2017 - Pluralistic Society and Its Enemies

Programme | Programme (PDF) | Pictures | Video on YouTube | Introduction of Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha



In his famous work “The Open Society and Its Enemies” (1945) the philosopher Karl Popper describes a model of society that aims at liberating the critical capacities of man and which is closely linked to the democratic system of government. Popper’s work turns against totalitarian systems of government and attributes fundamental significance to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, as well as of religious neutrality, for an open society. More than 70 years after its publication, Popper’s work is still of importance, even if it is sometimes other “enemies” today that are threatening the heterogeneous, open society. The 21st Karlsruhe Dialogues make the old and new enemies a subject of discussion, questioning the nature of the threat and its origins. To what extent is it possible to reduce the disappointment and mistrust towards the elite through new forms of democracy? To what extent did the media and the established political parties not live up to their role? How is it possible to increase the awareness and appreciation of the advantages of freedom within pluralistic societies? How do we respond to those who do not share our pluralistic values? The 21st Karlsruhe Dialogues will controversially and interdisciplinary discuss these and other questions with international experts. The symposium will be accompanied by cultural events such as a film night in cooperation with the television network ARTE and the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, as well as a reading and a theatre play at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (State Theatre of Baden, Karlsruhe). The Karlsruhe Dialogues will be substantially supported by the Foundation for Education and Social Affairs of Sparda-Bank Baden-Württemberg, as well as by the city of Karlsruhe. Additionally, the Wissenschaftsbüro of the Stadtmarketing Karlsruhe GmbH will be one of our partners in 2017.


Concept and Scientific Convenorship:
Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, director of ZAK
Christine Melcher Dipl.-Angl.
Press and public relations:
Anna Moosmüller, M.A.


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




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Banner image: Sahar Aharoni / aharoni.de