20. March | 2024

IRS Participates in the Leibniz Lab on Social Upheavals

Leibniz Labs are a new tool of research organization. Their aim is to bring together the wide-ranging knowledge of the participating Leibniz Institutes in order to contribute jointly to the solution of pressing social problems and to make this knowledge accessible to a wide range of target groups. As part of the first funding round, the Leibniz Association has now selected three labs for funding. The IRS is participating in a lab that investigates how society deals with unexpected, fundamental upheavals.

On March 19, 2024, the Senate of the Leibniz Association decided to fund three Leibniz Labs on the topics of "Pandemic Preparedness", "Systemic Sustainability" and "Upheavals and Transformations". The Leibniz Lab format is intended to make the best possible use of the Leibniz Association's interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary experience and expertise. The labs integrate stakeholders from society, politics and economics. The aim is to create innovative and experimental forums and formats for the exchange between science and society.

The IRS is one of 28 Leibniz institutions participating in the "Upheavals and Transformations" Lab. It investigates how society deals with sudden, fundamental upheavals that fundamentally change the world we live in and force us to make essential decisions on how to shape the future. Three key topics will be addressed:

  • the rapid social transformation following the end of the Cold War since 1989, particularly in post-socialist societies;
  • the social challenges in the wake of globalisation, such as the associated upheavals in the economy, communication/digitalization, migration, education and politics;
  • current challenges posed by climate change and the protection of resources, which are negotiated with ideas of a societal ("socio-ecological") transformation towards sustainability.

The three key topics are not investigated separately. Rather, the end of the Cold War serves as a historical reference case for a complex situation of upheaval in which various processes - political and social transformation, economic crisis and reorientation, new migration movements - intertwined. Drawing on historical experience, the Lab focuses its work on how social actors deal with upheavals and transformations.

The Lab is being funded with a total of three million euros over a period of three years. This will enable the participating institutions to develop and implement new transfer projects. The Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL) in Leipzig and the Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (ZZF) are coordinating the Lab.

Oliver Ibert, Director of IRS, and Kerstin Brückweh, Head of the Research Area "Contemporary History and Archive", are involved in the Leibniz Lab "Upheavals and Transformations". Oliver Ibert comments: "For some time now, we at IRS have been increasingly involved in transdisciplinary research, i.e. research at equal level together with stakeholders from society. This engagement can be further expanded over the next three years through the involvement in the Leibniz Lab."