Globalization processes from the 19th century until the present go along with social tensions, which have raised major questions on how modern societies in a globally connected world can prevent disintegration. A core issue concerns the increasing entanglements between regions of the world, which resonate in everyday life as much as they do in research.
In different societies, the challenge of a peaceful coexistence in multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, which came high on the political agenda in the wake of the so-called refugee crisis, faces an increasingly polarized ideological struggle over belonging and identity, linked with expressions of strong resistance against pluralistic models of society. The nostalgia for homogeneity on the one hand and the quest to reconcile integration and diversity on the other hand reflect two ideals of social cohesion, which stand in stark opposition to each other.
We address the current necessity of political regulation in combination with the need for the co-production of knowledge as a prerequisite for social cohesion. Connecting this epistemological dimension of social cohesion with an ongoing self-reflection in the social, cultural, and regional sci-ences we aim at tackling the epistemological dimensions of societal questions of cohesion. In these disciplinary fields, a long tradition in producing difference (“we” against “the other”) is ending, paradoxically at a time when “the self” and “the other” is a bone of contention in politics and society.
How to deal with the long legacy of “othering” in the social sciences, area studies and humanities, and how to produce social knowledge in the future has hardly been addressed in connection. It seems clear, however, that such knowledge has to build upon the increasing transregional connections in research and knowledge transfers. New forms of social knowledge will have to be co-produced, integrating different traditions and tools that societies have developed for self-observation and self-reflection; it will require practices and spaces of joint studies on social organization and cohesion that bring together various experiences from different parts of the world.
Taking modes of co-produced knowledge as a starting point, we reassess configurations of social sciences as well as their methods of certification and their social power to produce differences and divisions. Thus, the exploratory workshop aims at identifying (1) which historical preconditions characterize a co-production of knowledge about social cohesion; and (2) which conditions are required for the future decentralization of it.
If you would like to participate in the conference, please contact Katja Naumann at firstname.lastname@example.org.