Geschwister-Scholl-Institut für Politikwissenschaft (GSI)




Lake Como School in Advanced Studies -School in Social Sciences

Life Chances in a (un)sustainable World: structural transformations and alternative socio-cultural visions


Villa del Grumello, Como, June 12 -16, 2023

Under the spell of globalization and democratization, there was the great expectation that the world would become a better place by the spread of growth and wealth, democracy, and participation as well as individual rights and emancipatory politics. Thirty years later, we envisage results of a world in increasing disorder and turmoil, but also accompanied with new hopes for a change of paradigm.

While a great portion of the poor population has been lifted out of absolute poverty, especially in the non “Western” world, together with a new desire for active participation, economic and social inequalities are skyrocketing due to the rise and dominance of the super-rich class. The gap between the top one per cent and the rest of the population is widening, loosening the social tie which social peace and prosperity is built upon, and diminishing people’s confidence in politics, especially the regulatory power of the State. This situation is worsened by the ongoing waves of crisis we globally face at various levels: abrupt weather events due to climate change, the burst of regional conflicts that may escalate at a global level, recurrent pandemic crisis and recurrent migration and refugee crisis, are all entangled with the side effects of economic growth: pollution, exploitation of natural resources and habitat, financial crisis etc. The global risk society redefines in new ways not only relations of power between nations and supra-national institutions, but also class relations at the national and trans-national level. At the same time, it calls for a paradigmatic change that should envision new and more sustainable ways of life, the reduction of inequalities, and new forms of political participation and organization.

Given these major challenges, what about the life chances, and different normative views on life-chances, in a (un)sustainable world? How do structural transformations affect social inequality? What socio-cultural visions may sustain social change to overcome these major problems?

Through the contribution of renowned experts in the social sciences, the field will be examined by relevant theoretical approaches and significant case-based empirical material. Participants are asked to actively contribute to dedicated sessions, in which they present their own research project to class and discuss it with the teaching staff. The geographical focus of the school lies on Europe and other countries from the Global North but contributions focusing on other areas are encouraged and welcome.

The LCSSS is looking for doctoral students and young researchers who study and work on the following topics:

  • Impacts on life-chances through climate change
  • Economic transformations and their impact on life-chances
  • Social inequalities within or across countries; the influence of “super rich” people on society
  • Cultural (secular, spiritual or religious) justifications or ways of dealing with the current situation
  • Alternative visions and social practices to the present order

Download the call for participation (pdf) of the school: LakeComoSchoolinSocialScience_HRIS2023

The registration fee is EUR 500,00 (VAT 22% incl.), inclusive of lectures, course materials, coffee
breaks, lunches, excursion, the social dinner and wi-fi connection; travel costs and accommodation
are not included.

If interested, please submit the application (including an updated CV, a letter of intent including a description of research project, and a 500-word bio) by filling the form at

Application deadline: April 10, 2023
Notification of Acceptance: April 21, 2023
Registration and payment: May 8, 2023