The guiding theme “Democracy, Knowledge, and Gender in a Transnational World” comprises three areas of research that in terms of content constitute the profile of the IPP Transnational and within whose spectrum potential PhD projects will be situated.

1. Challenges and Innovations of Democracy
2. Transformations of the Gender Order
3. Biosciences and Society

However, this “three-column structure” in no way implies the reciprocal separation of the three areas. On the contrary: the thematic bracket of the “transnational world,” the methodological axis of reflection of interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity, as well as numerous overlapping contents connect the three thematic fields in a way that heightens the innovative potential of the program and makes it productive with respect to anticipated research performance.

Thematic bridges can be built between the fields in many areas: in terms of democratic theory, the cross-sectoral theme of migration refers to a calling into question of social and political rights previously bound to national citizenship; yet the theme of migration is at the same time central for an analysis of the shifts in gender orders that are currently taking place as well as for an examination of the proliferation and appropriation of biomedical knowledge.

The perspective of social inequality represents a further link between the three areas that allows addressing the increasing precariousness of political equality and opportunities for participation in Western democracies as well as the reconfiguration of the relation of “gender” to other categories of social structuring in transnational transformation processes of the gender order. However, social inequality also becomes a theme in the examination of the genesis, distribution, and application of bioscientific knowledge, not lastly with respect to the question of what new forms of inequality may result due to unevenly distributed access to biomedical innovations and products.

In addition to the comprehensive perspective on the effects of transnationalization processes, a focus on changes in gender relations themselves also serves to connect the three areas of research, as these changes can be related to the transformations of democratic orders, to the popularization of biomedical knowledge and biotechnological methods, and to the interlocking of different social and symbolic gender regimes in the course of transnational migration flows. Further connecting themes comprise the positioning and the innovative potential of social movements and actors in civil society and the emergence of new (transnational) spaces of knowledge generation and social practice in the fields of investigation.