The research agenda of the group focuses on the concepts of crisis, criticism, and transformation. Building on the democratic theory issues explored during the first two years, in the second two-year funding phase the researchers will be dealing with issues such as inequality, poverty, and climate change, the future of democracy in the era of neoliberalism, and the future of the American global order. Many of the themes coincide with the new research program of the Graduate School for North American Studies. Re-approved for funding through 2017 within the German government's Excellence Initiative, research and training at the graduate school during the second program phase will emphasize the current crisis in the United States, various approaches to the crisis, and the vulnerability of democratic systems in general. Cooperation between the graduate school and the working group led by Nancy Fraser will strengthen the innovative research opportunities for young scholars and is also expected to provide an impetus to social science research in Berlin, both at the universities and independent research institutions.
Fraser is one of the world's most influential intellectuals of the present. With her work on social and political theory, the history of ideas in the 19th and 20th centuries, feminist theory, and the issue of the political conditions of social and cultural recognition, she has shaped the debate on the normative foundations of democracy in modern societies.