Background Paper: Shifting Involvements: Rethinking the Social, the Human and the Natural

Published on


The social sciences are more urgently needed, of higher potential societal relevance and more crucial to humankind’s possibilities of coming to terms with its global interconnectedness in both economic, cultural and resource terms, than ever before. The new global context cannot be made intelligible without the contributions of the social sciences. Conversely this context offers immense possibilities for advancement and conceptual innovation of the social sciences and the humanities but also for empirical probing and testing on a vastly expanded scale. Yet these potentials are unlikely to be realized unless institutional initiatives are taken on a transnational scale. Thus, there are urgent needs for vital research capacities and environments to allow humankind to grasp and master current global transformations in the context of the rise of new economic, cultural and scientific centres but also of a landscape where deep knowledge divides persist.


Björn Wittrock

Available languages