KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Research areas

Project Fragmentation and Exclusion: Understanding and Overcoming the Multiple Impacts of the European Crisis (FRAGMEX)

Principal investigator: Prof. em. Dr. Hans-Georg Soeffner

Cooperation Partner: Prof. Dr. Dirk Tänzler, Felix Tirschmann M.A, (Institute for Political Science and Sociology, University of Bonn), Dimitris A. Sotiropoulos, Dimitris Katsikas (Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Crisis Observatory), Achilles D. Kameas (Educational Content, Methodology and Technology (e-CoMeT), Hellenic Open University)

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Duration: 01.01.2014 - 31.12.2015

The FRAGMEX-Program is based on collaborative research activities between scholars in German und Greek universities and institutes on the impacts of the recent European finance crisis. The research to be conducted focusses on two aspects of these impacts, i. e. phenomena of fragmentation and exclusion manifesting themselves in processes of growing poverty, on the one hand, and conflictual public discourses on the identity and coherence of the European space, on the other. As far as the German part of this collaborative project is concerned the research activities display two pillars:
The first pillar of research conducted by the University of Bonn concerns certain tendencies of growing impoverishment in the German society dating long before the recent European crisis. The focus rests on the analysis of patterns of societal perception of poverty on three levels: 1. Discourse analysis of parliament debates in Germany and the European Parliament; 2. Document analysis based on resources drawn from organisations and institutions dealing with phenomena of poverty; and 3. Qualitative empirical research (according to Grounded Theory) based on interviews from four target groups: politics, economy, mass media and civil society. The aim of conducting research in this area consists in providing insights into the social construction of poverty in contemporary Germany.
The second pillar of the project concentrates on phenomena of erosion pertaining to the European crisis. On the basis of observing certain tendencies of fragmentation and exclusion attending the process of coping with the dangers of economic and financial disintegration threatening the European Union the research to be conducted by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) aims at analysing perceptions of crisis at four levels by carrying: 1. A discourse analysis of parliamentary debates on the European and the national level; 2. An analysis of documents drawn from the activities of various European actors; 3. A qualitative analysis (according to Grounded Theory) based on interviews from four target groups: politics, economy, mass media and civil society; und 4. A visual data analysis. This research on the perceptions of crisis and its impact on the European integration aims at exploring fundamental dimensions of the current European self-understanding.