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Research field: Transformation Research

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Transformations in internationally comparative perspective

This research field is tasked with the comparative and interdisciplinary study of transformation processes in Germany and Central Eastern Europe, taking into account simultaneous transformation processes in Western Europe ("co-transformation"). Besides the upheaval of 1989/90, transformation processes in Europe during all of the 20th century are explored. In the context of contemporary historical and social science transformation research with its current focus on the upheaval of 1989/1991, the aim is to contribute to an interdisciplinary, transnational as well as diachronic perspective on political turning points and profound social change from 1918 to the present and their impact on the affected societies and people.

As to content, the research field ties into previous works of the HAIT in politological transformation research and includes a broad set of conceptual and methodological approaches, reaching from international comparisons on the macro level to historical anthropology and qualitative social science. In the coming years, the research field will develop three focal points: 1. "Work in upheaval: property regulations, work and social protest": For this, "transformation regimes" will be examined along the nationalisation and privatisation of economic and industrial businesses in rural, East German and Central Eastern European societies; 2. "Age, care and aid in times of Crisis": At the centre of attention is the impact of the respective turning points on discourses and practices of care and the everyday experiences of the affected persons, the children, the elderly and sick; 3. "Self-governance, honorary offices and volunteering": Its topics are possibilities and limitations of volunteering in a time of accelerated upheaval of social, political and economic systems. These projects and the resulting conference and publication undertakings aim to contribute to the diachronic and comparative research of political turning points and their long-term social consequences. In addition to a methodically innovative study of the transformations in the 20th and 21st century, the research field especially targets transnationally comparative projects with a particular focus on Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Researchers: PD Dr. Steffen Kailitz, PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács, Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger

Current projects

Belonging. The History of Child Adoption in Germany (1945/9-2000)

coordination: PD Dr. Bettina Hitzereditor: PD Dr. Bettina Hitzer; Anne Rinke

Die 'Wende' der Kinder: Kindheit in der ostdeutschen Transformation

coordination: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovácseditor: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács

Multiple Transformationen. Gesellschaftliche Erfahrung und kultureller Wandel in Ostdeutschland und Ostmitteleuropa vor und nach 1989

coordination: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovácseditor: Dr. Maren Hachmeister; PD Dr. Friederike

Freiwilligkeit und Fürsorge in Transformation: Lokales Engagement im Dreiländereck

coordination: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovácseditor: Dr. Maren Hachmeister

Why do democracies collapse?

coordination: PD Dr. Steffen Kailitz

Budapest's Children: Humanitarian Relief in the Aftermath of the Great War

coordination: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovácseditor: PD Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács

Completed projects

Setting out for democracy and nationhood in the border triangle of Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia after the Great War (1918-1923)

coordination: PD Dr. Steffen Kailitzeditor: Sebastian Paul, Matthäus Wehowski

Volunteer work in local communities between state socialism and liberal capitalism. The history of the volunteer fire brigades in Germany and Eastern Central Europe 1980-2000

coordination: Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger, Univ. Prof. Dr. Philipp Thereditor: Steffi Unger, Mojmír Stránský