"Engagierte Wissenschaft" (EnWi in short), roughly translated as "scholarship with commitment", is an association of young students and scholars based in Leipzig (Germany) with the objective to combine social research activities, social commitment and political intervention. The inspiration for the name derives from French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's demand for "scholarship with commitment" whose "creative spirit" could help prepare new goals, content and forms of action.
Toolbox and Platform
Without being Bourdieu disciples, EnWi e.V. takes this demand on. The association developed from an initiative of students and young scholars of various disciplines (mostly within the social sciences and Humanities) connected to the University of Leipzig and would like to be a platform for "new goals", "new content" and "new forms of action" for people from different backgrounds. EnWi is an open project. We create spaces and opportunities for alternative, undogmatic and non-hierarchical discussions and debates - and for the projects and interventions they give rise to. The association is a medium of intervention for us. It is the toolbox for our projects and ideas.
Why "scholarship with commitment"?
Knowledge is a basis of our actions, while scholarship as knowledge production is already part of these actions. From this perspective, understanding and developing theoretical knowledge is in itself a form of praxis that has repercussions on social relations. It follows that we must critique power-penetrated spaces, structures and ways of thinking and introduce this critique into public debate. It also follows that we must take different approaches to and forms of knowledge seriously, including "practical knowledge". Staying inside the so-called "ivory tower" is not an option we endorse.
All our structures follow the principle: everything is open to everyone. We welcome any kind of support - in the association itself and/or one of our project groups. We are always interested in collaborating with other projects open to the goals of our "scholarship with commitment". Just get in touch!
Diskurswerkstatt - "discourse workshop"
The "Diskurswerkstatt" is an open space for critical reading and discussions. Our goal is to reflect upon theories: which theorems constrict opportunities of societal action? Which ones are suited to scholarship with commitment? We meet weekly during the semester, topics and reading lists can be found on the website.
Forum for Critical Reserach on "Right-wing Extremism" (Forum für Kritische Rechtsextremismusforschung)
The Forum for Critical Research on "Right-wing Extremism" works against neo-nazism and ideologies of inequality while critically examining the pattern of interpretation "(right-wing) extremism". We search for approaches that are better suited to conceptualising misanthropic attitudes (such as racism, anti-semitism, sexism) and related agents and structures. At the same time, we aim to raise awareness about these attitudes and problems. In order to achieve our goals, we cooperate closely with civil society initiatives, organise lecture series and workshops. Other forms of intervention include publications, public statements and participation in discussions.
The "Kids Control" working group focuses on strategies of control and intervention relating to young people in the public sphere. The group organised an exhibition in Leipzig in April 2009 that combined artistic and documentary approaches on the subject. Further interventions include talks, interviews, articles etc.
The "SchwerPrekär" working group analysed hegemonic social images of poverty, exclusion and precarious living conditions as power relations. The group organised lectures, published a volume and participated in artistic-political workshops.
.:Diffusionen is a blog where people who feel connected to EnWi (or one of its projects) find space for observations, essays, analyses and well-informed rants. www.diffusionen.de
chronik.LE is an online information platform that aims to comprehensively document neo-nazi, racist and discriminatory activities in and around Leipzig. www.chronikle.org