Das TC Gebäude bei Nacht.

Past events

Transition Impossible? Ambiguous Transformations and the Resilience of Unsustainability”

From 19th till the 21rst of September the Institute for Social Change and Sustainability organized an international research workshop on the issue of “Transition Impossible? Ambiguous Transformations and the Resilience of Unsustainability". In this wake we discussed and analyzed different systemic, individual and historical factors that inhibit a socio-ecological transformation in western, liberal and representative democracies despite the fact that since several decades the diagnosis of multiple crises have grown increasingly grim (climate change, loss of biodiversity, increasing social inequalities, shrinking acceptance of democracy etc.). In contrast, we can observe signals of a persisting and sustainable unsustainability within our societies: from the thriving right-wing populism, to the mere symbolical and simulative climate diplomacy and the neoliberal responsibilization of the individual. Beyond the participation of the Members of the IGN and the Department of Socio Economics (IGN) from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) we had as guests leading scholars from Canada, Sweden, Italy, Great Britain, Spain and many more. As part of the workshop we furthermore had two public evening events with lectures from Karin Bäckstrand (Stockholm University, „Ambiguous Transformations: Governance, Democracy and Sweden’s Transition towards the First Fossil-Free Welfare State in the World”) and Ingolfur Blühdorn (Head of the IGN, „The Resilience of Unsustainability: Cultural Backlash, Authoritarian Reflex and the Great Regression“) which were then discussed on a panel and with the public present.

Marc Hudson (University of Manchester) has commented extensively on his blog:



His comments and conclusions give a very fine impression of what was discussed along the panels and which knowledge gaps were defined to guide any further research on the issues.

“Political Participation beyond the Post-democratic Turn”

The Research Workshop “Political Participation beyond the Post-democratic Turn” took place on 27th-29th September 2017 at the Institute for Social Change and Sustainability. The assistants analysed from different points of view the changing significance of participation under the keywords “Activation – Self-Management – Overload”. As special guests participated Dirk Jörke (TU-Darmstadt), David Schlosberg (Univ. of Sidney), John M. Meyer (Humboldt State University, Arcata/California), Sherilyn MacGregor (Univ. of Manchester), Frank Fischer (Rutgers, New Jersey, Humboldt University, Berlin), Erik Swyngedouw (Univ. of Manchester), Frank Nullmeier (Univ. Bremen), Michael Haus (Univ. Heidelberg), Mark Brown (California State University).

In line with this Research Workshop, two public events were hold at the end of September, organized by the WU Institute for Social Change and Sustainability (IGN) and the WU Competence Center for Sustainability. Please find here further information.

Video Legitimation Crisis of Democracy

Legitimation Crisis of Democracy

Prof. Ingolfur Blühdorn

Video Democracy and Sustainability

Democracy and Sustainability

Prof. Frank Fischer