What can be done if population groups do not see themselves as a part of society, feel marginalised, or no longer support the existing political system? In order to find answers to these questions, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will be supporting the establishment of a Research Institute for Social Cohesion ("Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt") in the coming years. In a decentralized network, researchers from different disciplines will analyse current developments that are relevant to social cohesion, as well as their historical roots. The aim is to encourage research on social cohesion and to develop practical proposals.
In November 2017, the BMBF published a Funding Guideline for the Establishment of the Institute. At the end of March 2018, eleven institutions were selected in an academically oriented competition.
In addition to the Technical University of Berlin and the universities of Bielefeld, Bremen, Frankfurt, Halle-Wittenberg, Hanover, Constance and Leipzig, the network also includes the Sociological Research Institute Göttingen, the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research Hamburg, and the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society Jena.
New Institute for Social Cohesion
The new Institute for Social Cohesion brings together different perspectives and expertise, for example, in the following research areas: Polarization and populism, identities and regional experiences, media and conflict culture, as well as anti-Semitism and hate crime.
The partners are currently working together on a concept for the institute as part of the one-year preliminary phase. A total of 36 million euros is available for the four-year main phase. The BMBF has promised an extension for a further five years. After that, the institute will be set up on a permanent basis. After all, social cohesion is an essential precondition for living in a peaceful, free and prosperous society.
Central tasks and goals of the "Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt" (Research Institute for Social Cohesion)
Identification and interdisciplinary analysis of current social trends and developments relevant to social cohesion, as well as their historical roots.
Bringing together and further developing existing knowledge, especially on problematic aspects of social cohesion.
Investigation and operationalisation of the concept of "social cohesion" with the aim of developing an overarching concept and meaningful indicators.
Exchange and development of cooperative relations with civil society and political-administrative practice.
Political and social consultation measures.