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Social Contract in the 21st Century

ARRS CodeP6-0400

Period: 1. 1. 2020 – 31. 12. 2027

Head of research programmeKsenija Vidmar Horvat, PhD

This program investigates transformations of the key modern interpretative philosophical, sociological and communication/media studies models of citizenship, membership and belonging as derived from the notion of social contract. Social contract is a key Enlightenment legacy of legal, political and social basis of the relationship between the individual and society. In contemporary society, as explored by the research group in the previous period, many of the Enlightenment foundations have been challenged.

In the next research period, the program adds to the research of the fate of the social contract the specific context of the “European contract”, that is a contract about the unified Europe after the crises (financial, refugee, Brexit). The post-crisis development is illuminated in (1) regional (post-Yugoslav, post-socialist) space; (2) in relation to the most recent theories of revival of democratic social development; and (3) with the help of concrete empirical research of the role of media, art and popular response to the crises.

The work packages (WP) include: WP1: Post-crisis condition and postsocialist European contract. WP2 Media, public culture and the contract WP2a: Mediatization of memory WP2b Cultural consumption and symblic bonds of class distinctions: WP2c: Publics, algorithms and popular genres WP4: Post-crisis Enlightenment morality The Program group is committed to developing the research agenda on the future of the society in the 21st century by bridging theoretical debates that usually are separated by disciplinary boundaries in humanities and social sciences. The key point of departure is that the understanding and modelling of the social contract of the 21st century needs to include the perspective of historical deconstruction of modern social contract (or to use the method of conceptual history, according to Habermas) while aiming to explain its articulation in relation to multiple social subsystems. This research program responds to this theoretical challenge with the method of socio-historical analysis of civil society and the past trends that have developed around a common core of solidarity and social equality –, together with the models of inclusion and empowerment of disadvantaged social voices groups. The emphasis is on media, art and literature.