Re-Thinking Community

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The conference “Re-Thinking Community“ aims to provide the first critical examination of the knowledge on mechanisms and dynamics of community formation that exists in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and it intends to develop perspectives for respectful and peaceful ways of living with others regardless of ethnicity, religion, skin colour, gender, and age.

Within the past three decades, the concept of community has become an object of research in a great variety of disciplines, ranging from Philosophy and Theology to Sociology, Disability Studies, Political Science, Anthropology/Ethnology, Cultural Studies, Psychology, Gender Studies, and History onto Literature, Fine Arts, and Film Studies. However, so far no attempt has been made to consider the produced knowledge in relation to one another and develop a transdisciplinary understanding of community.

The conference “Re-Thinking Community” intends to offer a multi-perspective survey of the state of the art of contemporary community research. Renowned national and international scholars shall outline and critically discuss the knowledge that exists in their respective fields of research with regard to the definition and development, forms, functions and dynamics as well as representations of community. Through intensive cross-disciplinary dialogue, the conference wants to foster the development of a transdisciplinary approach to community research and lay the foundations of a systematic theory of community.

Apart from the theoretical-scientific reflection on the concept of community, the conference will give room to the presentation and critical discussion of concrete community projects that experiment with alternative ways of living together. These include global socio-ecological projects, just like national forms of community organizing, and local examples of neighbourhood development. The community projects will present their work mainly on a “Fair of Possibilities” that accompanies the conference. The Fair will showcase a variety of ways in which people can become actively involved in the development of their communities, and it will prompt researchers, activists, and citizens to discuss the daily challenges of community organizing.

By inviting distinguished community scholars and activists to Dresden, the German city that has recently developed into a center for populist and nationalist forces like the Islamophobic movement “Pegida” shall give a powerful impetus for a new thinking of community beyond the trivial and potentially dangerous logic of Self versus Other, inclusion versus exclusion.  


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Bettina Jansen
Last modified: Jul 19, 2017