Sociological studies at the Latin American Institute are framed by two overarching thematic discussions: the questioning of presenting Latin America through modernization theoretical lenses; and understanding the complexities surrounding the social construction of power and difference. With these in mind, research at LAI covers:
Latin America as a participant in global society
The department of sociology at the Latin American Institute is currently engaged in the following research projects and networks funded by third parties:
The Mecila – Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America examines past and present forms of social, political, and cultural conviviality in Latin America and the Caribbean. It employs conviviality as an analytical concept to describe ways of living together in specific contexts characterized by diversity and inequality. It is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from April 2017 until March 2020.
The Brazil Research Center is an interdisciplinary center hosted by the Latin American Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin. The research center focuses on cultural and social science activities are research projects examining Brazil in its global context.
Sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the International Graduate Programme ‘Between Spaces: Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation’ opens up new perspectives on globalisation research in the social sciences and humanities. By developing a dialogue between disciplines and diverse scholarly traditions in Germany and Mexico, the research program seeks to contribute to the reorientation of Area Studies as a transnational and interdisciplinary field of study. The primary foci of the Programme are movements between various regions of the world and the new spaces that have arisen over past and present stages of globalisation.
The RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms wishes to establish new ways of studying and understanding the cosmopolitan project against and beyond its Eurocentric legacies. It attempts to overcome a divide that characterises cosmopolitan thought between ‘major’ sociological and philosophical readings of cosmopolitanism as either “actually existing” or normative ideal. The RTG straddles both perspectives by investigating cosmopolitanisms as emerging in a plurality of locally embedded representational and performative practices. Attention to such practices encourages us to think beyond the schism between cultural relativism and humanist universalism, as they combine visions of transcultural justice, peace and conviviality with an ethical commitment to difference and alterity. As such they bring into being cosmopolitanisms in a ‘minor’ mode unforeseen by dominant scripts and creating new subject positions within hegemonic discourses.
The RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms started in 2016 as a collaboration between Universität Potsdam, Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
A very important part of the research projects at the department of sociology at the Latin American Institute are its current dissertation projects. Please find a list of these projects here.
The project Fair Fuels? addresses the question of whether biofuels can be produced and used in a socio-ecologically compatible manner, and looks at the socio-ecological impacts that derive from their production and promotion at present.
The project team consists of junior scientists and researchers, all of whom are pursuing further academic qualification (doctorate, postdoctorate).The project, initiated and led by the IÖW, is sponsored within the framework of the socio-ecological research programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Project Management: Latin American Institute, Kristina Dietz
The project explores the relation between social movements, the public sphere and law. It enters a new area of research in so far as the literature still assumes a dualism between “rule” and “unrule” of law. This dualism is based on a reductionist understanding of the state of law, on which the current relationships between social movements and law can't be explained. On the contrary, this project anticipates internal cohesion between law and political public sphere, where social movements function as a catalyst for the introduction of new topics to the public debate. Funding: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brasil) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (MINcy, Argentina). Head of the project: Prof. Dr. Sérgio Costa
desiguALdades.net is an interdisciplinary, international, and multi-institutional research network on social inequalities in Latin America supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) in the frame of its funding line on area studies. The Lateinamerika-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin (LAI, Institute for Latin American Studies of the Free University of Berlin) and the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (IAI, Ibero-American Institute of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Berlin) are in overall charge of the research network. The duration of the project is from December 2009 to November 2013.