The Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg) “World Society – Making and Representing the Global“ exists since 2003 and is currently in its third phase of funding. During the last six years 42 graduate students from various disciplines (sociology, political science, social anthropology, religious studies and historical science) have been accepted into the program. So far, 13 PhD-dissertations and several anthologies have been produced within the Research Training Group.
The Research Training Group takes as its point of departure the proposition that the last 200 years have brought forth a global connectivity – a “world society”, which constitutes an object of analysis in its own right. A central question of the Research Training Group is how and under which circumstances global structures have emerged and in which fashion they affect regional and local structures. This entails the assumption that all events, however local they may present themselves, must be analytically related to this global connectivity and, ideally, can be explained with recourse to the same. In order to examine the dynamics involved in the construction of the global two orthogonally related forms of societal differentiation are to be distinguished: Firstly, the functional differentiation of various specialized societal realms (economy, science, religion, politics, etc.); secondly, the differentiation of different levels of social organization (interaction, organizational systems, networks, world society).
The question regarding the making and representation of the global has three analytical foci:
- 1. Social microstructures: interaction-theoretical perspectives on the process of globalization;
- 2. Organizational systems and networks as bearers of processes of globalization;
- 3. Global semantics: the representation of globality.
The Research Training Group is part of the Institute for World Society Studies and integrated in the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), which is funded by the Initiative for Excellence of the German Research Foundation (DFG).