Department 'Integration and Conflict'

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Research Programme

Social actors, both groups and individuals, are integrated into social systems. This integration can happen by identification with others or by stressing differences with them and developing complementary relations. Also violent conflicts can be regarded as such social systems. Opponents may emulate each other’s strategies and symbols, or they may respond to each other with new, unanticipated strategies which may disregard rules of conduct and with which the other party cannot cope. In both cases one can speak of systemic integration.
Key concepts for the department's approach to integration and conflict are therefore the construction of identity and difference. These construction processes can be observed in different domains: kinship, friendship, language and history – commonly amalgamated to various forms of ‘ethnicity’ – and adherence to various complexes of rituals and beliefs, including corporate ‘religions’ in the modern sense. How decisions between alternative identifications are taken is modelled at the individual and supra-individual levels.

The department aims at worldwide comparisons.

Fields of practical application comprise, among others, conflict mediation and development policy advice.


News from the Department

Workshop Report 'Urban Precarity'

July 30, 2019

Outlining ‘Urban Precarity’
Cities have long been associated with economic, social, moral, and salutary precarity. By its very nature, urban life - where relative anonymity, physical proximity to strangers, reliance on money economies, and an ...

Agriculture in East Africa: Small Structures and Their Role in Biodiversity

June 13, 2019

On 20 and 21 June 2019 a conference with the title “Guardians of Productive Landscapes” will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI). It was organized as part of a research initiative of the same name, a cooperation that ...

Forced migration: few opportunities for the poor

May 16, 2019

A workshop entitled “Forced Migration, Exclusion, and Social Class” will take place at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI) on 23 and 24 May 2019. Participants will examine the ways that the prior economic and social background of ...

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Publications about the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’
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