Scientific Director: Prof. Dr. Achim Goerres
Managing Director (until 31 May 2018): Dr. Maike Müller

Transformation in contemporary societies is essentially a reaction to worldwide phenomena of the dissolution of borders, or different cultural, social and political processes that cause national borders to shift, be redrawn or removed. These processes are investigated by the members of “Transformation of Contemporary Societies”, one of the main research areas at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE). It is supported by the research structures and extensive expertise of 114 participating researchers from five faculties (Education, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business Administration and Economics, Mercator School of Management/Faculty of Business Administration), seven central scientific insitutes, and four affiliated institutes of the UDE.

A complex interplay between the dissolution of borders within societies (inner-society) and between societies (inter-society) time and again causes established systems of order to break down and be replaced with new orders that structure societies worldwide. For example, as boundaries between societies dissolve, parts of formerly national labour markets become transnational labour markets. This presents profound challenges for the organisation of labour, hitherto subject to national systems of social security, for the reconciliation of interests, or for taxation of earnings. In the same way, dissolution of boundaries within societies occurs in politics, for example, where new forms of governance redefine the relationship of politics on one side and citizens on another.

Work in the main research area of Transformation of Contemporary Societies aims to arrive at a meaningful analysis of how order is built under borderless conditions from a regional, global and comparative international perspective, and to develop the methods of inquiry into such phenomena for interdisciplinary work.

This entails analysing phenomena of social and political order-building under borderless conditions i) in different areas of societal life, ii) from different social perspectives, and iii) in different regions of the world and from a comparative international perspective. By employing cross-disciplinary methods, the research into these phenomena should produce meaningful results.

Transformation of Contemporary Societies has used its network and internal research funding primarily to support development of collaborative research projects from initial ideas in theme development workshops to proposal or publication maturity. It has three goals in doing this:

  • ‚‚to initiate and support larger-scale research alliances,
  • ‚‚to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange between researchers in the participating disciplines and faculties, and
  • ‚‚to support and promote early-career researchers in developing their own research profiles.