Three Thomas Mann Fellows from the WZB

Thirteen selected Thomas Mann Fellows will address questions of democracy and vulnerability in 2024 - in the middle of the US election year. We at the WZB are very pleased that three fellows from the WZB are participating: the researchers Pola Lehmann, Johannes Gerschewski and Dieter Gosewinkel. Together with 10 other fellows from academia, culture and the media, they will exchange ideas on the priority topic "Democracy and Vulnerability" at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles next year.

For several years now, Fellows have been moving every year to the former home of Thomas Mann's family, which was acquired by the Federal Foreign Office in November 2016. The programme aims to provide space and freedom for personalities from culture, science, business, politics and the media to address pressing social issues. One focus in 2024 is on vulnerability within democracies.

Pola Lehmann, research associate at the Center for Civil Society Research, and Johannes Gerschewski, research associate at the Department of Global Governance, examine in their project how the value of compromise has evolved. Public debates seem increasingly polarised, the willingness to explore compromises is low. At the same time, political preferences seem increasingly morally charged; the conviction to take the "right" position over the "wrong" one seems to be taking the place of the willingness to work out actionable compromises. The two researchers investigate to what extent this impression can be empirically proven. And in an interdisciplinary series of events with activists and actors from art and culture, they are sounding out where the limits of compromise are.

Dieter Gosewinkel, Senior Researcher at the Global Constitutionalism Research Chair, is pursuing a publication project on the topic "Expatriation and Killing. The exclusion of "enemies of the state" from the legal community as a problem of US democracy". The topic - quite controversial in the US - concerns the vulnerability of democracy from within: the abandonment of its rule-of-law core in favour of a hoped-for gain in security. He examines the extent to which democracies differ from dictatorships in their adherence to the law in combating "enemies of the state".

Other Fellows are the legal scholar Susanne Baer, the sociologist Sabine Hark and the philosopher Rahel Jaeggi, the journalist Aida Baghernejad, the author and journalist Theresia Enzensberger, the author Julia Franck, the author and journalist Ciani-Sophia Hoeder, the author and moderator Friedemann Karig, the communication scholar Ulrike Klinger and the communication and political scientist Andrea Römmele.


Portraitfotos von Pola Lehmann, Johannes Gerschewksi und Dieter Gosewinkel
David Ausserhofer

The three fellows: (f.l.t.r.): Pola Lehmann, Johannes Gerschewski and Dieter Gosewinkel

Find the press release of the Thomas Mann House