Transformation of Contemporary Societies

Speaker till 1/2014: Prof. Dr. Petra Stein
Speaker till 1/2014: Prof. Dr. Petra Stein

The transformation of contemporary societies is essentially a reaction to phenom­ena of the dissolution of borders. Inter-societal dissolution of borders, for instance, turns national labour markets into international labour markets, creating new ­demands on regulation and the institutional structuring of labour. The existing national state institutions, such as national social security systems, are not yet fully equipped to deal with this situation.

New forms of order must therefore be built. Within society, in politics for instance, the dissolution of borders leads to different forms of governance and perception of social problems. New policy areas emerge in which previously separate fields of policy-making grow together in new ways, as is the case with integration or climate policy, and cut across the traditional policy areas. The goal of the Main Research Area is to analyse the phenomena surrounding building order in a borderless world and conduct productive interdisciplinary research.

Around 90 researchers from different academic disciplines at the UDE, including political science, educational science, sociology, economics, history and East Asia studies, have taken part in around 100 projects in the Main Research Area of Transformation of Contemporary Societies since its inception. During this time its resources have primarily gone into developing research ideas until they have reached proposal or publication stage. The focus in 2012 and 2013 was on research applications, many of which were successful, to the DFG (German Research Foundation), the German Federal Ministry of Education and ­Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), and foundations such as the Volkswagen Foundation or Stiftung Mercator. The researchers in the Main Research Area also had their results published by leading journals and publishing houses in their respective disciplines. Here too the Main Research Area played a supportive role.