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Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch

Lena_Portrait 2020-11


Ihnestraße 22
Room 317
14195 Berlin
+49 30 838 4 55988

Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch started as Professor of Comparative Politics with a focus on Environmental and Climate Politics in 2022. Before, she was Chair of Environmental Governance at Technische Universitaet Berlin in 2021, interim Chair of Development Politics at the University of Passau (winter 2020-21) and Chair of Comparative Government at the University of Erfurt (winter 2019-20, and summer 2020). Since 2018, she has been an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Freiburg. The University of Muenster awarded her the Habilitation (postdoctoral qualification) in 2014 and she received her PhD from Freie Universitaet Berlin in 2007.

Her research deals with sustainability transitions in the Global North and South. Her work has been published in leading scientific journals. She received the GAIA Best Paper Award in 2016, and the journal of Global Governance chose her article “Take action now: The legitimacy of celebrity power in international relations” as the best paper of the year in 2018. Partzsch’s most recent book is “Alternatives to Multilateralism: New Forms of Social and Environmental Governance” (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2020).


TEDx Talk by L. Partzsch

BMBF Bioeconomy, "Köpfe des Wandels: Lena Partzsch" (Heads of Change), BMBF Project „Bio-economic Power in Global Supply Chains: Approaches, Impacts and Perspectives on Certification and Due Diligence for Biogenic Mass Raw Materials (Bio-Power)“, 2017-2019.

Interview with L. Partzsch by Jung & Naiv: Episode 470


2020: Alternatives to Multilateralism: New forms of social and environmental governance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Open access: https://direct.mit.edu/books/book/4871/Alternatives-to-MultilateralismNew-Forms-of-Social

2014: Die neue Macht von Individuen in der globalen Politik. Wandel durch Prominente, Philanthropen und Social Entrepreneurs, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

2007: Global Governance in Partnerschaft. Die EU-InitiativeWater for Life, Baden-Baden: Nomos.


2023: The environment in global sustainability governance: Perceptions, actors, innovations. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

2018: The Anthropocene debate and political science, with T. Hickmann, P. Pattberg und S. Weiland, New York: Routledge.

2015: Macht und Wandel in der Umweltpolitik, with S. Weiland, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft – Journal of Political Science Sonderband 2, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

2014: Getting things done sustainably – Social entrepreneurship in the water sector, with J. Gebauer, M. Henkel, J. Lodemann, F. Mohaupt, E. Wascher und R. Ziegler, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

2009: Social Entrepreneurship – Status Quo 2009. (Selbst)Bild, Wirkung und Zukunfts-verantwortung. Tagungsband, Berlin HUB, with J. Gebauer, M. Henkel, J. Lodemann, F. Mohaupt, E. Wascher and R. Ziegler, Greifswald: Geozon Science Media.

BEGUTACHTETE ARTIKEL / Peer-reviewed articles

2024: Campaigning for Greater Accountability in Global Supply ChainsThe Journal of Environment & Development0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/10704965241260544

2024: Scoping article: Research frontiers on the governance of the Sustainable Development Goals. With T. Hickmann, F. Biermann, C.-A. Sénit, Y. Sun, M. Bexell, M. Bolton, … S. Weiland, Global Sustainability, 1–26. doi:10.1017/sus.2024.4

2023: The devil is in the detail: The need for a decolonizing turn and better environmental accountability in global supply chain regulations, with M. Mason and T. Kramarz, Regulation & Governance, doi.org/10.1111/rego.12539

2023: Missing the SDGs: Political accountability for insufficient environmental action, Global Policy 14(3), 438-450, doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.13213

2023: Can supply chain laws prevent deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia?, with L. Müller and A.-K. Sacherer, Forest Policy and Economics 148: 102903, doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102903

2022: City networks’ power in global agri-food systems, with J. Lümmen and A.C. Löhr, Agriculture and Human Values 39, 1263–1275, doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10315-4

2022: Proxy-led accountability for natural resource extraction in rentier states, with M. Mason and T. Kramarz, Environmental Politics, doi.org//10.1080/09644016.2022.2044219

2021: Water in your coffee? Accelerating SDG6 through voluntary certification programs, with J. Lümmen, K. Hartung and C. Zickgraf, Journal of Cleaner Production 324(129252), doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.129252

2021: Digging for due diligence: The case of non-state mineral supply chain regulation by ITSCI in Rwanda, with H. Postma and S. Geenen, Extractive Industries and Society 8(3), 100920, doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2021.100920

2021: European Union’s proxy accountability for tropical deforestation, Environmental Politics 30(4), 600-621, doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2020.1793618

2020: Mehr Engagement der Politikwissenschaft in der Anthropozän-Debatte, with T. Hickmann, P. Pattberg and S. Weiland, Politische Vierteljahresschrift 61, 659–670, doi.org/10.1007/s11615-020-00275-x

2020: Governance for global stewardship: Can private certification move beyond commodification in fostering sustainability transformations? with A. Kalfagianni and M. Beulting, Agriculture and Human Values 37, 65–81, doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09971-w

2019: Politikwissenschaftliches Interpretieren des Anthropozäns – Zur Bedeutung interpretativer Politikforschung im Umgang mit Objektivität, Normativität und Performativität von Meta-Konzepten, with B. Bornemann and K. Glaab, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft – Journal of Political Science 29 (2), 325–344, doi.org//10.1007/s41358-019-00184-5

2019: Cotton certification in Sub-Saharan Africa: Promotion of environmental sustainability or greenwashing? with M. Zander and H. Robinson, Global Environmental Change 57, doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.05.008

2019: Cotton certification in Ethiopia: Can an increasing demand for certified textiles create a 'fashion revolution'? with L. Kemper, Geoforum 99 (Feb), 111-119, doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.11.017

2019: Saving water while doing business: Corporate agenda-setting and water sustainability, with L. Kemper, WATER 11(2), 297, doi.org/10.3390/w11020297

2018: Utopia, food sovereignty and ethical fashion: The narrative power of anti-GMO campaigns, with K. Glaab, New Political Science, doi.org/10.1080/07393148.2018.1528060

2018: The new EU Conflict Minerals Regulation: Normative power in international relations? Global Policy 9(4), 479-488, doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12575

2018: Toward sustainable biofuels in the European Union? Lessons from a decade of hybrid biofuel governance, with S.L. Stattmann, A. Gupta and P. Oosterveer, Sustainability 10(11), 4111, doi.org/10.3390/su10114111

2018: Barking up the right tree? NGOs and corporate power for deforestation-free supply chains, with A.-K. Weber, Sustainability 10(11), 3869, doi.org/10.3390/su10113869

2018: Take action now: The legitimacy of celebrity power in international relations, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 24(2), 229-248, doi.org/10.1163/19426720-02402005 (ausgezeichnet von Global Governance als bester Artikel 2018)

2018: Es hora de actuar. La legitimidad del poder de las celebridades en el ámbito de las Relaciones Internacionales, Foro Internacional 58(2), 205-241, doi.org/10.24201/fi.v58i2.2502

2018: A water sustainability framework for assessing biofuel certification schemes: Does European hybrid governance ensure sustainability of palm oil from Indonesia? with L. Kemper, Journal of Cleaner Production 26(192), 835–843, doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.05.053

2017: ‘Power with’ and ‘power to’ in environmental politics and the transition to sustainability, Environmental Politics 26(2), 193-211, doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2016.1256961

2017: Powerful individuals in a globalised world, Global Policy 8(1), 5-13, doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12367

2017: Biofuel research: Perceptions of power and transition, Energy, Sustainability and Society 7(14), doi.org/10.1186/s13705-017-0116-1

2017: Welche Macht führt zum Wandel? Reaktion auf vier Beiträge zum Thema Macht in Umweltpolitik und Umweltforschung in GAIA: L. Partzsch 24/1 (2015), A. Brunnengräber 26/1 (2017), P. Altmann 26/2 (2017), P. Wallmeier 26/4 (2017), GAIA 26(4), 317-320, doi.org/10.14512/gaia.26.4.7

2016: Mandatory due diligence for ‘conflict’ minerals and illegally logged timber. Emergence and cascade of a new norm on foreign accountability, with M. Vlaskamp, The Extractive Industries and Society 3(4), 978–986, doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2016.07.003

2015: The power of celebrities in global politics, Celebrity Studies 6(2), 178–191, doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2014.955120

2015: Die Legitimität individuellen Engagements in der globalen Politik, Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 8(2), 531-547, doi.org/10.1007/s12399-015-0521-5

2015: Welche Macht führt zum Wandel? Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft – Journal of Political Science Special Issue 2, 7-28, doi.org/10.5771/9783845261133

2015: Zum Nexus von Macht und Wandel, with S. Weiland. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft – Journal of Political Science Special Issue 2, 225-236, doi.org/10.5771/9783845261133

2015: Kein Wandel ohne Macht – Nachhaltigkeitsforschung braucht ein mehrdimensionales Machtverständnis, GAIA 24(1), 48-56, doi.org/10.14512/gaia.24.1.10 (GAIA Best Paper Award)

2012: Philanthropy: Power with in international relations, with D. Fuchs, Journal of Political Power 5(3), 359-376, https://doi.org/10.1080/2158379X.2012.735114

2011: The legitimacy of biofuel certification, Agriculture and Human Values 28(3), 413–425, doi.org/10.1007/s10460-009-9235-4

2011: Social entrepreneurs as change agents: a case study on power and authority in the water sector, with R. Ziegler, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 11(1), 63-83, doi.org/10.1007/s10784-011-9150-1

2009: Smart regulation for water innovation: The case of decentralized rainwater technology, Journal of Cleaner Production 17(11), 985–991, doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.01.009

BEGUTACHTETE KAPITEL / Peer-reviewed chapters

2023: "1: Introduction: The Integration of Development and Environmental Agendas". In Partzsch L. (ed.):The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch001

2023: "7: SDG 2 and the Dominance of Food Security in the Global Agri-food Norm Cluster", with S. Schwindenhammer, In Partzsch L. (ed.): The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch012

2023: "14: Synthesis: The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance". In Partzsch, L. (ed.): The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch026

2023: Are global value chains good for global development. In: Phillips, N. (ed.): Global Political Economy: A new introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2022: Global Climate Governance and the Challenge of Regional Interplay: The Case of the European Union and ASEAN. with A. Carrapatoso and A.-K. Sacherer. In: Rüland, J./Carrapatoso, A. (ed.): Handbook regionalism and global governance, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 381–399, doi.org/10.4337/9781800377561.00038

2022: First (Class) Image: Individuen mit Relevanz für die internationalen Beziehungen. In: Fröhlich, M. (ed.) Persönlichkeit und Politik: Zugänge und Fallstudien zur individuellen Dimension des Politischen. Baden-Baden: Nomos. 147-162.

2022: Power and democracy in the transition to sustainability. In: Bornemann, B./Knappe, H. und Nanz, P. (ed.): Handbook of democracy and sustainability, New York: Routledge, 178-188 (chapter 13).

2020: Transnational sustainability governance, with A. Kalafagianni and O. Widerberg. In: Biermann, F./Kim, R. (ed.): Earth System Governance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 75-96.

2018: Food localization and agency: The cases of Regionalwert AG and Luzernenhof in Freiburg, Germany. In: Kalfagianni, A./Skordili, S. (ed.): Localizing global food: Short food supply chains as responses to agri-food system challenges, New York: Routledge, 55-69.

2018: Introduction: A political science perspective on the Anthropocene, with T. Hickmann, P. Pattberg and S. Weiland. In: Hickmann, T. et al. (ed.): The Anthropocene debate and political science, New York: Routledge, 1-12.

2018: Conclusions: Towards a ‘deep debate’ on the Anthropocene, with H. Hickmann, P. Pattberg and S. Weiland. In: Hickmann, T. et al. (ed.): The Anthropocene debate and political science, New York: Routledge, 237-251.

2015: Ressourcenkriege und Blutkonsum. Über den Zusammenhang von Umweltzerstörung und Gewaltkonflikten. In: Jäger, T. (ed.): Sicherheitsgefahren. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 53-64.

2015: Innovators for the public - How norm and social entrepreneurs fulfil the promises of democracy. In: Narbutaite Aflaki, I./Petridou, E./Miles, L. (ed.): Entrepreneurship in the polis, Farnham: Ashgate, 171–189.

2014: The power of social entrepreneurs. In: Douglas, H./Grant, S. (ed.): Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise: Concepts in context, Prahran: Tilde University Press, 42-72.

2014: Introduction, with J. Gebauer, M. Henkel, J. Lodemann, F. Mohaupt, E. Wascher and R. Ziegler. In: Ziegler, R. et al. (ed.): Social entrepreneurship in the water sector, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1-33.

2014: Roberto Epple – Reconcile with your river!, with J. Lodemann und L. Bigot. In: Ziegler, R. et al. (ed.): Social entrepreneurship in the water sector, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 58-77.

2014: Getting things done sustainably? Synthesis chapter on social entrepreneurship and water, with J. Gebauer, M. Henkel, J. Lodemann, F. Mohaupt, E. Wascher and R. Ziegler. In: Ziegler, R. et al. (ed.): Social entrepreneurship in the water sector, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 190-212.

2010: Water and environmental sustainability. In: Warkotsch, A. (ed.): The European Union and Central Asia, New York: Routledge, 163–182.

2010: Food or fuel: Governance potential for water rivalry, with S. Hughes. In: Ingensiep, H. W./Gottwald, F.-T./Meinhardt, M. (ed.): Food ethics, New York: Springer, 153–166.

2009: European Union water policy: to transition or not to transition? Coalitions as key. In: Huitema, D./Meijerink, S. (ed.): Water policy entrepreneurs. A research companion to water transitions around the globe, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 237–249.

2009: Greening the streams: Water in EU and US foreign policy, with S. Hughes. In: Harris, P. (ed.): Environmental change and foreign policy: Theory and practice, New York: Routledge, 153–168.

2009: Legitimität von Typ 2-Partnerschaften: Die EU-Wasserinitiative. In: Take, I. (ed.): Legitimes Regieren jenseits des Nationalstaates. Unterschiedliche Formen von Global Governance im Vergleich, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 104-120.

2009: South Africa, water struggles, with I. T. Winkler. In: Ness, I. (ed.): World encyclopedia of protest and revolution, Oxford: Blackwell, 3099–3103.

2008: EU Water Initiative – A (non-) innovative form of development cooperation. In: Neubert, S./Scheumann, W./Kipping, M. (ed.): Water politics and development cooperation, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag, 379-400.

WEITERE ARTIKEL (AUSWAHL) / Further articles (selection)

2018: Selbstverpflichtungen der Landwirtschaft – Weg aus der Krise? with L. Kemper and W. Müller, Staat & Bürger (4), www.buergerimstaat.de/4_18/wasser.htm.

2017: Wirtschaft und Umwelt zwischen Konflikt und Kooperation, Wirtschaftspolitische Blätter, 375-386.

2017: Wandel zu Nachhaltigkeit: Eine Frage der Macht, Positionen (33), 46-59.

2016: Handys für die Kriegskasse, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik (6), 33-36.

2015: Das umweltpolitische Potential von Individuen. Prominente, Philanthropen, Social Entrepreneurs, Jahrbuch Ökologie 2016 (24), 143-152.