanism of Change in International Society".

ISA Annual Convention, February 2017, Baltimore, paper: "The Solidarisation of International Society – The EU in the Global Climate Change Regime".

ISA Annual Convention 2016, Atlanta & 3rd European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) 2016, Tübingen, paper: "Swinging Back and Forth: The European Union Oscillating between Solidarist Change and Pluralist Re-Enactment".

Joint Workshop of the University of Tübingen and the University of Western Australia 2016, Tübingen & Perth, paper: "Indication of Crisis or Necessary Evil? The Role of Ambiguity and the European Union's Transformative Agenda".

Roskilde University, June 2015, Workshop on the present state of regional international society research, paper: “Connecting the Regional and the Global: The EU and Structural Change in International Society”.

ISA Annual Convention, March 2015, New Orleans, paper (with Thomas Diez): “Solidarisation and Its Limits: The EU and the Transformation of International Society”.

WISC, Aug 2014, paper: “The EU and Structural Change in International Society: Towards an Institutional Framework for Analysis”.

2nd European Workshops in International Studies, May 2014, Izmir, paper: “Structural Change – Towards an Institutional Framework”.

Public Lectures

28.11.2018: "Citizens' Dialogue European Elections 2019" of Junge Europäer, JEF Baden-Württemberg e.V., Reutlingen
Impulse Lecture: " What is normative European foreign policy and is there such a thing?" (in german)

18.11.2018: "Lecture on war as a changing institution of international society", Hour of Commemoration, Remembrance Day, Social Democratic Party; Waldenbuch (in german)

24.10.2018: Panel discussion on Germany's international responsibility
with Wolfgang Bauer (author and journalist of Die ZEIT), Thomas Hitschler (M.P.), Martin Rosemann (M.P.)

22.07.2018: "Die EU als globaler Akteur" im Rahmen des Seminars "Wie sicher ist Europa?" der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung BaWÜ, Bad Urach

7.11.2017: "The Institutions of International Society" im Rahmen der Vorlesung "International Institutions and Global Governance", Universität Tübingen

21.07.2017: "Die EU und die Solidarisierung der Internationalen Gesellschaft"; Universität Tübingen

21.06.2016: "Die Vereinten Nationen - Spielball staatlicher Machtpolitik oder friedensstiftender Gestalter?"; Akademische Verbindung Föhrberg, Tübingen

13.11.2014: "National Model UN - Studierende üben globales Regieren"; Rotary Club Tübingen