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Institute for Human Sciences

The Institute for Human Sciences / Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) is an independent institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences. Since its foundation in 1982, it has hosted more than 1500 scholars, journalists and translators from all over the world. Many of the Institute’s Permanent and Visiting Fellows are regular contributors to Eurozine or its focal points Eurasia in Global Dialogue and Ukraine in European Dialogue (see below).

Website: www.iwm.at
Twitter: @IWM_Vienna
Youtube: IWMVienna

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Articles

Old Europe

A look ahead to the twenty-first century

With rising life expectancy, stagnating working-age populations, and low birth rates, Europe faces a demographic challenge in the next fifty years the likes of which it has never known. For the economy, this will mean a shortage of local workers, a lack of skilled workers, and shifts in sectoral demand. One solution – to raise the age of retirement – presupposes a functioning labour market for older potential employees that in large parts of Europe does not exist. An overview of the problems of and solutions to an ageing Europe.

Anatomy of a crisis

The referendum and the dilemmas of the enlarged EU

The rejection of the European Constitution by French and Dutch voters in 2005 evoked fears of dilution and fragmentation of the EU as a result of increasing decentralisation. In the worst-case scenario, Europe would be divided and increasingly unstable, ruled by a wide range of ad hoc coalitions but devoid of any real plan. A more reassuring view holds that the EU has finally got rid of the myth of political union, the age-old chimera for European federalists. Jacques Rupnik analyses the underlying factors and possible consequences of the crisis of the European project.

A "pause for thought" without the thought?

Possible ways to talk about the future of the EU today

After the rejection of the EU constitution in the French and Dutch referenda, Europe’s elites launched a one-year “pause for thought” in the ratification process. A summit in June 2006 brought an extension of the adjournment. The time could be put to good use, writes political scientist Jan-Werner Müller. Theoretically speaking, there are three Euro-visions currently competing; a discussion of their pros and cons would be well worth Europeans’ while.

Since the Kaczynski brothers’ political ascendancy at the head of the Law and Justice Party (PiS), there has been a string of developments that have alarmed Poland’s EU fellow-members: the election of a civil rights spokesperson who openly advocates the death penalty; plans to close down the body that monitors the independence of the media; a law drafted that would abolish the autonomy of the civil service, to name but a few. To understand how this situation arose, one needs to look more closely at the period of change in Poland since 1989. The “radical” government stems from that section of the Solidarity movement opposed to the route transformation took; for the radicals, the reckoning with the ancien regime has been insufficient, leading to a system they view as a pathological symbiosis of communism and capitalism, democracy and a post-communist mafia. The cultural traditionalism of the PiS, writes Smolar, has landed on fertile ground in a contemporary Poland suffering from social alienation, distrust in democratic institutions, high unemployment, and growing income discrepancies.

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Focal points

Cover for: Eurasia in global dialogue

The focal point presents the findings of the project ‘Eurasia in Global Dialogue’ being carried out at the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna (IWM).  The focal point is an extension of the earlier focal point, ‘Russia in Global Dialogue’ that ran in Eurozine and at the IWM from 2012–2018.


Cover for: Ukraine in European dialogue

Post-revolutionary Ukrainian society displays a unique mix of hope, enthusiasm, social creativity, collective trauma of war, radicalism and disillusionment. With the Maidan becoming history, the focal point ‘Ukraine in European Dialogue’ explores the new challenges facing the young democracy, its place in Europe, and the lessons it might offer for the future of the European project.

Projects and publications