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  • New prestigious member in the CHAOS International Scientific Committee and new scientific partnership with The Jena Declaration

    Thursday, 30 March 2023
    at 15:49

    by CHAOS Staff

    CHAOS – International Research and Education Programme on “Complex Human Adaptive Organizations and Systems”, University of Perugia - warmly welcomes Prof. Dr. Benno Werlen, the new prestigious member of its international Scientific Committee.

    A warm welcome also from our Scientific Director Piero Dominici.

    New scientific projects and collaborations are already emerging and being defined.

    At the same time, an important scientific - and mutually supportive - collaboration has been established between the UNESCO-Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability, the Jena Declaration and CHAOS, which, moreover, has already signed this fundamental Declaration and is a strong supporter of it.

    Benno Werlen, born 10th October 1952 in Muenster/VS (Switzerland), holds the UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. He is a fellow of the World Academy of Art & Sciences and the Max Weber Center for Cultural and Social Studies, member of the Academia Europaea, chair of the IGU Commission on Gobal Understanding (since 2016), is the initiator and chair of The Jena Declaration on the Cultural and Regional Dimension of Global Sustainability’ endorsed by many of the leading organizations in the field, like The club of Rome and many others, the founder and executive director of the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) including more than 30 Regional Actions Centers, approved by the UNESCO General Conference, proclaimed by the three major science councils of the Human, Social and Natural sciences. In 2016 he has been awarded with the Laureat d’honneur of the International Geographical Union, the highest scientific honorary prize awarded by the IGU, for his lifelong contributions to    geographical science, as internationally recognized scholar, and for opening up new paths of scientific cooperation at the highest level. Until 2018 he was the Chair for Social Geography the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

    He holds degrees from the Faculties of the Humanities, and Natural Sciences and worked at the Universities of Kiel, Fribourg, Zurich, Salzburg, Geneva, Nijmegen, and the ETH Zurich. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge (King’s College & Sidney Sussex College), the London School of Economics and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). As a ‘key thinker on space and place’ (Sage 2011), he published widely on society-space relations under globalized conditions.

    He served as a panel member for the European Research Council for ‘Environment and Society’ for Advanced Grants (2008-15), the French National Research Agency (ANR) in the field of Social and Human Sciences (2008-12), as Chair of the IGU Commission ‘Cultural Approach in Geography’ (2004-16), and as a Member of Council of the World Cultural Forum (Taihu, China) (since June 2016).

    He has published 16 books and more than 200 papers in scientific journals and books, has given over 200 keynote presentations at universities across five continents in the fields of geography, sociology, economics, political sciences, philosophy, history, cultural anthropology, and linguistics, and organized more than 60 scientific conferences and conference sessions on all continents. He edited the ICSU-sponsored volume ‘Global Sustainability’ (2015, Springer).

    Benno Werlen graduated from the faculty of humanities in Geography (Fribourg 1980) with a dissertation on the critique of ‘Functionalism in Geography, Social Sciences and the Humanities’, after having completed a master teaching degree in German and French literature. In addition to geography, he studied ethnology, sociology, and economics, and began his academic career as a geographer in 1980 at the faculty of natural sciences at the University of Kiel (Germany). He primarily worked on the epistemology, methodology, and (social) theoretical framework of an action-centered and space-oriented scientific research approach. The widely acclaimed book ‘Gesellschaft, Handlung und Raum’ (Steiner 1987, 3rd edition 1997), published in English translation as ‘Society, Action and Space. An alternative Human Geography’ (Routledge 1993).

    In the three volumes of ‘Sozialgeographie alltäglicher Regionalisierungen’ [Social Geography of Everyday Regionalizations] (vol. 1: Zur Ontologie von Gesellschaft und Raum’ [On the Ontology of Society and Space], Werlen, 1995, 2nd edition 1999; vol. 2: Globalisierung, Region und Regionalisierung [Globalization, Region and Regionalization], Werlen 1997, 3rd edition 2017; vol. 3: Ausgangspunkte und Befunde empirischer For¬schung [Starting points and findings of empirical research] Werlen developed the action theory approach towards a practice-centered approach, radicalizing the theoretical turn from ‘space’ to ‘action’ into the approach of world-binding. With the two Volumes on ‘Gesellschaftliche Räumlichkeit’ [Societal Spatiality] including vol. 1 ‘Orte der Geographie’ [Places of Geography] and vol. 2 ‘Konstruktionen geographischer Wirklichkeiten‘ [Construction of Geographical Realities] he delivers a systematic overview of the geographical theory development and delivers the approach of ‘societal spatial relations’ that is applied later in the series ‘Knowldege and Space’ to field of ‘Knowledge and Action’ (co-ed. with P. Meusburger 2017) and the ‘Religion and Urbanity’.

    In these works, Werlen argues in favor of researching the processes of the construction of the social world through human action. His ‘social geography of everyday regionalizations’ (…) is now a keystone for debating the issues of space and environment in other disciplines as well as geography’ (Lippuner 2011, p. 461). Werlen has been evaluated in 2010 as by far the most-cited academic German Human Geographer of the first decade of the 21st century (Steinbrink et al. 2010, p. 20). His writings have been published in various languages, including German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Slovak and Korean.

    A great honour to have you with us, dear Prof. Werlen !


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