Research Field: Transformation

Climate change, globaliszation, new work and organiszational models, Big Data: According to the general perception, society is in a state of permanent transformation. How can transformations be identified, described, analyszed and ultimately shaped, inasmuch as we are inevitably also within the transformations despite all the observation?
What is transformation under the condition of permanent disruption? What conditions favour it, who sets the criteria for a successful transformation? Which social conflicts, which different values and objectives accompany these processes or result from them?
Beyond common dichotomies of before and after and in conscious dissociation from restrictive paradigms such as "innovation" or "crisis", Leuphana researchers are addressing transformation as a sui generis phenomenon - as a signature of the present.

According to this thesis, the future viability of societies depends crucially on their ability to reflect on and manage transformation. Leuphana, which is committed to action orientation in its mission statement, would like to contribute to sustainability by sounding out possibilities for successful transformation. The basis for Leuphana's ability to address the topic of transformation in its entirety is provided by the research foci such as sustainability, digitality, democracy, and governance and educational processes, which are supported by research centrers.

[Translate to Englisch:] Video Konferenz ©Leuphana / Marvin Sokolis
[Translate to Englisch:] Tagungansprache ©Leuphana - Patrizia Jäger
[Translate to Englisch:] Konferenz ©Leuphana / Patrizia Jaeger

Participating institutions

In the Leuphana research centres, specific forms of transformation represent a central object of investigation:

Center for Digital Cultures

The current permanent transformation in the field of digital media technologies is particularly impressive. Digitisation is resulting in a multitude of media and process transformations. In this dynamic field, researchers at the Center for Digital Cultures are concerned with the emergence of new cultural practices of socio-technical coexistence.

Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation

The Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation, which is jointly managed with Arizona State University, analyses the socio-ecological, cultural and epistemological foundations of sustainability as a cultural transformation in a complex, globalised world.

Center for the Study of Democracy

The Center for the Study of Democracy focuses on the analysis of democratic structures and governance processes in politics, society, the economy and the environment. The core topic of research is questions of the legitimacy of democracies as well as the change in values under the conditions of ongoing social transformation processes.

Digital Transformation Research Center

The Digital Transformation Research Center is dedicated to the challenges of digitisation in organisations, business and society. Most of the interdisciplinary projects are carried out together with partners from business and society.

Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning

How can transdisciplinary knowledge processes for sustainable development be set up and supported? The Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning investigates whether and to what extent education and knowledge have an influence on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Future Centre of Teacher Education

The Future Center for Teacher Education conducts research on the challenges of teacher education under the conditions of increasing social complexity. This includes not least the question of knowledge of and about transformation. How can teacher education be continuously improved in the face of social change and new challenges? The Centre develops, analyses and refines existing and new teaching models

Shaping transformation

Actors from social practice participate in Leuphana's transformation research. The "Utopia Conference", which took placein 2018 for the first time in 2018, brought together researchers and interested parties to develop visions of the future that point beyond the growth society and enable democratic innovations. In the project "Zukunftsstadt Lüneburg 2030+" (Future City of Lüneburg 2030+), Leuphana researchers are working with 200 partners in the field* to develop sustainable solutions for mobility, demographic development and resource-saving energy production.

As a university in and with society, Leuphana wants to take on the urgent challenges of the present and contribute to the sustainability of societies with its research and education.


Vice President for Research

Prof. Dr. Erich Hörl
Universitätsallee 1, C5.302
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-2760