The Center for Humanities and Social Change at the Humboldt University in Berlin focuses on the crises of capitalism and democracy. The Center’s aim is to analyse our present situation and to provide and refine the fundamental conceptual tools that guide such analyses. With its broad thematic focus, the center takes into account the relationship between economy, society, and politics – and the potential tensions of even contradictions created here.

The Center’s work is guided by social philosophy and oriented towards the project of a critical theory of society. It also draws from the specific resources the humanities have to offer. “Democracy” is then not only understood as a form of government, nor is “capitalism” understood as a mere economic formation. Instead, both are treated in a broad sense as a complex ensemble of social institutions and practices or as socio-cultural life forms.

Based on the programme of the early Critical Theory, the task of the Center can be described as follows: By giving society a space for reflection and by fathoming possible courses of action, the analysis of crises is the “theoretical side of the practical process of emancipation.”