Reconciling society and individuals

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The sociologist Prof. Hartmut Rosa receives the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize
The sociologist Prof. Hartmut Rosa receives the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2023. Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)

The world is in an economic-ecological pincer crisis: economic growth as we know it from the past is no longer possible without further exacerbating the catastrophic ecological consequences. Conversely, climate protection and the conservation of natural resources require the abandonment of previous economic and transport concepts. What the society of the future can look like under these conditions in harmony with humankind and how best to get there is the subject of research by Hartmut Rosa of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The renowned sociologist can now carry out his research with greater financial ease: The German Research Foundation (DFG) will provide him with 2.5 million euros over the next seven years, which he can use flexibly. Rosa is one of the ten researchers who will receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2023, as the DFG announced today.

Top researcher with international public appeal

"I congratulate Hartmut Rosa on this important prize and am delighted for him. He is one of the world’s most respected sociologists, who successfully communicates his research results to the general public beyond the realm of academia," said Walter Rosenthal, President of the University of Jena. "I am sure that Hartmut Rosa will use the funding associated with the Leibniz Prize in a most productive and fruitful way," the President continued.

"The prize is as much a pleasure as it is an honour for me," says Hartmut Rosa. "I see it as an award for the good work that all the staff and colleagues at the Theory Department and the entire Institute of Sociology at the University of Jena, but also at the Max Weber College in Erfurt, have done in recent years. And I want to put all my energy into finding ways for a better human future with the help of the funding".

Of social acceleration, resonance and ownership

Hartmut Rosa has been Professor of General and Theoretical Sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena since 2005 and has also been Director of the Max Weber College at the University of Erfurt since 2013. He is also the spokesperson for the DFG Collaborative Research Centre TRR 294 "Structural Change of Property", which brings together social science research at both institutions and extends it to other disciplines. "This is not only about the distribution of income and wealth, but about a variety of topics, such as the ownership of data, of gene sequences, of global resources up to the wind and raw materials on the moon, the question of who owns the city, or whether bodily organs can be property," Hartmut Rosa names some of the current research topics.

The research and publications of the 57-year-old scientist, especially on social acceleration or dynamic stabilisation of modern societies and on a sociology of world relations or the concept of resonance, have been translated into numerous languages. His voice has gained international attention both in the academic discussion and in an interdisciplinary and public context that goes far beyond this. His theories and theses are now themselves the subject of academic discourse.

And Rosa is also active beyond sociology. For example, he is a co-signatory of the Jena Declaration for Sustainability and supports the establishment of the Future Centre for German Unity and European Transformation in Jena.

Second Leibniz Prize goes to Jena

A second Leibniz Prize 2023 was awarded to the chemist and biologist Sarah Ellen O’Connor, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena and Honorary Professor of Biosynthesis Chemistry at the University of Jena.

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize has been awarded annually by the DFG since 1986. Up to ten prizes can be awarded each year, each with a prize sum of 2.5 million euros. To date, a total of 398 Leibniz Prizes have been awarded to 425 researchers. There are currently five other prize winners at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

The ceremonial awarding of the Leibniz Prizes 2023 will take place on 15 March 2023 in Berlin.