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Cultures of Debate

The Research Group

Academia means debate. This was long considered to be a given, with debate being regarded as an essential element of academia, praised in speeches at awards ceremonies and university yearbooks, but without ever being put to the test. Until now, that is. Or at least, the function of debate within academia needs to be reinterpreted because the transformations within the cultures of debate that are currently shaping the political system also affect academia.

Against this backdrop, the research group ‘Cultures of Debate’ focuses on the role of academia in social discourse. What does it mean for a society when expertise and academic analysis no longer automatically hold a position of authority, but find themselves confronted with accusations of elitism similar to those that are currently being directed at journalism and politics? Does the public realm lack important intellectual figures with the power to influence political debates? And what would it take to change this?

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The research group also deals with the question of how debates are conducted within academia itself. After all, cultures of debate differ greatly between academic disciplines. Furthermore, academic debates today also take place in social media, which faciliate much faster, sharper, and more exaggerated communication. How one participates in debates for a more productive discussion under such conditions and avoid causing lasting insult or injury? And is there such a thing as ‘aesthetics of debate’?

It is clear that many discursive forms are currently undergoing a process of transformation- both in the world of academia and in society as a whole. The research group ‘Cultures of Debate’ seeks to understand these transformations and to develop ways to shape them.

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