A social science project dealing with possibilities of understanding in the Coronavirus crisis

Conflicts are the “humus” of democracy. Difficulties arise when conflicts are not dealt with constructively because the basis for understanding is unclear or missing. In order to promote a constructive exchange, this social science project wants to create understanding - for the complexity of crises, for the causes of conflicts and for the possibility of dialogue.

The scientific project will analyse four thematic areas:

  • Polarisation: To what extent does the use of different types of media and information contribute to political or social division?
  • Policy trade-offs: What options would have been available to prevent polarisation, for example on vaccination and homeschooling?
  • Policy advice and public communication: How did the cooperation between advisory science and politics work during the crisis?
  • Science scepticism: What are the causes and effects of science scepticism, and what can be done about it?

Dialogue with citizens

The analysis is followed by a dialogue process. Citizens are invited to voice their expectations of politics, science and the media for future crisis events based on their personal experiences. This dialogue process is conducted by the government. The Austrian Academy of Sciences is developing the concept for this process.



  • Riedlinger, D. (2023). Digitale Macht: Unsere Daten, unser Selbst?. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from https://www.oeaw.ac.at/ita/detail/news/digitale-macht-unsere-daten-unser-selbst
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Conference papers/lectures

Conference papers/lectures


04/2023 - 12/2023

Project team

  • Andreas Albiez
  • Paul Buntfuß



International Advisory Board

Eva Barlösius (Sociologist, University of Hanover, Member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering)

Alena Buyx (Ethicist, TU Munich, Chair of the German Ethics Council)

Armin Grunwald (Physicist and Philosopher, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Member of the Board of the German Academy of Science and Engineering)

Caspar Hirschi (Historian, University of St. Gallen, Board of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences)