Contemporary Political Thought in Germany

The current research project first intends to assemble relevant contributions to contemporary political thought in Germany since 1990. In a second step, the collected material shall then be discussed under specific criteria, considering the well-established distinction between the political ideologies of Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism (including Social-Democratic thought) and green political thought. The research community has, until now, not yet been engaged in such an undertaking – the creation of an extensive map (so to speak) of contemporary political thought and a closer examination of the future of political ideologies in the process. The time frame in focus is a result of the insight that several challenges have emerged since 1989, such as the erosion of nation-state power in the process of globalization/Europeanization, an increasing trend towards individualization in society and a growing discrepancy between ecological and economic goals. We regard books, essays and articles as relevant, which either exceed a certain level of public recognition and that at the same time stand out by advancing the established political ideologies by adapting them to new problems or that rather leave old paradigms behind and open up new directions in political thought. The spectrum of such texts ranges, for example, from Botho Strauß‘ “Anschwellender Bocksgesang“ (1993) via Jürgen Habermas‘ “Die Zukunft der menschlichen Natur“ (2001) to Tim Jackson’s book “Wohlstand ohne Wachstum“ (Prosperity without Growth, 2011).

We will gather texts, discussing relevant political thought in a multi-dimensional inquiry according to quantitative criteria (sales numbers), qualitative criteria (published lists), through surveys taken among experts and through reviewing a selection of related journals. The process will reduce the texts to a corpus that is accessible to an in-depth analysis, in which we will focus on the main question regarding the future of traditional political ideologies. In this final part of the project, we will proceed according to three guiding assumptions: Some contributions to political thought are expected to strengthen the established ideologies by refining them, whereas others might melt two or more ideologies to a conglomerate. Even others might not neatly fit into well-established categories but rather open up new dimensions of political thinking.