News from Sep 30, 2019
Tanja A. Börzel, professor of political science, and Thomas Risse, professor of international relations, both at the Otto Suhr Institute of Freie Universität Berlin, presented research topics of the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS during their stay in Brazil at the Universidade de São Paulo and the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Foundation, by end September.
After the end of the Cold War, liberal democracy seemed to have prevailed for good. Today, 25 years later, however, the liberal model of political and economic order faces a profound crisis. Authoritarian leaders including Russian president Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, as well as non-state fundamentalist groups such as the Islamic State openly operate as antagonists of the liberal model. At the same time, right-wing populist movements like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) gain strength by attacking the very foundations of liberalism within liberal societies. Transnational networks connect authoritarian leaders and right-wing populists. The Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) analyzes the contemporary controversies about the liberal order from a historical, global, and comparative perspective. What are the causes of the current contestations? How do they differ from earlier crises? What are the consequences for democracy and the global challenges of the 21st century?
In addition to Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, five other Berlin-based research institutions are participating in SCRIPTS: the Centre for East European and International Studies, the German Institute for Economic Research, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, the Hertie School of Governance, and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. "The research program bridges the prevalent gap between social sciences and area studies with their different perspectives and methodological approaches," says Tanja Börzel, Professor of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin and spokesperson for the Cluster of Excellence. "The core of the research team shares a social science perspective, but researchers from history, economics, and education studies as well as philosophy and Islamic studies complement the profile." About half of the participating researchers have a specific regional expertise focusing for example on the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin-America, or Eastern Europe.
"From our perspective, the current contestations of the liberal script are a global problem that takes on different forms in different parts of the world. We want to understand this diversity as well as commonalities, and inter-connections," says Michael Zürn, Director of the research unit "Global Governance" at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and Professor of International Relations at Freie Universität Berlin, who also serves as spokesperson for the Cluster. The diversity of the challenges can only be captured by integrating different perspectives. For this purpose, SCRIPTS has developed institutional partnerships with universities in all world regions.
The Universidade de São Paulo is one of the cooperation partners of SCRIPTS.