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Research and science for democracy with society

Prof. Dr. Swen Hutter

Prof. Dr. Swen Hutter
Image Credit: David Ausserhofer

Prof. Swen Hutter is the Director of the Center for Civil Society Research and Lichtenberg Professor in Political Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin. Within the Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) cluster of excellence, he studies political conflicts in modern democracies. He explains here how Berlin, as a hub of science, research, and scholarship, contributes daily to strengthening and preserving democracy.

Liberal democracy thrives on conflict, on the struggle to find appropriate solutions to the big societal challenges of our time. Civil society – from protest movements in the streets to traditional association structures – is one of the key spaces where these conflicts are articulated and where they play out. In my research, I am especially interested in how civil society can be strengthened so we can engage productively in these conflicts without strong feelings translating to intolerance, lack of cooperation and ability to compromise, or worse, hate speech and violence. Within the Berlin University Alliance, I work to ensure that research in this field is not merely research about society, but rather research with and for society. Collective, transdisciplinary research and sharing of knowledge as equals hold the key to how science and academia can make a crucial contribution to strengthening and further developing our democracy. Read more here.