2014 - World (Market) Society: On Trade with Goods, Data and Humans

Programme (PDF ca. 730 KB)


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The 18th Karlsruhe Dialogues want to focus on the highly controversially evaluated developments of increasingly networked forms of life from a market point of view.

The global marketplace, on which goods and data are traded, is booming: Goods still represent the largest part of world trade. However, since about 20 years it can be observed that internationally traded services, such as data, grow even faster than the international flow of goods. While material goods are accessible to state controls at border crossings, governmental regulations are increasingly difficult to accomplish concerning the exchange of intangible goods.

Thus, the NSA scandal, whose full dimension is still unknown, has not only made it clear that the governments of many countries are facing a dilemma: what presents itself for one government as an advantage for a greater scope of liberal possibilities is considered as a potential source of danger for others. Yet, the global marketplace is not all about goods and data but also about humans: human trafficking and inhumane working conditions still exist in the 21st century. Not least the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh in April 2013 has made it clear to what extent production standards and occupational safety are still inhumane or degrading. In relation to the market, which roles do the state, the trading partners and the international community have to play?

Although it contradicts the intentions of an aspired global social responsibility, there are inevitably those who win and those who lose through the dynamics of the world market society. Global division of labour and demographic change, in particular under the aspect of missing perspectives for the young generation around the world, display particularly striking dimensions and consequences of the global labour market.

The 18th Karlsruhe Dialogues will examine the sociological, social, economic and media aspects of the current developments of trade with goods, data and humans. It will be analysed to what extent our societies are prone to radical action between the antipodes of freedom and security. Ideological explanations and simplifying attributions of problems will be questioned. Renowned researchers and scientists as well as experts with practical knowledge in the field will discuss which risks arise from world market society as feared by Ulrich Beck. What chances and options for action are to be considered in a multi-dimensional world (cultural) society and what future solutions are to be found? How can individual freedom on the basis of simultaneous participation and responsibility be institutionally guaranteed?

The conference will be conducted in German and English with the aid of simultaneous interpreters.

Concept and Scientific Convenorship:

Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Director of ZAK


Rubina Zern M.A., Christine Melcher Dipl.-Angl.

Press and public relations:

Anna Moosmüller, MA


German Programme







With friendly support from…

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Arte Badisches Staatstheater  


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