Transformations in Most Recent History

Project Overview

The latest period in contemporary history since around 1970 can be viewed as an era of accelerated global transformation. This was marked by rapid technological development, new economic uncertainties and dynamics on the tails of the post-war boom, profound social change, and dramatic sociocultural shifts pertaining to topics such as sexuality and ecological awareness.

Significant political changes came about in many countries: The late 20th century witnessed numerous transformations (in the classical sense used in political science) around the world from authoritarian to democratic systems while, more recently, inverse developments can be observed towards “hybrid” democratic-authoritarian systems. Large portions of Europe were impacted by the intensifying EU integration process. A marked change in political culture can be observed in general, not least due to the proliferation of new forms of digital media and communications. While these fundamental upheavals have often resulted in a gain in freedom, they have also meant an increase in uncertainty and the emergence of new restrictions.

The research cluster “Transformations in Recent History” focuses on research on the history of politics, society, the economy, and culture with regard to these closely intertwined events. While German and European perspectives are generally in the foreground of the projects, global perspectives are present throughout. A broadly construed concept of transformation is the central analytical category here, one which includes cultural, social, economic, and ecological dimensions, and which is open with regard to the directions taken in these processes of transformation.

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