Mercator Graduate Programme Open-Mindedness, Tolerance and Public Engagement at the University Duisburg-Essen

Welcome to the Gerhard Mercator Graduate Programme Open-mindedness, Tolerance and Public Engagement

Who are we?

We are an interdisciplinary research training group funded by the Stiftung Mercator foundation and based at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
In line with the foundation’s mission, we focus on Duisburg but from a transnational perspective.

Our collaboration is characterised by the diversity of our scientific perspectives (from the social and political sciences, socio-economics, philosophy, art and cultural studies, to psychology), our international backgrounds, and our divers professional experiences in culture, arts, political and social work.

What are we working on?

In democratic societies that are characterised by ethnic, religious and cultural diversification, the conditions necessary for social cohesion are constantly renegotiated and redefined.

Open-mindedness to new ideas, tolerance of others, and a sense of belonging are simultaneously central and controversial ideals. Who defines them? Who claims to represent them? Who demands adherence to them? Are they means to an ultimate goal, or ends in themselves? Are they just and accessible for all, or are they also used to foster hierarchizations and exclusions?  

These are some of the questions we seek to explore, with the ultimate goal of contributing new scientific ideas, methodologies, data, and interdisciplinary knowledge regarding what societies shaped by these ideals do and could look like.

How do we do this?

We perform our research not only in, but also with Duisburg in order to consider, uncover, and encourage a plurality of perspectives.

To this end, we are working to create mutually beneficial community-research partnerships with local not-for-profit and civil society actors, public institutions, research organisations, and the citizens of Duisburg themselves.

In this joint process, local actors can expand their expert knowledge using scientific methods and research perspectives, while the inclusion of citizens’ local expertise and knowledge contributes to our own research. This exchange is framed and supported by our international network.