GlobaLab - Bremen Collaboratory on Global Solidarity

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    Bremen Collaboratory on Global Solidarity

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    Philipp Genschel

    "My vision for the GlobaLab initiative: creating a rapid incubator for new ideas that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in an environment that is both high trust and high challenge."

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    Annelies Blom

    "My greatest research successes have come through collaborative initiatives. With our open data hub, the Observatory on Global Solidarity, we invite the international research community to join us.”

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    Cornelius Torp

    "As a historian, I am concerned with the complexity of historical phenomena. If we want to understand how global solidarity emerges, we need to examine the conditions of its development over time."

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    Kerstin Martens

    "With GlobaLab, we’re establishing the study of global solidarity as a research field in its own right. Scientific curiosity, diversity and questions of justice are at the heart of this endeavor."

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    Patrick Sachweh

    "Bremen’s social sciences have always been interdisciplinary. At GlobaLab, we are further expanding methodological and theoretical pluralism to capture the complex patterns of global solidarity."

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    Delia González de Reufels

    "Global solidarity comes with normative questions: who deserves support and who should provide it? In GlobaLab, we explore how these questions have been debated over time and with what outcome."

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    Klaus Schlichte

    "I realized how many blank spaces we have in the social sciences when they are based only on Western experiences. In GlobaLab, we’ll incorporate research perspectives from all world regions."

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    Sophia Hunger

    "To arrive at new insights into the phenomenon of global solidarity, we’ll use new methods at the intersection of social and computer sciences to analyze large amounts and diverse types of data."

Welcome to GlobaLab – the Bremen Collaboratory on Global Solidarity! Our mission is to investigate the conditions of global solidarity. We begin by focusing on three worldwide challenges that cannot be solved without solidarity: the climate crisis, violent conflicts and wars, and global economic inequalities. Yet, the GlobaLab researchers not only intend to investigate global solidarity, they also intend to promote global solidarity in its own set up and procedures. Curious? Then read the text as a whole or jump to the points of interest with the following links.

[Translate to English:] woman putting pins on upside down world map

Importance of Global Solidarity

Let’s face it: Global solidarity is in high demand but in low supply. An estimated 1.3 million lives could have been saved in 2021 with a more equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. While countless activists, experts, NGOs, and politicians have called for global sharing, little has happened.

Yet, when an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in February 2023, killing 51,000 people, aid poured in from around the world – from Ukraine and Russia, from the United States and China, from Saudi Arabia and Iran.

These two examples show that global solidarity sometimes succeeds, but it also often fails. The question therefore is: When is there a consensus that global burden-sharing is necessary and desirable? Who pushes for political support? And how can global solidarity gain institutional stability?

Transnational Research in Global Tandems

To answer these and related questions, the Bremen social sciences are currently setting up GlobaLab - the Bremen Collaboratory on Global Solidarity.

GlobaLab will provide a transnational research platform. Its members will investigate the conditions for global solidarity, thereby establishing its empirical study as a research field in its own right.

GlobaLab will bring together researchers from all over the world. Working in transnational tandems, Bremen researchers and their international collaborators will examine discourse, behaviors, and institutions of global solidarity. Global solidarity will thus not only be GlobaLabs analytical focus - we also strive to organize our research collaboration along the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The Research Agenda on Global Solidarity

Any attempt to establish solidarity faces three inherent and interrelated difficulties.
These are aggravated when trying to extend it to a global scale:


[Translate to English:] Researchers debating in classroom
Debating Global Solidarity

Firstly, different actors have different views on what solidarity means, who deserves it, and when it is necessary and appropriate to extend it to the global level. GlobaLab analyzes debates about global solidarity, across time, space, and social contexts and asks: When and how does a global consensus on the desirability of global solidarity emerge?


[Translate to English:] Five young people around globe
Mobilizing Global Solidarity

Secondly, solidarity imposes material or ideational costs on the strong to help the weak. This often leads to political mistrust among donors and creates problems of collective action. GlobaLab examines the conditions under which solidarity commands political support and how cooperation across socioeconomic, political, cultural, ethnic, and religious divides can be achieved. GlobaLab asks: Who pushes for global solidarity, when, and why? Who opposes it? How do support coalitions form and gain leverage?

[Translate to English:] Picture of empty UN meeting room
Institutionalizing Global Solidarity

Thirdly, solidarity is often fragile and difficult to sustain over time. GlobaLab examines institutions of global solidarity: durable structures and organizational solutions that outlast changing conditions. When and how do institutions emerge that strengthen the normative justification and political support for global sharing? And how do these institutions fail?

The research operations of GlobaLab will be supported by an observatory, which will provide participatory data infrastructure and methodological support. The observatory will support data collection internally and develop into a data hub for the global research community at large.

GlobaLab Will Break New Ground

Conceptually, GlobaLab will establish the study of global solidarity as a distinct field of research.
Theoretically, the focus will shift from exclusive forms of solidarity among proximate others to inclusive forms of solidarity with distant others.
Empirically, GlobaLab will generate, integrate, and analyze data on trends and patterns of global solidarity.
Organizationally, the collective will develop new forms of transnational research collaboration that mitigate hierarchies and biases in international social science research.
Building on its long tradition of collaborative research, the social science community in Bremen is an ideal hub for this endeavor.


[Translate to English:] View of buildings of the University of Bremen Campus including the Bremen Drop Tower

Strong Network of Institutions

GlobaLab will draw on the expertise of several research groups and institutes that are part of or associated with the University of Bremen:

  • the Institute of Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS)
  • the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM)
  • the Collaborative Research Center 1342 “Global Dynamics of Social Policy”
  • artec Sustainability Research Center
  • the Research Institute for Social Cohesion (FGZ/RISC)
  • the Leibnitz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)
  • the German Institute for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (DIFIS
  • Qualiservice data sharing and the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS)

GlobaLab shall become a focal point that integrates the diverse research agendas of these institutes under a common roof.

Involved Institutions

  • Go to page: InIIS
  • Go to page: socium
  • Go to page: CRC 1342
  • Go to page: artec
  • Go to page: FGZ
  • Go to page: ZMT
  • Go to page: DIFIS
  • Go to page: Qualiservice
  • Go to page: BIGSSS