News from the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)


Panel discussion: The promise of happiness of sustainability, on 12.03.2020 in Duisburg

Photo: Käte Hamburger Dialogue

Käte Hamburger Dialogue, © KHK/GCR21

The 16th Käte Hamburger Dialogue took place as part of the Duisburger Akzente in cooperation with VHS Duisburg and Studio 47.

„There’s not much to happiness,“ is a common saying. But what about happiness at a time when sustainability guides our actions and implicitly calls us to renunciation and moderation? Is „having a lot“ then still possible at all? And in our growth-oriented society, in which, despite all the clichés to the contrary, a life of abundance is still regarded as the ultimate happiness, can satisfaction be achieved despite less consumption? These questions were debated by a round of speakers from the local science and sustainability sector as part of the 16th Käte Hamburger Dialogue at the Duisburg adult education centre. And right at the beginning a lively discussion relaxed about what kind of luxury it really is to be able to afford to do without.

Photo: Käte Hamburger Dialog

Speakers from the local science and sustainability area during the Käte Hamburger Dialogue, © KHK/GCR21

As long as a sustainable lifestyle is reserved for the privileged sections of society, it is out of the question that it can be a recipe for „becoming happy“. There was agreement on the podium, however, that sustainability is not the same as renunciation. Rather, it means a rethinking of the value attributed to certain goods and behaviour. In this way, profits can be made and new products manufactured, also in the sense of a sustainable economy. One difference to conventional value creation, however, is that there is an awareness of the consequences of this action. If, therefore, we consume in the knowledge of our own effectiveness in such a way that we can exert a positive influence on other people and at the same time achieve desirable effects, this will, in doubt, even generate more happiness than if we only reward ourselves with a purchase.

Second annual conference of the Centre on communicative power postponed
Because of the Corona crisis and in accordance with the requirements of the North Rhine-Westphalian state government, the Centre has decided to postpone its 2nd annual conference, which was scheduled for 16 April 2020. A new date – probably in November 2020 – will be announced in time on the Centre’s website.

About: The annual conference will examine the functioning of communicative power as opposed to structural, material and positional power in creating opportunities and obstacles to transnational and global cooperation. A better understanding of the functioning of communicative power is of utmost importance in a context where global cooperation is increasingly controversial despite pressing problems of planetary scope such as climate change. Communicative power is of central importance for processes of criticism and justification of (global) public policy, all the more so in times of often conflicting ideas of world order.

New Fellows

Dr des. Joanna Simonow

Photo: Dr des. Joanna Simonow

Dr des. Joanna Simonow, © KHK/GCR21

The historian works on the topics of gender, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, humanitarian movements and their history, South Asia, food and hunger relief. After studies in Heidelberg, New Delhi, Groningen, Uppsala and a stopover at the Overseas Development Institute, she completed her doctorate at the Institute of Contemporary History at ETH Zurich. From March 2020 to February 2021, Dr Simonow will be a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the research group ‚Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation‘. Her research project is entitled ‚The Private in the Political. Intimacy as a Pathway of Global Cooperation: Feminism, Anti-Imperialism and Indian Nationalism in Europe, North America and South Africa, c. 1900s-1960s‘ and aims to provide a feminist historical investigation of the role of (interethnic) love and sexual intimacy as paths of global cooperation of social and political movements in the first six decades of the twentieth century.


Photo: Dr. Umberto Mario Sconfienza

Dr. Umberto Mario Sconfienza, © KHK/GCR21

Dr. Umberto Mario Sconfienza

The legal philosopher Umberto Mario Sconfienza works on the environment and climate change from the perspective of political philosophy. He was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence ‚Normative Order‘ at the Goethe University Frankfurt and is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg in the research group ‚Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance‘ from January to December 2020. Dr. Sconfienza is developing a theory for the description and better understanding of global environmental policy under the title ‚The Post-Sustainability Trilemma‘.


Katja Freistein, Frank Gadinger, Christine Unrau
From the Global to the Everyday: Anti-Globalization Metaphors in Trump’s and Salvini’s Political Language (Global Cooperation Research Papers 24), Duisburg 2020
ISSN: 2198-1949 (Print)
ISSN: 2198-0411 (Online)
DOI: 10.14282/2198-0411-GCRP-24

Cover: Publication of Freistein, Gadinger, Unrau

Publikcation: From the Global to the Everyday: Anti-Globalization Metaphors in Trump’s and Salvini’s Political Language, © KHK/GCR21


In this paper, we ask how exactly right-wing populists make anti-globalization appealing. We follow the growing interest in the ambivalent features of populist language and performances by suggesting a methodological framework around narratives, metaphors, and emotions. We argue that right-wing populists skilfully present abstract phenomena of globalization and translate them to individual experiences of ‘ordinary people’. Metaphors play a crucial role in populist storytelling as they make sense of a complex reality through imagery. They mobilize collective emotions and reach a wider audience through a high degree of linguistic adaptability and normative ambiguity.
We demonstrate these narrative operations using two recent cases of ‘successful’ right-wing populist, anti-globalization storytelling, which build on strong metaphors. One is the metaphor of the ‘House’, used by former Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and the other is U.S. President Donald Trump’s metaphor of ‘The Wall’. We argue that these metaphors are used to create an inside/outside distinction that externalizes threats which are possibly internal (e.g. drug consumption) to a polity (e.g. external drug abuse or organized crime) but can be blamed on globalization through the use of metaphors. What is more, metaphors can be utilized to construct a crisis, which in turn makes it possible for populists to adopt the savior-role of an energetic hero, who alone is able to resolve the supposed crisis.