The research centre will be concentrating on projects and actors in the area of C4SC in Europe and Germany. The aim is to study projects and actors “on location”, meaning in Germany and other European countries, that orient themselves on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and invest in social change.
The underlying thought is that marginalisation exists in all nations and that the cause for this lies in structural inequality and dominant power structures. Development is thus not (only) necessary on an economic or a technical level, but especially on a social level.
One substantial research focus lies on ecological sustainability. The scientific advisory body of the federal government for global environmental change (WBGU) demanded "Great Transformation" for a "climate compatible society" in 2011 (WBGU 2011: 55). A "Transformative Research Strategy" that will "develop solutions as well as technical and social innovations, works inter- and transdisciplinary and involves stakeholders" (ibid.) is the desired outcome. We want to meet these research strategies.
Another focus lies especially on the tenth aim of Agenda 2030, namely to reduce the inequality between countries (see Martens & Obenland 2017: 99), especially in terms of the goal "to enable all people independent of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, heritage, religion or economic or other status to achieve self-determination and to foster their social, economic and political inclusion". For this reason, participation, inclusion and, linked in with that, empowerment are vital.
Due to rising global migration, social diversity is also steadily increasing. The centre EC4SC studies societal tracts that go beyond the socially established dividing lines between people with and without a migration background. It thus adopts a post-migration research perspective and looks at "conflicts, processes of identity formation, social and political transformations […] that are brought into action after a completed migration" (Foroutan et al. 2015: 15).
Current Research Projects
Journalism in Afghanistan: Professionalization of the Academic Journalism Training
The aim of the project is to
1. develop a model for the dual training of the young generation of journalists to enter leadership roles in Afghan journalism on the basis of the international state of research and an evaluation of demand and feasibility (questioning Afghan experts); this model is meant to incorporate programmes for the further education of professionals working in journalism and the qualification of the scientific new generation of journalism;
2. establish a manual containing guidelines for the legal-administrative and practical-organisational steps for the planning, introduction and trial of this model as a pilot project;
3. explain the model, i.e. the manual at a conference of Afghan experts of the academic journalism training as well as demonstrate its objective for a reform of journalism training at state universities in the country.
The aim is to trial and adopt the model after the completion of the project within the framework of a 5-year agreement between Leipzig University and the Ministry of High Education of Afghanistan at 12 faculties for journalism and mass communication of the State University in Afghanistan.
Participative Communication for Pluralism and Societal Cohesion!
In a cooperation including the centre EC4SC and the Centre for European and Oriental Culture, short ZEOK, the plans for 2020, 2021, and 2022 will also follow the call for “Weltoffenes Sachsen” (cosmopolitan Saxony) and will organise three symposiums in the series “Migration, Communication and Participation” with the incorporation of media establishments and migrations organisations (MO). Moreover, a continuous development with expert workshops and virtual meetings shall be upheld within the framework of this project, continuous further education and praxis transfer will be provided and a digital toolbox and archive will be created. Through a series of symposiums since 2016 and with the support of the University of Leipzig, ZEOK promotes the equal communication, participation and representation of persons with a migratory background in the media, in the public realm and society as well as the strengthening of cohesion in the society of Saxony. Important actors from different societal areas (economy, civil society organisations, media, politics, culture) meet at symposiums focussing on varying topics to participate in debates and exchange, especially between science and praxis – for an improvement of mass media communication in a plural society.
Migrant Organisations – Communication for Societal Cohesion? (MOKGZ)
The project studies the communication of organisations for or managed by migrants (migrant organisations (MO), also migrant self-organisations (MSO)) in Germany. This aspect – MO as a stakeholder and communicator – has so far hardly been touched on by communication science. Nonetheless, it is of extreme importance and relevant for societal development in the coming years. This enterprise tries to close this research gap with results derived from the comprehensive quantitative study into the communication of migrant organisations in Germany at hand. Initially, we will investigate debates within political science and migration research. At that juncture, the focus of communication science will be on the terminology ‘public sphere’ and its meaning for a democratic society. Subsequently, the group of themes pertaining to organisation and advocacy will be covered; within this framework, communication goals, -concepts, -actors and –strategies of the MO need to be examined. The enterprise MOKGZ lists three areas in its work programme: research, education and transfer. The area research incorporates a comprehensive quantitative study (survey, content analysis and case studies) that investigates communication processes of MO in Germany. In the second area, we endeavour to develop concepts for modules and teaching programmes (curricula) for education as to the topics “migration, communication and participation” and trial these in communication science.
How could and should journalists mediate in social conflicts?
The project examines and reflects on possible new achievements of journalists in reporting. It can be assumed that in the age of post-migration and social transformation, the demands on journalists will also change when they report on social processes and especially conflicts. Can and should journalists be mediators at times? How can they facilitate the transformation of conflicts towards integration and social cohesion through their mediation? The international project compares the approach of journalists in Germany, Denmark and Norway. For the empirical investigation, (1) guideline interviews with journalists and (2) group discussions between training managers for journalism are carried out.