Die Jahrestagungen dienen den Forscher:innen am FGZ dazu, ihre Erkenntnisse zu den vier Leitfragen des Instituts zusammenzutragen, wechselseitig zu ergänzen und kritisch zu prüfen. Der durch die gemeinsamen Fragstellungen strukturierte Austausch verschiedener Wissensbestände, Methodiken und theoretischer Ansätze bietet die Chance, die Perspektivenvielfalt der elf Teilinstitute zu einem Gesamtbild zu verdichten.

Annual Conference 2023

Social Cohesion as a Global Guiding Concept

14 to 16 September 2023 in Leipzig, Germany

This year's annual conference of the Research Institute Social Cohesion will take place from Thursday, September 14 to Saturday, September 16 in Leipzig and will explore the question of how social cohesion and its discursive production vary historically and regionally. The formulation of the conference title “Social cohesion as a global guiding concept” takes up the observation that “social cohesion” and “societal cohesion”, together with their variants in many other languages, have gained prominence in recent years and have taken a remarkable ascent to become a basic social concept.

The concept of a basic social term means that societies agree on and discursively stabilise certain central terms that address a situation that appears particularly urgent and/or particularly fragile, but which is seen as essential for further development. Such terms from the past include nation, empire or revolution. Now that social cohesion etc. is gaining influence in numerous societies, the question arises as to who the bearers of this interest were and are and how one can explain this rise. Obviously, something has become precarious that previously seemed self-evident, but which is still desirable. At the same time, different actors assess very differently that which is now precarious, but was previously taken for granted and is still desirable. Which social cohesion is actually considered endangered and is to be re-established is open, but many speak in the same words about something that is judged very differently. And they mobilise very different intellectual traditions to do so.

These differences can be illustrated by comparing the Chinese CP leadership's ideas on social cohesion with those in post-apartheid South Africa and those in Germany. And of course, the interpretations of social cohesion within a society are also strikingly different.

Through our conference, which will mark three years of research within the RISC, we would like to take these considerations as a starting point for bringing together talks and presentations which will highlight differences in the ways in which social cohesion is understood and practised, with the aim of exploring why so many different interpretations have been gathered under one (emerging) basic social concept. Which current transformations of regional, national, transregional or transnational scope are addressed by this, and how do actors within and between societies come to an agreement on what their social cohesion should look like?

The relationship between the three RISC research clusters as well as the InRa study (“Institutions and Racism”) and the overall research question at the heart of our conference will be in focus. The conference will also provide a space for bringing perspectives and research results from the RISC together with international cohesion research. A coherent volume in the RISC’s central publication series will take stock of the debates on cohesion.

A second focus will be on dialogue with stakeholders from politics and civil society in order to discuss expectations regarding the RISC’s work and thus sharpen our goals for further development in this area. This exchange will take place in the form of a panel discussion with representatives from the RISC Practice Council.

In line with these goals, we have developed a conference programme that reserves Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning for keynotes and focuses on scientific exchange on key topics in parallel panels on Friday.

Programme of the RISC Annual Conference 2023

Participation & Contact

In addition to the preferred option of your participation in person, the possibility of online participation will be provided.

The keynotes and the panel discussion will be streamed live on the RISC YouTube channel. Online participation in the panels on Friday via Zoom is possible. Please register here for online participation until September 10.

Please note: The keynotes and several of the panel sessions will be held in English. The panel discussion and the remaining panel sessions will be held in German.


If you have any questions regarding the conference, please feel free to contact us at fgz-leipzig@uni-leipzig.de.



The event will take place in the conference rooms of the Hotel Felix in the city centre (Augustusplatz 1-3, 04109 Leipzig) and is only a few minutes’ walk from the main railway station.