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).
Over the last quarter century, every country, every social, ethnic or family group, has undergone a profound change in the relationship it traditionally enjoyed with the past. Pierre Nora looks at where this “memorialism” came from and why.
Khazanov writes that Russia currently lacks a consensus with regard to the concept of nation, and that common identifications are very weak. In these conditions of social and political fragmentation, nationalism has become a very important factor in the country’s development.
Democracy, particularly liberal democracy is a great philosophy of inclusion. Rule of the people, by the people, for the people; and where “people” is supposed to mean (unlike in earlier days) everybody – without the unspoken restrictions of yesteryear: peasants, women, slaves, etc. – this offers the prospect of the most inclusive politics of human history. And yet, there is also something in the dynamic of democracy which pushes to exclusion. This was allowed full rein in earlier forms of this régime, as among the ancient poleis and republics; but today is a great cause of malaise. I want in this paper first, to explore this dynamic, and then to look at various ways of compensating for it, or minimizing it.
Culture, Modernisation and Various Eastern Europes
The “clash of civilisations” as largely a function of uneven modernisation suggests that it will not last much longer, which advocates a return to the older tradition of functional-evolutionary theorists. In Europe, Daniel Chirot warns that the differentiation between “East” and “Central” Europe draws a new border between “East” and “West” which will result in excluding the poorer parts of Europe and will keep them poorer in delaying their modernisation.
Inspired by a lecture that Clifford Geertz delivered in 1995 at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, this focal point engages with ‘deep diversity’, ‘a sense of dispersion, of particularity, of complexity and of uncenteredness’ rather than unified world order. It follows the launch of a research programme of the same name at the institute in January 2023.
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.