Call for Applications: Fellowships at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen
Käte-Hamburger-Kolleg /Centre for Global Cooperation Research (GCR21) at the University of Duisburg-Essen offers fellowships in research unit “The (Im)possibility of Cooperation”. The call for applications for all research units will be periodically repeated.
GCR21 offers fellowships at three levels: Selected applicants with a completed Ph.D. will work as Post-docs. Applicants with at least three years of postdoc experience and some prior supervising responsibili-ties may be employed as Fellows. Associate and Full Professors as well as other more senior scholars may be offered a place as Senior Fellows. Fellows join the Centre in November 2012 and stay for one year. A shorter research stay of six months as well as a later commencement of the fellowship is possible. The Fellowship entails working space in fully equipped offices and a competitive stipend commensurate with the applicant’s level of professional experience. Fellows are expected to work at the Centre and to take residence in the region. We will be happy to assist fellows in their search for an appropriate apartment.
The Centre for Global Cooperation Research is an independent research institution of the University of Duisburg-Essen. It cooperates closely with the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) in Duisburg, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, and the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn. Prof. Tobias Debiel (INEF), Prof. Claus Leggewie (KWI), and Prof. Dirk Messner (DIE) are co-directors of the Centre. The Centre is located at Duisburg’s Inner Harbour, which combines industrial heritage with modern office buildings and a vibrant urban culture. Close to the city centre, the Duisburg Campus with the Social Science Department and INEF is within short reach. The participation of the KWI facilitates the coupling with the neighbouring city of Essen, the lead city during the Ruhr area’s time as Europe’s Cultural Metropolis in 2010. Through the DIE, the Centre is also represented in the UN City of Bonn with its tight network of international institu-tions.
The Centre focuses on the cultural premises and dynamics of emergent governance structures in current world society and analyses the possibilities for global cooperation. Its four research units focus on (1) The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation, (2) Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation, (3) Global Governance Revisited, and (4) Paradoxes and Perspectives of Democratisation. The Centre offers a place for reflection and exchange for researchers from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the hu-manities, as well as for selected practitioners from all regions of the world. Colloquia and other research meetings form an essential part of the Centre. Fellows are invited to participate and contribute. For more information, visit our website at http://www.gcr21.org
Research Unit “The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation”
We are rapidly approaching our planet’s limits, with trends such as advancing climate change and the destruction of biological diversity jeopardising our natural life support systems. In parallel, global sys-temic risks such as fragile states or the economic and financial crises pose great challenges. It is impera-tive to intensify the scope of global cooperation and to tackle the current and looming global crises in both an effective and legitimate manner. Similar to the genesis of the system of nation states, this inten-sification of global cooperation must constitute a great transformation and go hand in hand with com-prehensive cultural and institutional innovations. Against this background, we want to initiate an inter- and transdisciplinary (re)search endeavour to collate the insights on the cooperative abilities of human beings, societies and other actors within the international system. We want to consolidate the knowledge on the basic parameters of global cooperation. In a world of multiple rationalities where op-portunistic or hostile patterns of action are as possible as cooperation, we expect to develop answers to the question which factors have an impact on global cooperation. By cooperating with others, human beings can achieve greater benefits than they do by acting on their own. However, cooperation entails costs, and the cooperation benefits are often realised only with tem-poral delay. The question of cooperation has been spurring intellectual interest for centuries. How and under which conditions can individuals overcome their short-term interests and conclude agreements whose results are better both for the group and the individuals themselves. This cooperation problem has been addressed by different disciplines ranging from psychology to political science and economics. Recent findings from the realms of evolutionary psychology and anthropology show that the cooperative nature of human beings might be the main reasons for our success as a species. Human beings are able to develop a shared intentionality at a very early age – they are able to understand and participate in coop-erative activities with common intentions and goals. From early childhood on, people are very good at cooperating at an interpersonal level. Yet researchers dealing with cooperation at the national and glob-al level have identified many factors that help understanding the opportunistic or hostile patterns of action that lead to failed cooperation efforts.
Why are we good at cooperating individually, but very bad at doing it at a global scale? How can we use the knowledge about human cooperative behaviour at the micro- and meso-level to better understand global cooperation and make this knowledge useful for global governance? Do the findings on coopera-tion in small groups and communities provide explanations for the currently observable lack of effective international cooperation in spite of strong pressure to address global problems such as climate change? Are human abilities that foster cooperation at the small scale actually of use for and applicable to coop-eration at the global scale? To what extent is the knowledge on the behaviour of small groups actually transferable to complex global governance settings?
The unit tackles these questions by systematically extrapolating recent insights from cooperation in small groups from various disciplines such as anthropology, evolutionary biology, economics and social psychology. These new understandings will be brought together with the body of knowledge on cooper-ation provided by sociology, political science, international relations, and Global Governance research.
Priority will be given to applicants who could make a tangible contribution in one of the following areas:
1. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF COOPERATION We welcome applications from a variety of disciplinary back-grounds (psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology, institutional or behavioural economics, political science, and others). We aim at extrapolating insights on the foundations and conditions for the success or failure of human cooperation from the interpersonal to the international, in small groups, communities, institutions and global networks.
2. THE INFLUENCE OF CULTURAL FACTORS ON THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF COOPERATION Group identities seem to have an important effect on cooperation. In times of global diversities and multicultural societies, can there be global “we-identities” that would provide firm bonds and are therefore more than “thin” identities with little moral duties owed to one another?
3. TOWARDS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY UNDERSTANDING OF GLOBAL COOPERATION Issues such as communica-tion, reciprocity, learning, or trust feature as variables not only in social theories on cooperation but also in behavioural approaches to evolutionary anthropology or other disciplines. What can we learn from bringing together insights from different disciplines on the fundamentals of cooperation at the micro- and meso-level, and cooperation at the global level? What kind of convergences, divergences and synergies can we find con-cerning the insights on the fundamentals of cooperation? Are human abilities that foster cooperation at the small scale actually of use for and applicable to cooperation at the global scale
Applications (in English language) should contain a cover letter, a CV, a list of publications, and a short presentation of the proposed research programme (3−5 pages). Please indicate at which level (Postdoc, Fellow, Senior Fellow) you wish to apply, state for which period you would like to come, and submit your application material in one pdf file. Applications should be emailed to the head of research unit Dr. Silke Weinlich (email@example.com) with “Fellowship Application: The (Im)possibility of Cooperation” as the subject heading.