July 19, 2021

Science and practice as dialog

How can we think (social) science and practical experience together?

„What do we learn from practice?“ This question asked by the moderator Elisabeth von Thadden (newspaper Die ZEIT) on Friday, 9th of July 2021, prompted the discussion among guests on the final plenary. It marked the end of an exciting day, full of presentations, discussions and long talks in the hallways of our location, the Paradiescafé in Jena. Von Thadden’s question referred to the preceding dialogues with practitioners just before this final discussion, in which representatives of political projects, Sebastian Sladek (Elektrizitätswerk Schöner/ Power Stations Schönau) and Joanna Kusiak (Berliner Initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co/ Berlin Initiative of Expropriation German Living) among others, shared their practical experience with property. The question of who is „we“ in social science, which was implied in the initial question, was also raised by Jens Beckert (Max-Planck Institute of social research) – especially regarding the political power of science formulating an „us“. A first consensus resulted: we (as researchers of a social science) never work in a social vacuum, science is never independent from practice. Research and practice interact in and act as dialogues, in which scientific results and ideas are utilized and, by that, make future-oriented science possible. This also implies, that „we“ have to be aware of our responsibility as researchers. This thought, which was very present especially during the last session of the SFB opening event, will continue to inspire our work in the SFB and maybe lead to new projects, based on the future results.