Corona protests: Spiritual motives or existential woes?

Scholars shed light on different Corona protests in Germany and France – Panel discussion “Pandemic, Freedom, State” in Paris on 10 May – Participation also via Zoom – Organized by German Historical Institute, Goethe Institute and Cluster of Excellence

Prof. Dr. Silke Mende
© Uni MS

Press release from 04 May 2023

Spiritual motives in Germany, existential woes in France – according to researchers, the Corona protests had very different motivations in the two countries. Lockdowns, masks and vaccination campaigns sparked very different cultures of protest and perceptions of where the problems lay. This is the subject of a Franco-German panel discussion titled “Pandemic, Freedom, State” that will take place in Paris on 10 May. The panel is organized by the German Historical Institute Paris (GHIP), together with the Goethe Institute Paris, and the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster. Participation is also possible online after registering in Zoom.

“The difference in the Corona protests raises the question of differences in how the two societies understand the state and freedom, and points to different traditions and historical experiences”, says GHIP Director Prof. Dr. Thomas Maissen. “This is what we want to talk about in the panel discussion”. Modern historian Prof. Dr. Silke Mende from the Cluster of Excellence adds: “But we also have to ask ourselves whether there were different presuppositions in the two countries. Were the spiritual motives of the protesters perhaps ignored in France? And why were they so strongly foregrounded in Germany, while social imbalances were often downplayed?”

Prof. Dr. Thomas Maissen
© Sébastien Borda

The panel will include sociologist Nadine Frei (Basel), modern historian Silke Mende from the Cluster of Excellence in Münster, political scientist Yann Raison du Cleuziou (Bordeaux), historian of religion Helmut Zander (Fribourg), and religious scholar Valentine Zuber (Paris). Moderator will be GHIP Director Thomas Maissen.

The event will take place in French, with simultaneous interpretation being planned. Participation in Paris is possible without prior registration; online participation is possible after registering in Zoom. The discussion evening is part of the annual theme “Religious Dynamics” at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”. (vvm/fbu)