State, economy and society

The increasing speed of social change is of central importance in the modern world. In an age of globalization this acceleration has led to social changes which have shaken the foundations of national law and economic systems, and have put in question the claim of democratic constitutional governments to be the sole legitimate model of political order in the modern world; traditional institutions of social existence have undergone change; even in the everyday world, the individual has new and wider opportunities for social contacts - which at the same time increase the danger of new cultural conflicts.

These processes of change also put in question what had previously been considered self-evident truths – truths which in many disciplines had played an important role in reaching new insights. When, for instance, national economies increasingly merge with the global economy, when national law is limited and impinged upon by international law, when national states unite to form larger units and thus give up their sovereignty, then academic fields which deal with the economy, law and the state cannot remain unaffected.

In the field of support entitled "State, Economy, and Society", the Fritz Thyssen Foundation is especially interested in supporting projects which investigate the preconditions leading to and the results arising from this process of change in modern societies. Emphasis is placed on projects which can be assigned to the fields of economics, law, politics, sociology and ethnology, but research in other areas of the social sciences can also be considered. The Foundation supports projects which make productive use of a variety of methods and which have a comparative orientation, as well as projects which deal with Europe or which include Europe in a more comprehensive view. Of special interest are projects which lie at the meeting point of several disciplines.

The Foundation supports projects with a clearly empirical focus as well as those with a primarily theoretical approach.