March for Science, Washington 2017

March for Science. Source: ©Becker1999/ CC-by-sa 2.0.

Dept. II

Knowledge Systems and Collective Life

Department II studies the relationship between how we know and how we live together—that is, between knowledge systems, which determine what kinds of knowledge are valued, how knowledge is produced, and who is authorized to know, and collective life, which encompasses a variety of efforts to fashion our lives with others, including but not limited to conventional politics. Researchers in the department use historical and ethnographic methods to explore the relationship between these overlapping domains in the past and present.

Research Themes

Catastrophic Flooding in Germany 2021.
Environmental Knowledge in Times of Crisis
March for Science
From Trust in Science to Knowledge in Relation
[The Georgia Negro] City and Rural Population. 1890. Source: Library of Congress © W. E. B. Du Bois, circa. 1900..
Politics and Practices of Data

Research Group

News & Press

Job opportunities in administration and editing at the MPIWG


Etienne Benson interviewed on an episode of the omega tau science and engineering podcast


New department “Knowledge Systems and Collective Life” to explore environment, politics, and society


Media & Digital Resources