In IRS’s research on society and space the investigation of the two-way structuring of institutions and governance is a fundamental research topic. Institutions are all the phenomena that create compulsory regular actions or from which relatively stable actions could be derived respectively. These phenomena cover a wide range from internalised conventions to societal rules and norms. The institutional research of the IRS focuses on constructions of space that become stabilised because of the range and validity of formal and informal institutions.

In different research projects and departments the IRS conducts research on the dynamics of institutions. In this context creating and sustaining spatial development paths is of particular interest as well as the spatially-related change of institutional systems and regimes, for example in transition research.

Photo: © Andrei Korzhyts/

08. May | 2019

Now, you can learn about research on society and space by listening online. On May 8th 2019, the new IRS podcast "Society@Space“ was launched with its first episode "Welcome to Nottingham, Malaysia“. In it, three internationally renowned guests of IRS, who did research on the globalisation of higher education, talk about their work: Sarah Hall (Nottingham, UK), Francis Collings (Waikato, New Zealand) amd Kris Olds (Madison, USA) were in Erkner in early January of 2019 following an invitation by Jana Kleibert (IRS) to coach three PhD students working in the Leibniz Junior Research Group TRANSEDU. more info

23. November | 2017
Call for Sessions for International Conference in June, 2018

The transformation of energy systems has profound implications for the ways in which our societies are organized, and must therefore be understood as process of social change and social innovation. In many ways, energy systems structure our economies and mirror our attitudes and values regarding the definition of public goods, of justice, and of equity. The conference invites international scholars to discuss social innovations in the context of energy transitions, to reflect their meaning for educational and participatory practices, and to spark a debate about the societal values inherent in these innovations. A Call for Sessions is open until December 7, 2017. more info