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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Social Complexity, Global Interdependence, and the Exhaustion of Political Solutionism

Ariane Leendertz

In the 1970s, social "complexity" and global "interdependence" were discussed as novel political and intellectual challenges. Both phenomena were not only regarded as problems of social scientific theory building and analysis, but also at the same time discussed in politics and public debates. Both terms oscillated between analytical concept and contemporary buzzword. The project focuses on developments in the US between 1965 and 1985. It examines the intertwining of social scientific and political thought in order to break down the continuum of meaning in the discourse on complexity and interdependence. Why did these topics rise to academic and political prominence exactly at that time? What did it mean to think of societal and global connections as "complex"? The project will identify approaches for public policy that were derived from the results on complexity and interdependence. Furthermore, it will show what general conclusions were drawn for political action and for the range and purpose of the state. Finally, the project will seek to answer the question of the extent to which complexity and interdependence (among other factors) affected conceptions of government in the late twentieth century. Project duration: June 2012 to December 2017.
Leendertz, Ariane. 2015. "Das Komplexitätssyndrom: Gesellschaftliche 'Komplexität' als intellektuelle und politische Herausforderung in den 1970er-Jahren." MPIfG Discussion Paper 15/7. Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung, Köln.
Leendertz, Ariane, and Wencke Medeling, Hg. 2016. Die neue Wirklichkeit: Semantische Neuvermessungen und Politik seit den 1970er-Jahren. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus.
Leendertz, Ariane, and Wencke Medeling, Hg. 2016. "Bezeichnungsrevolutionen, Bedeutungsverschiebungen und Politik: Zur Einleitung." In Die neue Wirklichkeit: Semantische Neuvermessungen und Politik seit den 1970er-Jahren, herausgegeben von Ariane Leendertz und Wencke Meteling, 13-33. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus.
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