Claus Leggewie to Investigate Sustainability in Politics as IASS Senior Fellow

Claus Leggewie © KWI/Volker WiciokClaus Leggewie © KWI/Volker Wiciok

Politicians have only a few decades to put into action the kinds of policies that will steer us towards a sustainable future. Swift reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to mitigate climate change, and ambitious nature conservation plans need to be implemented to keep biodiversity loss to a minimum. Large private and public debts are increasingly giving rise to ‘debt brakes’. “These examples show how the structural tasks usually assigned to politics, which previously boiled down to redistributions among different social classes and regions, have now gained a temporal dimension, which is encapsulated in the concept of ‘intergenerational justice’”, explained social scientist Claus Leggewie. “Time and Sustainability” is one of the issues he will explore as a Senior Fellow at the IASS from 1 September 2017.

As a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI Essen) until 2017, Claus Leggewie has engaged intensively with sustainability issues. He first discovered the field of ‘political ecology’ as a student in Paris in the 1970s and has been true to it ever since, as evidenced most recently by the establishment of the Climate and Culture research area at the KWI. Together with IASS Scientific Director Patrizia Nanz, Leggewie published the book Die Konsultative. Mehr Demokratie durch Bürgerbeteiligung (The Consultative. More Democracy through Citizen Participation) in 2016. In a planned new edition both authors want to delve more deeply into the issue of ‘future councils’.

Leggewie’s fellowship at the IASS is initially foreseen for one year with the option of extending it for a further year. During his time at the institute, he will contribute to IASS projects on democracy and participation, give presentations, and organise workshops.