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Research Unit on

the Emergence of Collective Agency

RUECA stands for six DFG-funded projects working together in a Research Unit on the Emergence of Collective Agency. RUECA is also the Spanish word for a tool used in spinning, that holds the fibers while they are combined by the spindle into one unified strand.

The DFG funded projects in this research unit focus on understanding the patterns and underlying mechanisms on the emergence of non-hierarchical collective agency.  The members of this research unit based at universities in Bamberg, Bayreuth, Berlin, and Darmstadt investigate the rarely examined phenomenon of horizontal collective agency theoretically and empirically, focusing on a wide range of such actors in political life, such as parliaments and their committees, international institutions, and policy networks.

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Latest Publications

International Organizations as Group Actors. How Institutional Procedures Create Organizational Independence without Delegation to Institutional Agents

Can international organizations (IOs) gain independence from their member states, even if their decisions arise from member state bodies? While organizational independence is a precondition for the autonomy and agency of IOs, International Relations theory cannot yet grasp IO independence in the absence of institutional agents like secretariats. Drawing on collective actor theories with a strong micro-foundation from philosophy and sociology, this article demonstrates how organizational rules and procedures gradually shape organizational processes and produce collective effects that do not arise from the aggregation of member state activities.

Thomas Gehring

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