Centrifugal forces and trends of social disintegration threaten the stability of many societies, eat away at the authority of political orders and undermine prospects for promoting the common good. Centrifugal forces within society go hand in hand with the rise in authoritarianism, nationalism, populism, xenophobia and the challenging of global cooperation. At the heart of international discussion are the growing inequalities that characterise many societies. But centrifugal forces in social contexts go beyond the dynamics of socio-economic inequality. Poverty, state fragility, the delegitimisation of institutions, socio-economic vulnerabilities resulting from environmental change at local and global level, socio-cultural identity crises, the erosion of established value systems, and polarised power structures can weaken social cohesion and even trigger crises within societies.
DIE will initiate an international research and learning process in order to bring together at conceptual level existing fragments of knowledge on key dimensions of social cohesion. This process will be linked up with the research initiative “The World in 2050”.