"self-organisation" is also used as a paradigm for social contexts and became a transdisciplinary central concept of modern science.

The RG Self-Organisation is engaged with the scientific concept of "self-organisation", which is also used as a paradigm for social contexts and became a transdisciplinary central concept of modern science. The Reseach Group approached the concept with an interdisciplinary disambiguation, for instance in interviews with "practitioners of self-organisation", as well as from an epistemological and a history of science perspective.

The core idea of self-organisation is that due to specific local interactions between elements, long-range connections develop over time, that is, structures on a large spatial scale. In this form of a non-thematic thought pattern, the concept of self-organisation provides a very general framework for formal and foundational surveys on the occurence of structures, for instance in biology, physics or in society.

For the Junge Akademie, this topic was a suitable field for three reasons:

  • It bridges the natural, social and humane sciences.
  • It has sociopolitical implications, since inscribed mechanisms can be made visible and possible fads in terms of the choice of scientific method can be pointed out.
  • The possibilities of a transdisciplinary perspective on self-organisation have not quite been exhausted in the research up to this point, even though there are numerous monographs carrying the term in their title (since 1990, there has even been a yearbook Self-Organisation), and even though it has been approached epistemologically.

By means of surveys in both conceptual history and the history of ideas, the Research Group wanted to clarify when and to what extent "self-organisation" can be found as a scientific model of explanation; where this method comes from (is there "lead discipline"?); what motivates the implementation of the term; whether there are examples for modern theoretical approaches in which this thought pattern can be found implicitly; whether this approach is viable and enduring (is the next paradigm shift already on the horizon?). As an example, a system of thought (e.g. a legal system) was meant to be analysed with the method of self-organisation.

The goal was to develop a simple explanatory model for the frequent occurence of certain structures in a system of thought. Further, the possibility of discovering hidden social mechanisms with this method should be discussed and evaluated. The Research Group published its findings in an anthology.

Research projects

The Research Group conducted interviews with academics on the topic of self-organisation, started a survey among NGOs and conceptualised a literature database for the Junge Akademie.


The RG Self-Organisation organised lectures and two internal symposiums.


The RG published its findings in one anthology and two papers.

participating Alumnae / Alumni