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René Wolfsteller, PhD

Dr. René Wolfsteller

Dr. René Wolfsteller

Associated Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Research Profile and Biography

René Wolfsteller is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Japanese Studies of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and Associated Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion”. Combining contemporary political theory with qualitative social research methods, his research focuses on the diffusion, institutionalisation and translation of international human rights norms, and on the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in these processes.

He currently pursues two major research projects. First, he is completing the first comprehensive analysis of all core institutions of the British Human Rights Regime, examining the application of the Human Rights Act in legal and constitutional practice, the role of the Joint Committee on Human Rights as the parliamentary guardian in the legislative process, and the effectiveness of the three human rights commissions in the different regions of the UK. A second thread of his work explores the potential of NHRIs in the promotion and implementation of corporate human rights due diligence on the basis of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Before joining the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in October 2018, René Wolfsteller completed his PhD in Politics at the University of Glasgow (UK) on the effectiveness of the British Human Rights Regime, funded through a scholarship by the College of Social Sciences. He holds an MA in Political Theory from the Universities of Frankfurt and Darmstadt, and a BA in Social Sciences, Philosophy, and Political Sciences from the University of Leipzig. He is co-editor, with Benjamin Gregg, of a special issue of The International Journal of Human Rights on “The Human Rights State in theory and deployment”, Vol. 21, No. 3 (2017).

René Wolfsteller is a member of the Sociology of Rights Study Group (BSA), Political Studies Association, Sektion Rechtssoziologie (DGS), AK Recht und Politik and AK Menschenrechte (DVPW), as well as of the Glasgow Human Rights Network.


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Wolfsteller, R. (2020) 'Out of Sync: The Failed Translation of International Human Rights in the Creation of the UK Human Rights Act.'    Journal of Human Rights 19(3): 1-20. (DOI: 10.1080/14754835.2020.1738916)

Wolfsteller, R. and Rädel, J. (2019) 'Über die Fallstricke sozialwissenschaftlicher  Identitäts- und  Einstellungsforschung: Ziele, Potenziale und Kritik der  DeZIM-Studie  ‚Ost-Migrantische Analogien I‘.'    Leviathan – Berliner Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaft 47(4): 428-444. (DOI: 10.5771/0340-0425-2019-4-428)

Wolfsteller, R. (2017) ‘The Institutionalisation of Human Rights Reconceived: The Human Rights State as a Sociological “Ideal Type”’    The International Journal of Human Rights 21(3): 230–251. (DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2017.1298730)

Wolfsteller, R. and Gregg, B. (2017) ‘A Realistic Utopia? Critical Analyses of The Human Rights State in Theory and Deployment: Guest Editors’ Introduction’    The International Journal of Human Rights 21(3): 219–229. (DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2017.1298729)

Edited Volumes

Wolfsteller, R. and Gregg, B. (eds.) (2017) ‘A Realistic Utopia? Critical Analyses of The Human Rights State in Theory and Deployment’   , Special Issue of The International Journal of Human Rights 21(3)

Book Reviews and Reports

Wolfsteller, R. (2020) ‘Conference Report: The UN Guiding Principles and the Future of Business and Human Rights Regulation – Interdisciplinary Workshop at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.’    Rights as Usual, Blog on Human Rights & Business, 10 April 2020.

Wolfsteller, R. (2014) ‘Review of: The Sacredness of the Person. A New Genealogy of Human Rights by Hans Joas.’    Human Rights Review 15(1): 107–109. (DOI: 10.1007/s12142-014-0309-3)

Wolfsteller, R. (2014) ‘Review of: Human Rights as Social Construction by Benjamin Gregg.’    Human Rights Quarterly 36(2): 492–496. (DOI: 10.1353/hrq.2014.0031)

Wolfsteller, R. (2014) ‘Review of: Der “Ossi.” Mikropolitische Studien über einen symbolischen Ausländer by Rebecca Pates and Maximilian Schochow, eds.’    German Politics & Society 32(4): 69–75. (DOI: 10.3167/gps.2014.320405)

Wolfsteller, R. (2013) ‘Review of: Theorien der Macht zur Einführung by Andreas Anter.’    Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie (ZPTh) 4(1): 117–119. (ISSN 1869-3016)