Cultural Studies at the University of Konstanz are based on interdisciplinary cooperation between historians, cultural and social anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, literary scholars, legal experts, political scientists and public administration researchers. Within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration” (EXC 16, 2006-2019), research in this area has focused on one of the most pressing social, political and cultural challenges: the integrative capacity of societies and the various mechanisms that drive both integration and disintegration across all social levels – from the requirements for familial and neighbourly cooperation to political processes unfolding on a global scale. As an important part of EXC 16 and a forum for domestic and international cooperation and intellectual exchange, the Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg has been integral to carrying forward our research in this area. So far, it has hosted more than 100 visiting scholars from more than a dozen countries. Cluster scholars have been, and continue to be, involved in public debates and policy consultancy, especially in the wake of the recent migration crisis and related political and societal discourses.
The Cluster of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration” will be succeeded by the Cultural Studies Research Centre (ZKF), which brings together all cultural studies research activities in Konstanz and will also address migration and mobility issues in addition to phenomena that promote social integration and disintegration.
Cultural researchers at the University of Konstanz are further involved in the research centre “European Cultures in a Multipolar World”, which seeks to develop an alternative vision for Europe beyond Eurocentrism. Professors and postdoctoral researchers specialising in law, history, literature, cultural and social anthropology and sociology are currently participating in the creation of a nationwide “Institute for Social Cohesion”, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). They are going to examine the role that cultural factors, the mass and social media play with regard to enabling social and political participation and shaping public debate. The Institute in its entirety intends to explore social cohesion and ways of promoting it.