July 16 - 18, 2017
The perception of social threats and crisis in public life and education
Report on the International Conference “The Perception of Social Threats and Crisis in Public Life and Education”
From July 16th to July 18th, 2017, in the idyllic location of Gut Siggen, an international conference centered on “The Perception of Social Threats and Crisis in Public Life and Education” took place. Owned by the Alfred-Toepfer-Stiftung F.V.S., a non-profit organization with its seat in Hamburg and dedicated to many projects related to culture, education, and nature preservation, the Gut Siggen Seminar Center is located on the far eastern coastline of Schleswig-Holstein, close to the town of Oldenburg in Holstein, not far from Lübeck and Kiel.
The idea of this meeting came up within the frame of an international and interdisciplinary research project called “The Discursive (De)Construction of Anxiety Culture”, lead by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hoinkes, from Kiel University, in collaboration with researchers from the Teachers College at Columbia University, New York. The “Anxiety Culture” research project focus was born from a common interest to understand our so-called “risk society”, as Ulrich Beck puts it: how fears, threats, and dangers affect us at an individual level and as a community as a whole. The Gut Siggen conference, preceded by several research symposiums and colloquiums in the same field, culminates the 2016/2017 academic year.
Our aim was to bring together researchers from different fields and from different nationalities in order to present their own fields of research within the area of “anxiety culture”, as well as their findings. Thus, twenty-four international representatives from several German and American universities, including Kiel University and Teachers College, worked together for three days finding common grounds in the very diverse topics that were touched upon within the four main areas of research that the “Anxiety Culture” research project focuses on: health, climate, migration, and communication.
All throughout the conference, the role of anxiety in aspects such the situation of minority languages in the world and its threatened status in a globalized world, the legal voids and troubles related to transgender people, the way certain critical aspects of our daily lives are portrayed in the media or from the political spheres, such as the refugee crisis or sociopolitical changes, or even the way that anxiety is portrayed and dealt with in other, non-Western cultures. Click here to find the full program of the conference and to read the complete abstracts of each talk.
In name of the team, we would like to warmly thank our collaborators from the following institutions: Teachers College at Columbia University, Hofstra University, Bremen University, the Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein (ULD), the Walter Schücking Institute for International Law at Kiel University, as well as the Social Sciences Center, the China Studies Center, and the Romance Studies Center at Kiel University. Additionally, we are immensely grateful to the Alfred-Toepfer-Stiftung F.V.S. for letting us use their facilities and for the wonderful treatment that we received.