Contested (Dis)Arrangements –
Conflict, Integration and Uncertainty in Modern Societies

Social science at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg is understood as social science. This means that sectors, institutions and actors of modern societies are analyzed in their structures, their developments, their interaction and their effects. This is preferably done in the mode of comparison. The range of topics includes the identification and analysis of societal and political challenges, e.g. transnationalization, migration or climate change, as well as the investigation of policy fields such as social and economic policy or the study of democratization and transformation processes in different world regions. The research area also focuses on social science methodology and the development of social science theory.

The goals are not only a better understanding of social and political change, but also yields for the design of social processes. For example, insights gained through comparative studies of welfare state arrangements or economic policy institutions can help to reduce undesirable side effects of future reforms in these areas.

At the level of analyzing social action by individuals and collectives, social science studies can contribute, among other things, to a better understanding of how and under what conditions conducive social interactions emerge and, perhaps more importantly, under what conditions this does not happen and individual social groups become alienated from one another.

More in this Area

The Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg was of great value for my intellectual development. The quality of my scholarship has been pushed to a new level.
Prof. Dr. Alison Moore, Western Sydney University (Fellow 2019/20)

The universal presence of the social is also due to the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary links between social science research at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg and the other scientific fields at the Kolleg, be it marine and climate research in the field of Earth, the field of Energy with topics such as climate protection or the political economy of renewable energies, or the field of Brain, as in the case of studies on the decision-making behavior of groups and individuals.

In accordance with the understanding briefly outlined here, the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg deliberately calls this focus Society and thus means "social sciences" in the plural. The Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg takes this claim into account in its Fellow Program as well as in its program of conferences and workshops: In addition to the core disciplines of sociology and political science, neighboring disciplines such as economics, history, law, and linguistics are also represented. The decisive factor for the approval of a fellowship or a scientific event is not the connection to a specific discipline, but rather the special qualification of the applicant (excellence criterion), the scientific quality and relevance of a project, and a connection to the understanding of social or societal sciences described here.

Since its foundation, the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg has approved projects on the following topics, among others:

  • comparative analysis of welfare states and social policy
  • studies of European politics and society
  • Globalization, transnationalization and the transformation of statehood
  • socio-cultural consequences of demographic development
  • Social theory, political theory and history of ideas
  • Urban Sociology
  • Analyses of the tension between security and freedom
  • State formation and development of contemporary societies since early modern times
  • History of medicine

Regional Cooperation Partners (Selection)

  • the Center for Social Policy (ZeS, University of Bremen)
  • the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences of the University of Bremen and the Jacobs University Bremen
  • Research Group Migremus - Migration, Residential Mobility and Urban Structure, (University of Bremen)

Applications in the Area SOCIETY

Familiarize yourself with work and life at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg an check the eligibility criteria for applications in the research area SOCIETY on our applications page.


Wolfgang Stenzel
Head of Program Society