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Research Units

Four Research Units (RU) study contestations, their causes, and their consequences, focusing on specific issues each script has to address: Borders, Orders, (Re-)Allocation and Temporality. Each of these four consists of multidisciplinary research teams, systematically cutting across disciplinary and epistemic boundaries.

Research Unit Borders

Borders determine who belongs to a group or society and who can be legitimately excluded. The liberal script grants a nation-state control over its borders while also limiting the extent to which it can be exercised. This control stands in an uneasy relationship with ideas of personal and economic freedom and mobility and, generally, universal human rights.

Research Unit Orders

Orders refer to the institutional core of the liberal script, which enables political and social coordination within a given society. This Research Unit addresses orders as principles and institutional arrangements that structure expectations and practice in social and political areas. These arrangements have an impact on social and political areas, such as the making of binding rules, policing and jurisprudence, economic exchange, and gender relations.

Research Unit (Re-)Allocation

The liberal script involves rules and goals for the (re-)allocation of goods and life chances in the face of social and material scarcities. The free market is assigned as the key mechanism of (re-)allocation, which results in uneven outcomes. The welfare states attempt to reduce these. Against this background, the Research Unit (Re-)Allocation investigates contestations, causes and consequences of unequal market outcomes and how they combine with other allocation pressures on the liberal script.

Research Unit Temporality

Understandings of temporality and of progress provide information on time scales, imaginations of transience and eternity, and the reproduction of social structure. Time, in the liberal view, moves linearly toward a future of progress, and it presumes that rational actors optimally allocate time to market and non-market activities. The Research Unit Temporality investigates challenges to the liberal notion of time and alternative notions of temporal horizons.