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Dr. Torben Lütjen (01.07.2006-30.06.2008)

Friendship in the shadow of power. The political friends of German chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel


Born: 10.12.1974 in Bremen

Contact: torben.luetjen@uni-duesseldorf.de


Current Position

Research Fellow (Schumpeter Fellow) at the University of Dusseldorf, Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung 


Former Research Project

Friendship in  the shadow of power. The political friends of German chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel

The personal relations between politicians have very rarely been the subject of political science. This research project about the political friends of German chancellors is the first step which will help to close this gap. The research will focus on advisors and consultants of the German chancellors who had exclusive and amicable relationships with them. This group of people is particularly suitable for a first rapprochement to the subject of political friendship, because we are dealing with informal consulting-circles who have to act in a “secret” area where trust, discretion, and loyalty are particularly important attributes.
The purpose of this project, however, is not a normative appraisal and classification of political friendship but rather the contribution to an extended analysis of power relations. The assumption is that political friendship must be understood as a form of social capital that conducts different functions. Political friendship can for example serve as a “shelter” or refuge from an office that is permanently watched by media and the public, and which makes high demands on the capacity of political actors. Furthermore, it is an interesting question if friendship can make political consultants more able to contradict their chancellors or if friendship can make chancellors more sensitive to realizing their own mistakes and to initiating the necessary processes of self-reflection. 
Finally, the research-project will analyze how the public image of friendship has changed over the course of time. In which periods and for what reasons was political friendship considered to be illegitimate or even illegal and when was this not the case?
But besides critics in non-democratic and in transparent decision-making processes, we can also assume that the leadership-qualities of the chiefs of the executive have also been classified by different standards. In what context was political friendship between an advisor and his chancellor considered as efficient consulting, and in what context did it rather made an impression of manipulability and lacking leadership?

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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