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The Institute of Sociology has a broad, long-term international outlook. This is built first on existing partnerships, particularly in the Erasmus programme. In addition, the Institute of Sociology is actively involved in cooperation opportunities that explicitly offer perspectives beyond the European setting and function at three levels: student and lecturer exchanges, team-teaching within cooperative seminars and research cooperations.

For example, in 2013 the Institute of Sociology agreed on a cooperation with the North West University in Potchefstroom, Republic of South Africa. The first exchange of students (in the MA programme) and lecturers took place in 2014, along with the first transcontinental team-teaching projects. The Institute has had southern Africa as one of its main research and teaching interests for around 30 years, so far with an emphasis on the topics of AIDS and hospice research. Annual field trips with students have also taken place for roughly as long; for the past 10 years or so the main destination has been Botswana.

In line with its main research and teaching interests, the Institute is also in contact with universities in Russia, Latin America and North America as well as in the Caribbean and is systematically developing these relationships. The Institute of Sociology’s active internationalisation process is based on the view that social and cultural science in the present era of the globalised and digitised society is essentially only possible now from an international perspective. This naturally applies even more to the critical analysis of cultural transformation.

Neither research nor teaching can now retreat to a solely national outlook. Rather, what is needed is for the globalisation dimension to be included in research and teaching, both at the level of social and cultural interaction and with regard to the implementation of dispositives, concepts and practices of social governance and cultural hegemony. At the everyday, practical level, cooperations help to boost cultural awareness and to communicate experience.