Cultures of Compromise

The interdisciplinary research network “Cultures of Compromise” (“Kulturen des Kompromisses”) explores the socio-economic, politico-legal, and cultural preconditions for compromise in different contexts, cultures, and epochs. Starting from an analysis of contemporary Western societies, the conditions for compromise are examined from both a historically-comparative and a culturally-comparative perspective. In a first step, Israel and Japan are analyzed as comparative cultural cases.

Combining the fields of – among others – history, political science, law, communication science and literary studies, this interdisciplinary research network consists of more than 30 researchers from the universities of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Münster (WWU) and Bochum (RUB). The project is led by Prof. Dr. Ute Schneider (UDE, History), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Willems (WWU, Political Science) and Prof. Dr. Constantin Goschler (RUB, History). The network is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW/NRW) with EUR 2.1 million. The first funding phase (2021-2024) is intended to result in a larger funding application.

The aim of this research network is to bring together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds to study successful and failed compromises in various contexts, cultures, and epochs. Life does not work without compromises – but how do we reach such an agreement? What are its prerequisites? What does it take for several parties to reach an agreement that is acceptable for everyone? Where are the limits of compromise? “Cultures of Compromise” tackles these and other fundamental questions of human coexistence which, surprisingly, have hardly been systematically studied so far.

The study of these questions is all the more important in face of the alleged decline of the willingness and ability to compromise in contemporary liberal-democratic societies. Therefore, one of the goals of the interdisciplinary research network “Cultures of Compromise” is to generate applicable knowledge and to develop formats of science communication and knowledge transfer to make its expertise and research results available to policymakers and the general public.