Profile Area Orders & Transformations

Mission Statement

The Profile Area Global Orders and Societal Transformations, in short Orders & Transformations, analyzes societal structures/orders and the upheavals that arise when existing structures no longer meet altered circumstances. It conducts interdisciplinary research on the dynamics and contradictions of modern societies using a combination of normative and empirical approaches.

Profile Area Spokespersons

The Profile Area 'Orders & Transformations' deals with the urgent social problems of our time. To me, working in this Profile Area is extremely exciting, since I am able to gain scientific insights into issues affecting us all. Analyzing these big issues requires interdisciplinary collaboration and the combination of different methods and insights.

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln (Macroeconomics and Development),
Spokesperson of the Profile Area Orders & Transformations

“Where, if not at our university, which enjoys worldwide renown in this field, should empirically and normatively profound research be conducted into how and by what means the orders in which we live are changing? Doing so requires advanced research that combines different disciplines and thereby arrives at new questions and answers. I want to contribute to this effort, not least because I learn a lot in the process."

Rainer Forst (Political Theory and Philosophy),
Spokesperson of the Profile Area Orders & Transformations


Key Research Areas


The Profile Area "Orders & Transformations" analyzes societal structures/orders and the upheavals that occur when existing structures can no longer cope with changed circumstances. This can be observed in many different areas, including human-induced climate change, financial crises, the Corona pandemic, growing global and national inequality and the associated resurgence of populism that is changing democratic orders, migration and the challenges it poses, as well as persistent gender inequalities. The war in Ukraine will also permanently change the international order. Research conducted in this Profile Area aims to comprehensively analyze these changes at different levels.

Hence, the Profile Area stands in the characteristic tradition of Goethe University Frankfurt. Since its founding as a “citizens' university" with the aim of pursuing science independently of conventional political and cultural constraints, the university has cultivated a specific profile characterized by the spirit of enlightenment, criticism and progressiveness. While all scientific fields flourished as a result, the impact on the development of groundbreaking research foci in the social sciences, law, economics and the humanities was especially profound, extending far beyond the "Frankfurt School," which remains internationally influential until today. This spirit, based above all else on interdisciplinary cooperation, has survived: It is reflected not only in the research profile of the university as a whole, but even more so in the Profile Area "Orders & Transformations."
The Profile Area is backed by internationally renowned, externally funded alliances and connects highly decorated scientists, honored with many awards. It comprises two established research foci and several interlinked high-potential research areas.


Normative Orders

The "Normative Orders" research area pursues interdisciplinary research, combining normative and empirical analyses on the changes of orders and perceptions of orders that are relevant in the above mentioned constellations. It thus has close links to the Profile Area "Universality & Diversity". The respective research ranges from new orders of digitality to questions of political trust, democracy of the future, social cohesion, international cooperation as well as global or climate justice, also in connection with the Profile Area "Sustainability & Biodiversity." The Research Center Normative Orders assumes a coordinating role within the Profile Area.

Financial Market Research

The focus of financial market research centers on the question of how the national and international financial market architecture copes with, is influenced by, and addresses the challenges of our time, including demographic development, climate change as well as different global growth dynamics and the associated changes in the global economic order.


HMWK (Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts)


BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) / BMWK (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action)



ERC Grants

Emmy Noether Junior Research Group

Heisenberg Professorship

LOEWE Top Professorship

Leibniz Prizes

  • 2018, Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln (FB 02) 
  • 2012, Rainer Forst (FB 03) 
  • 2010, Roman Inderst (FB 02)
  • 2022, Marietta Auer (FB 01; Hon. Prof. at GU)
  • 2019, Ayelet Shachar (FB 01; associated) 
  • 2014, Armin von Bogdandy (FB 01; Hon. Prof. at GU)