SPP 1448 Worskhop Contemporary Evidence-Making, the Past and the Future it Implicates

Berlin, 14.07.2017


Re:Work, Humbold Universität zu Berlin

Georgenstraße 23,

10099 Berlin


Programme for Friday, 14th July 2017

Alan Finlayson (LRB, 18 May 2017) writes: “Modern democracy was an answerr to a social and political problem. If they were to function at all, complex mass societies needed to produce information and knowledge about their territories, their resources and themselves. They needed to get that knowledge to the right places, make sure it was understood and then use it to form and implement decisions. Sociology, econometrics, demography, epidemiology – fields of expertise of the sort now derided by both the public and politicians – were part of that. They helped to predict future social problems and could inform political decisions about what should be done in the present to allay them. [italics RR] At the same time, mass democratic institutions such as trade unions, political parties, regional authorities, civic universities and local and national newspapers could generate information and knowledge about local situations and conditions, what could be done to improve things, what was and wasn’t working, and could make it known and intelligible to others. They could also scrutinize information and ideas so that decisions might be given legitimacy and, more important, be effectively implemented by people who understood them. Democratic institutions were, in this way, a means of forming, extending and governing our collective intelligence. That, at least, was the theory.”


This workshop aims to work out some aspects that underscore that this was the theory and not the practice, and what the issues are that have perhaps changed at the turn to the 21st century.





10-11 h

15 Participants x 3 Minutes = 45 à 60 Minutes Science Slam (presentation of the most urgent research questions everyone is working on in view of Evidence-Making, the Past and the Future it Implicates)


11-12 h

Forming discussion-groups A, B, C


12-13 h

Repetition within the groups (7minutes talks)

13-14:30 h Lunch Break


14:30-15:30 h

Group A


15:30-16:30 h

Group B


16:30-17:30 h

Group C


17:30-18:00 h

Coffee Break


18:00-19:00 h

Plans, strategies, how to move on…



Richard Rottenburg, 6 July 2017