Posts By :

Susann Schmeisser

Sabine Flick 1024 683 Susann Schmeisser

Sabine Flick

Fellow, Berlin Center

April – September 2020

E-Mail: s.flick@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Sabine Flick

Sabine Flick is professor for “Geschlecht und Sexualität in der Sozialen Arbeit” at the Fulda University of Applied Sciences. Her research assumes an interdisciplinary outlook, crossing over the fields of social theory and critical theory, medical sociology, the sociology of the professions and questions of normativity and critique in empirical research. 2020 she completed her habilitation on the topic “On the Biographization of Social Suffering – Psychotherapeutic Practice in the Working Society”. Her work has been published in international journals such as Social Science and Medicine,  Distinktion. Journal of Social Theory or the European Journal for Social Theory.

During her stay in Berlin she worked on social suffering as psychic crises and the increasing dethematization of the social in mental health institutions and professions.  Her interest focuses on how a Critical Theory of Social Suffering can be accompanied with adequate empirical sociological research methods. While in Berlin and during the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic she prepared an empirical research project reflecting on the economic crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic that will likely increase the depth and breadth of precarious and highly demanding work. Here is a preprint of this work on „Work-related suffering as Social Suffering“. She also wrote a paper during her stay at the Center on the „Biographization of Social Suffering“ which is published with the Journal „Westend. Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung“ in Fall 2020.

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Allison Weir

Fellow, Berlin Center

June 2019

Allison Weir

Allison Weir is a Canadian social and political philosopher. She co-founded the Institute for Social Justice in Sydney, Australia, where she was Research Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in Social Political Thought until the Institute closed in 2018. Before moving to Australia she held a tenured professorship in Philosophy and in Women and Gender Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. She returned to Canada in 2019, and is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto.
Her book, Decolonizing Freedom, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2021. She is the author of Identities and Freedom (Oxford) and Sacrificial Logics (Routledge).

Nikolas Kompridis 1024 683 Susann Schmeisser

Nikolas Kompridis

Fellow, Berlin Center

June 2019

Nikolas Kompridis

Nikolas Kompridis is Research Professor in Philosophy and Political Thought and Foundation Director of the Institute for Social Justice at the Australian Catholic University. He is the author of The Aesthetic Turn (Bloomsbury, 2014), Critique and Disclosure (MIT Press, 2006), and Philosophical Romanticism (Routledge, 2006). He is currently completing a book on Aesthetics and Political Theory, which will be published by Polity Press, and another book, Critique and Receptivity, which is currently under review. Two other book projects involve an edited volume on Transforming the Anthropocene, and a volume of his writings on romanticism. Kompridis has published widely in journals and edited volumes on a wide and diverse set of topic.
His areas of specialisation are 19th and 20th century European Philosophy; Critical Theory, aesthetics and political philosophy. He optained his Ph.D. in 1992 at the interdisciplinary programme in Social and Political Thought at York University, Toronto.

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Jonathan David Klein

Fellow, Berlin Center

April 2020 – June 2021

Email: jonathan.david.klein@hu-berlin.de

Jonathan David Klein

Jonathan Klein is a Fellow at the Center in Berlin. He studied European Studies, International Politics and Political Theory in Maastricht, Tokyo, New York and Frankfurt am Main and subsequently worked as a research assistant at the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders”. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis in Frankfurt am Main (under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Saar) on the systematization and reconsideration of the concept of societal alienation in social theory.

According to his interpretation, the concept of societal alienation refers to a specific constitution of social relations, in which these relations become an alien power, relatively independent of the will of the actors, who nevertheless produce them. His work seeks to demonstrate that the concept of alienation is indispensable for understanding the social-theoretical specificity of the social interdependence constituted by the system of commodity production.

Grasping the constitution of this social connection with its contradictory dynamics is the basis for arriving at a more profound understanding of the economic and political crises of our time. Furthermore, such a perspective is oriented towards an immanent critique of the capitalist economy, holding the promise for developing more realistic perspectives of transformation.

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Jean Louise Cohen

Senior Fellow, Berlin Center

June – July 2019

Email: jlc5@columbia.edu

Jean Louise Cohen

Jean Louise Cohen is the Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Thought at Columbia University, New York. She is specialized in contemporary political and legal theory with particular research interests in democratic theory, critical theory, Civil society, gender and the law. Her influential contributions span from a critique of the missing political philosophy in Marx to a reactualization of Habermas‘ theory of society as the basis of contemporaray democratic theory.

In her current research project, Jean Cohen criticizes the appeal to a populist base as regressive even when issued within the context of left-wing populist radical democracy. The fallacy of populism is that it equates a homogenized idea of „the people“ with the democratic social body. Modern representative democracies, however, depend on a differentiated civil society which allows for the articulation of diverse and opposing interests and institutionalizes the mediation between those interests, as well as the more formal democratic decision-making processes.

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Andrew Arato

Senior Fellow, Berlin Center

June – July 2019

Email: arato@newschool.edu

Andrew Arato

Andrew Arato is a Professor of Political and Social Theory in the Department of Sociology at The New School for Social Research, New York. He is a member of the famous Hungarian School of Marxism in his early intellectual formation and is widely recognised for his influential book Civil Society and Political Theory, coauthored with Jean L. Cohen. He is also known for his work on critical theory, constitutions, and was from 1994 to 2014 co-editor of the journal Constellations with Nancy Fraser.

During his stay at the Humanities and Social Change Center he worked on a study of the authoritarian impulse discernible in right-wing populism as based on a phantasized reduction of the complexity of civil society to the unity of a homogenous people. To understand the role of religious extremism in this context, it is crucial to de-link it from traditional and particular communities of faith, and understand it as a reaction to a crisis of a civil society failing to mediate the diverse interests and democratic claims of its constitutency.

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Robin Celikates

Deputy Director, Berlin Center

Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Philosophy

Email: robin.celikates@fu-berlin.de

Robin Celikates

Since October 2019 Robin Celikates ist deputy director of the Humanities and Social Change Center Berlin.

Prof. Robin Celikates´s research is mainly in political philosophy, critical theory and social philosophy, and focuses particularly on questions of democracy, migration and citizenship, civil disobedience within democratic systems, the moral philosophy of recognition, and methodologies in political philosophy and social philosophy.

Other areas of interest include the philosophy of social sciences, moral philosophy, Rousseau, and political and social theory.

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Borders and Solidarity in Times of Corona

with Manuela Bojadžijev and Muhammad al-Kashef, moderated by Robin Celikates

While the coronavirus pandemic in a way affects us all, recent developments have made it abundantly clear that not all are affected equally. Both the spread and the impact of the novel coronavirus are profoundly mediated by social and political inequalities that structure societies along the lines of class, race and gender. These inequalities are, among others, upheld, reproduced and intensified by the international border regime. The current pandemic has obscured the plight of refugees around the world as much as it has exacerbated it. Refugee camps – at the borders of the EU and elsewhere – have become the crucible of this crisis just as much as they condense the structural violence of the border regime more generally. While campaigns such as #LeaveNoOneBehind have mobilized some public attention, the catastrophic effects of the pandemic continue to be especially harsh at the border, in a form that is intensified by the border.

In this conversation with the anthropologist and migration scholar Manuela Bojadžijev (HU Berlin) and the researcher and activist Muhammad al-Kashef (Watch The Med Alarm Phone) we will explore the changing dynamics of borders and solidarity in times of corona: How does the total closure of borders affect migration and especially the situation of refugees at the borders of Europe? How does this closure relate to the demand of contemporary capitalism for ‘cheap’ migrant labor e.g on German asparagus farms? What prospects are there for solidarity in a time of disaster nationalism? Which practices and mobilizations can redeem the promise of solidarity to create a relation of symmetry in contrast to the asymmetries of humanitarian help?

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Corona Capitalism: Struggles over Nature

with Andreas Malm

At first sight, the coronavirus pandemic is just another random natural disaster. On a closer look, however, the pandemic unfolds in confrontation with pre-existing social institutions. Andreas Malm’s analysis goes even further. In his recent book Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century (forthcoming with Verso books) he argues that the origin and proliferation of this plague are tightly intertwined with global capitalist production that destroys natural habitats, consumes land and wildlife, trades commodities around the globe, and moves people from one side of the planet to the other at a speed unprecedented in history. Malm’s analysis places capitalism at the heart of the natural disaster, thereby implying a remedy that not only treats symptoms, but eradicates the root causes of the evil.

Andreas Malm is Associate Senior Lecturer in Human Ecology at Lund University and currently Fellow at the Humanities and Social Change Center Berlin. His research focuses on the climate crisis and political strategies to deal with it. He worked especially on the politics of fossil fuels and on the relation of society and nature. Malm is the author of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming (Verso, 2016) and The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World (Verso, 2018).

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Corona im Kapitalismus: Ende des Neoliberalismus?

Mit Ulrike Herrmann und Alex Demirović

Die Corona-Pandemie hält die Welt in Atem. Für wie lange noch und mit welchen gesellschaftlichen Auswirkungen ist ungewiss. Einigkeit besteht hingegen bei der Einschätzung, dass wir gegenwärtig mit einer einschneidenden Krise konfrontiert sind. Doch um was für eine Krise handelt es sich eigentlich genau? Ist es eine Krise der Gesundheitssysteme, die drohen unter dem Ansturm Schwerkranker zusammenzubrechen?
Eine Krise der Ökonomie, die in Zeiten des Lockdowns weder die Produktion noch den Verkauf von Waren organisieren kann? Eine Krise der Demokratie, weil öffentliche Meinungsbildung und Grundrechtsschutz sich in Zeiten ernsthafter Bedrohungen als zweitrangig herausstellen? Im Rahmen unserer Reihe In Context diskutieren Alex Demirović und Ulrike Herrmann über die Corona-Krise. Im Fokus stehen dabei Überlegungen zur angemessenen Krisenbeschreibung, zu den möglichen Folgen der Krise sowie zu den politischen Alternativen, die sie nahelegt.

Krisen sind – nicht nur der griechischen Ursprungsbedeutung des Wortes nach – Momente der Entscheidung. In ihnen fällt das Urteil, wie tragfähig die von ihnen betroffene Lebensform ist. Auch die Corona-Krise stößt uns nicht einfach nur zu; selbst da wo sie als unverfügbare Naturkatastrophe von außen über uns hereinzubrechen scheint wird sie zur gesellschaftlichen Krise sofern sie auf bestehende soziale Institutionen, Praktiken und Strukturen trifft. Als solche ist sie immer auch das Produkt unserer kapitalistischen (Re)Produktions- und Lebensweise und fördert tiefere Dysfunktionalitäten zutage. Umso mehr hängt davon ab, wie die Krise genau gefasst wird: Ob als Krise der Globalisierung, in der sich nicht nur die Anfälligkeit weltumspannender Lieferketten und die Gefahren des internationalen Reiseverkehrs zeigen, sondern paradoxerweise angesichts eines Virus, das keine Grenzen kennt, nationalstaatliche Besitzstandswahrung überstaatliche Solidarität übertrumpft; ob als Krise neoliberaler Austeritäts- und Privatisierungspolitik, die das Gesundheitssystem schon vor der Pandemie in einen fragilen Zustand gebracht hat; ob als Krise der Arbeit, die zeigt, dass entscheidende Tätigkeiten der sozialen Reproduktion im Care- und Logistikbereich gesellschaftlich disqualifiziert und nur unzureichend entlohnt werden; ob als Krise der sozialen Segregation, in der soziale Benachteiligung arme und diskriminierte Menschen, aber auch ganze Regionen des globalen Südens der Infektion und der ökonomischen Deprivation ungeschützt aussetzt.

Eine Pandemie führt jede Gesellschaftsform an ihre Grenzen, aber mit Blick auf die spezifisch kapitalistischen Dimensionen der Krise, stellt sich die Frage nach Schlüssen, die aus der jetzigen Situation gezogen werden sollten. Dass die Corona-Krise bestehende Probleme und Widersprüche des neoliberalen Kapitalismus verstärkt und wie unter einem Brennglas hervortreten lässt, hat zu Prognosen Anlass gegeben, der Neoliberalismus finde in der gegenwärtigen Krise sein Ende. Tatsächlich werden in der Krise bis eben noch scheinbar selbstverständlich vorherrschende Auffassungen etwa zur Staatsverschuldung oder die Logiken der Ökonomie mit Verweis auf ein höheres Gut schlagartig außer Kraft gesetzt, selbst von der staatlichen Übernahme von Industriebetrieben war sehr schnell die Rede. Doch wie steht es tatsächlich um die gesellschaftlichen Alternativen? Welches sind die Konzepte, die im Zuge des gesellschaftlichen Schocks durchgesetzt werden können? Haben gegenüber Lösungen, die auf den starken Staat setzen, Möglichkeiten einer demokratischen Vergesellschaftung von zentralen sozialen Institutionen überhaupt eine Chance, sich zu entwickeln? Oder wird die Krise in erster Linie den Finanzmärkten nutzen und der Neoliberalismus geht gestärkt daraus hervorgehen, so dass uns nach dem Abklingen der Infektionswellen einfach eine Rückkehr zum Status quo ante bevor?