WZB - Berlin Social Science Center

The WZB

The WZB Berlin Social Science Center investigates fundamental societal issues. Our focus is on education and work, markets and choice, migration, democracy and autocracy, international politics and law. At the WZB researchers from various disciplines work together – mainly from sociology, political science, economics, law and psychology.

Working at the WZB

The WZB offers a modern working environment, where both equal opportunities and the compatibility of work and family are highly valued. Find out more about it here.

WZB-Mitteilungen

Democracy

It is perhaps the topic of the year 2024. Elections, demonstrations and conflicts worldwide raise the question: How do we want to live together, how should society be structured? "Democracy" is the focus of the March issue of WZB-Mitteilungen. One thing is for sure: there is a ferment in our communities, fears and needs are being expressed emphatically. But what about the legitimacy of governments, the representation of as many people as possible, common rules and norms?

 

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Debt brake and democracy

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Pressestatement von Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz, Bundesminister Robert Habeck und Bundesminister Christian Lindner zum Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts
Jens Gyarmaty/laif

On November 15, 2023, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the second supplementary budget unconstitutional. The federal government had to significantly reschedule the budget. The court based its decision on the debt brake enshrined in the Basic Law. As Mark Copelovitch and Daniel Ziblatt show in their analysis, its austerity dictates are not only an obstacle to economic development, but also a threat to democracy in Germany and Europe.

Influence from the far right

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Thumpnail Christin Jänicke und Jonas Gunzelmann

How do right-wing extremist groups try to gain a foothold in civil society? In the research project "Organised civil society and right-wing interventions", Christin Jänicke and Hans Jonas Gunzelmann are investigating right-wing strategies and the reactions of associations, initiatives, and organizations to them. They talk about their project in a video interview.

What Makes People Want to Come to Germany

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Afrikanischer Mann bei der Arbeit
Media Lens King/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Are people fleeing from authoritarian states to Germany to seek democracy and freedom? Or is it rather about better economic prospects? Dario Portong reports results from a survey experiment in Senegal and the Gambia.

Lessons from Scandinavia

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Extreme Rechte Schweden
Augustin Le Gall/HAYTHAM-REA/laif

Far-right ideas are gaining ground in many places, as are far-right parties. Political forces in the center are faced with the challenge of shaping their policies in such a way that they can put a stop to this trend. Our guest researcher Sanna Salo has studied developments in Finland and Sweden and derives recommendations for the German situation.

How To “Democratize Democracy”

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Daniel Ziblatt by Annette Hornischer
Annette Hornischer

John Torpey, director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, interviewed WZB director Daniel Ziblatt about his book "How Democracies Die" (2019) and the recently published "The Tyranny of the Minority". Daniel Ziblatt discusses the need for profound changes in American institutions to "democratize democracy" and make it more resilient.

Kohli Prize for Sociology to Michèle Lamont

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Michéle Lamont
Nina Albin

This year’s Kohli Prize for Sociology by the Kohli Foundation for Sociology goes to Michèle Lamont (Harvard University). With her path-breaking comparative research on culture, social inequality and inclusion, she has made a significant imprint on sociological knowledge. The award ceremony will be hold at the WZB on 13 November 2024.