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Annual Conference of the RISC: Social Cohesion as a Global Guiding Concept

Key facts

14.09.2023 - 16.09.2023
3:37 pm - 9:23 am
Uni Leipzig
Uni Leipzig


The conference explores the question of how social cohesion and its discursive production vary historically and regionally: Why have so many different interpretations been gathered under this (emerging) basic social concept? What current transformations of regional and national, transnational and transregional scope are addressed by this concept, and how do actors within and between societies come to an agreement on what their social cohesion should look like? These are the questions discussed at this year’s annual conference of the RISC.

The conference will be framed by keynotes by Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Technical University Berlin) and Matthias Middell (University of Leipzig) on Thursday and by Ursula Lehmkuhl (University of Trier) and Olaf Groh-Samberg (University of Bremen) on Saturday. These keynotes will discuss from a historical and internationally comparative perspective how the concept of “social cohesion” has gained prominence in recent years and experienced a remarkable ascent to become a basic social concept.

On Friday, the conference is dedicated to discussion in parallel panel sessions. Here, researchers from the eleven RISC sections come together with external scholars to present their findings and jointly discuss new research perspectives. The topics in these panels range from the diffusion of the concept of social cohesion in political, social and discursive networks to social cohesion in the Francophone space and the question of cohesion in times of ecological transformation.

On Saturday, there will also be a panel discussion with three representatives of the RISC Practice Council: Anna Hoffmann (ZEIT Foundation), Matthias Schulze-Böing (Commissioner for Special Tasks of the City of Offenbach am Main) and Gerhard Timm (Managing Director of the Federal Association of Independent Welfare Organizations). This discussion will revolve around the question of the extent to which the RISC lives up to its claim of making research findings usable in practice and adopting inputs from society on the subject of social cohesion.

  • 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.
  • The keynotes and the panel discussion will be streamed live on the RISC YouTube channel. Online participation in the panels via Zoom is possible.