PhD-Project on truth and knowledge in contemporary politics - Glorianne Wilkins, M.A.
My thesis engages within the theoretical disciplines of feminist and political epistemology, standpoint theory, and political philosophy. As increasing social division and political disintegration seem to threaten previously held conceptions of social and political progress, the deeply polarized landscape of truth and knowledge in contemporary politics has come into greater focus. Not only has the post-truth era unearthed the epistemological question of what is it to know, and how we know, but it has shaken confidence in our ability to collectively identify what counts as true, or a good reason. Proclaimed universal values such as democracy, truth, and justice waiver in their ability to unite decision makers, instead becoming conceptual weapons wielded by all sides. As such, I am interested in considering the nature of our unquestioned assumptions as it relates to truth and knowledge within contemporary politics, and subsequently how this informs the way in which we think about and respond to our greatest societal challenges. Throughout my thesis I explore the nature of our individual and collective attachments to certainty, and consider how we might confront the limits of what we know in order to develop better tools to make sense of an endlessly complex political world.
PhD-Project on energy justice - Rabea Scholz, M.A.
My dissertation research begins with a theoretical critique of the existing discourse on energy justice. On this basis, I have built my own principles for an application-oriented energy justice theory. Continuing, I will explore the development of the justice discourse (i.e. climate justice in relation to public health, social justice or tax justice) and which justice current is particularly relevant in Germany. Based on this, I will investigate how the justice discourse in Germany has shifted, especially in the crisis years 2021 and 2022, to find out to what extent the perception of justice in social issues shifts with changing crisis focus. In particular, due to the currently prevailing energy crisis, questions of justice in the energy transition stand out more clearly than ever. Therefore, it is my concern to implement theory into practice as well and to develop recommendations for policy-making in Germany.
PhD-Project on citizen participation in climate policy decision-making processes in metropolitan areas - Janina Walkenhorst, M.A.
In her PhD project, Janina Walkenhorst is investigating the influence of citizen participation on climate policy decision-making processes in metropolitan areas. First, she deals with the normative conception of "good" citizen participation in relation to climate policy, which is situated around the interplay of democratic legitimacy, effective measures, and the emergence of social acceptance. A particular focus is on deliberative participation formats. Furthermore, Janina analyzes the input legitimacy of these participation formats by looking at different approaches to representation in addition to the objective. The questions are: According to which criteria are citizens represented? Who is responsible for weighting the decisions? How is an independent decision-making guaranteed? Furthermore, the interlinkage of citizens’ recommendations evolving from the citizen participation projects to politics & administration as well as the reciprocal effects on legitimacy and acceptance are also included.