About us

The Joint Institute for Conflict Analysis, Conflict Regulation and Civic Education (Concrede) was jointly founded by the Universities of Duisburg-Essen and Münster in 2023 to provide a common umbrella and forum for a variety of research projects and scholars from both universities who study conflicts in pluralist societies.

The researchers involved in Concrede come from the humanities, social sciences and education. They share a common interest in the theoretical and empirical analysis of conflicts in contemporary pluralist societies and in possible ways of regulating them. Concrede focusses specifically on institutions and processes of socialisation and education, since both are understood as sites of the (re)production of conflict, but also as possible points of intervention for conflict regulation.

The establishment of Concrede as a virtual institute is intended to facilitate interdisciplinary and inter-university cooperations and to make research results more widely accessible to the public.

Democratic Education

Democratic education faces new, unprecedented challenges under conditions of deep (ontological, normative and epistemic) disagreement. The question of how to prepare future generations for democratic coexistence arises differently and with renewed urgency in these settings of deep disagreement. In its broadest sense democratic education enables future generations to participate in democratic decision-making processes. But what can and what should this kind of democratic education look like under conditions of agonistic plurality?

Concrede will explore such questions in close collaboration between the humanities and the social and educational sciences. We want to study the institutions and processes of socialisation and education and their role in the production, reproduction and transformation of agonistic plurality.

Educational institutions provide key contexts in which plurality, but also agonality, is experienced and (re)produced. They are also the settings in which future generations will be enabled to cope with this agonistic plurality, to negotiate disagreements and resolve conflicts.

Concrede aims to arrive at a better understanding how primary and secondary schools. We study school’s potentially integrative function as a social institution through which all future citizens must pass. Research and the transfer of knowledge are seen as closely linked: Our aim is to provide key concepts for teacher education and training.

Agonistic Plurality: Deep disagreements and fundamental conflicts as a social, political and educational challenge to pluralist societies

The collaborative research initiative “Agonistic Plurality – AgonPlur” studies the dynamic interrelationship between conflict, conflict regulation and civic education. Our guiding premise is the following: deep ontological, normative, and epistemic disagreements and the fundamental conflicts that arise from them constitute a major challenge for contemporary pluralist societies. AgonPlur therefore seeks to gain a better understanding of such disagreements and their potentially conflictive nature.

Three key questions are to be investigated theoretically and empirically and in close interdisciplinary cooperation between the two universities:  

  1. How and under what conditions do deep ontological, normative, or epistemic disagreements arise in different pluralist societies and how do they change over time?
  2. How and under what conditions do such deep disagreements result in fundamental conflicts?
  3. How and why are such conflicts waged and regulated in a variety of ways, and what are the consequences of such variance?

In answering these three questions, we particularly focus on the institutions and processes of socialization and education. Assuming that intergenerational relations are of crucial importance to the conflict dynamic(s) of plurality we ask: How are intuitions of socialization and education involved in producing, reproducing and transforming agonistic plurality? And (how) do intergenerational relations impact these dynamics?

Cultures of Compromise

Compromises do not come easy. In today’s political climate, the compromise has lost significant parts of its reputation as one of the most basic and arguably most successful techniques of conflict regulation. Painful concessions are a pivotal component of successful compromises. Acceptance is needed, too, that the conflict will not disappear, though the compromise will provide a temporary respite to the conflict dynamics (Schneider, Willems, Fischer, “Kompromisse Machen,” 2023). The interdisciplinary joint research project “Cultures of Compromise” explores the socio-economic, politico-legal, and cultural preconditions for compromise in different contexts, societies, cultures, and epochs. Starting from an analysis of contemporary Western societies, we examine the conditions for compromise from a variety of angles, including historical comparisons and cultural comparisons. Historical and contemporary scenarios in Israel and Japan, for instance, are addressed as contrastive cultural and societal case studies. Combining the fields of history, political science, law, communication science and literary studies, among others, this interdisciplinary research project brings together more than 30 researchers from the universities of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Münster (UM) and Bochum (RUB).

In the project, researchers use their diverse disciplinary backgrounds to study successful and failed compromises in a range of particularly relevant contexts, cultures, and epochs. Without doubt, compromise is one of the most important and effective techniques of conflict regulation across time and space. But this technique was and is used in a large variety of ways, and it is not consistently employed. It also does not feature prominently in all contexts. And even where compromise is employed, the question of whether it is helpful, appropriate or desirable is often highly contested. Therefore, the project asks: How and under which circumstances is it possible to reach a compromise? What exactly distinguishes a compromise from related concepts such as consensus or deal? What are the prerequisites of compromises, especially successful ones? What are the individual, collective, structural, institutional, socio-economic, politico-legal and cultural conditions that enable, disable or even prevent compromise? Under which circumstances does the willingness to compromise thrive; and when and why does it erode? What are the limits of compromise? 

These and related questions are studied in a systematic and interdisciplinary manner incorporating both diachronic and intercultural comparativist perspectives. The project thus generates new knowledge about the forms and preconditions of compromise as a pivotal social and political technique. The acquisition of this knowledge is especially important given the allegedly declining willingness and ability to compromise in contemporary pluralist democratic societies. Three output-oriented goals of the project additionally guide our activities. We will:

  • generate knowledge that is directly applicable
  • develop formats of problem-oriented science communication and knowledge transfer
  • provide concrete expertise and research results to policymakers and the general public