ZiF Research Group

Genetic and Social Causes of Life Chances

Zur kulturellen Produktivität der Schuld


Convenors: Martin Diewald (Bielefeld, GER), Rainer Riemann (Bielefeld, GER)

Current Events

28 January
Public Online Lecture

Gendering Social Citizenship: The embodied politics of 'Insistent Presence'

Christopher-Rasheem McMillan (Iowa City, USA)

28 - 30 January
ZiF Workshop

Video conference: Momentum of its own
Inherent Dynamism in Pre-Modern Societies

Franz-Josef Arlinghaus (Bielefeld, GER), Andreas Rüther (Bielefeld, GER), Jörg Quenzer (Hamburg, GER)


New Series in the ZiF's Blog

How will/should the world change? The corona crisis as an interdisciplinary challenge

International Contributions


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Coronavirus – How is Bielefeld University dealing with it?


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What is the ZiF?

The ZiF is Bielefeld University's Institute for Advanced Study and fosters outstanding and innovative interdisciplinary research projects. The ZiF is an independent thematically open research institution and is open to scholars from all disciplines and all countries.

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From the Research and Cooperation Groups


Global Contestations of Women's and Gender Rights


The research group's fundamental assumption is that human rights and equality principles have never been universal, never inclusive – despite the promise made by the political revolutions before and after 1800. By contrast, gender has been globally reinforced as a category of social inequality. The divide between legally guaranteed equality principles and the empirical continuation of gender inequality is the starting point of the work programme. However, the research object is the global transformation of the notion and semantics of rights into a shared 'language of contestation'. The research group will examine how the presumed normative consensus about equality principles has become disputable recently in various nationalist political contexts using the example of three empirical arenas in which the contestation of equality principles is particularly manifest: (1) the gendered division of labour, (2) religion, and (3) gendered citizenship regimes and sexual rights.



Statistical Models for Psychological and Linguistic Data


The goal of the cooperation group is to investigate and further develop a series of statistical methods that are now available for (a) the analysis of experimental and psychometric data from psychology and psycholinguistics, (b) the modeling of linguistic distributional data, and, possibly going beyond these domains, (c) the analyses of genome-wide associations. The methods in focus are (generalized) linear mixed models [(G)LMMs], generalized additive (mixed) models [GA(M)Ms], and multivariate (generalized) mixed models [MV(G)MMs]. These statistical methods deal with inferential statistical problems that arise from dependencies between, for example, measures on the same subjects or the same items in psycholinguistic experiments or, again as an example beyond the core domains, the same nucleotides in the genome (i.e., within-unit correlations).



Governance, Incentives, and the Quality of Knowledge


The cooperation group explores the interaction between economic incentives, institutional features, and epistemic aspirations of science. It brings together economics, sociology, and philosophy of science and seeks to investigate, in particular, the interrelatedness between the social conditions under which science operates and the nature and content of the knowledge produced. Major topical areas concern the incentives operative in the scientific community and their impact on the research process, the influence of social and economic demands, as imposed on research by society, on the research outcomes, and strategies for producing practically fruitful, innovative outcomes. The cooperation group traces the interrelation between the social framework, for one, and the cognitive content of the knowledge gained and the procedures of confirmation invoked, for another.


Current Publications

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Call for Applications
Norbert Elias Fellowships 2021/22