For Mitchell Dean, this is not the first stay in the Thuringian capital. He was already here in 2019 to give a lecture and attend a workshop. "I liked it very much even then," he recalls. "But that was in winter and now I can say with certainty, I prefer Erfurt in spring after all." What is he most looking forward to, we want to know. Dean doesn't have to think long: "Definitely, the exchange with early-stage researchers here in Erfurt. And of course I want to explore the city further and discover the surroundings for myself."
Mitchel Dean, however, will use the time to delve deeper into his research again, after having headed an institute at the Copenhagen Business School with 130 academics for the past four years. "It's exciting, but of course there's a lot to organise and less time for my academic work," he says. One of his current research topics is the so-called "sociology of truth", which deals with the way what we believe to be true emerges in different social and political practices. A highly topical subject in times of "disinformation", "fake news" and their consequences. In addition, the sociologist examines the kind of truth production that emerged in theories and critiques in the humanities and social sciences from the 1960s onwards, and how it was challenged by social scientists and political actors. "In general, I would situate my work between political sociology and social theory," explains Prof Dean. "My big concern over many years has been to think about the nature of governance as a form of power and its relationship to other concepts and forms of power, particularly sovereignty. I think the history of these concepts reveals their interconnectedness - not only their variation and different social forms, but also a degree of continuity, at least in what we think of as 'Western' ways of thinking. It also shows that a significant part of its conceptual history is rooted in theology. And that continues to interest me." He says he will also be attending lectures by colleagues in Erfurt, taking part in workshops and also giving lectures himself at the universities in Jena and Oldenburg, which are also involved in the "Voluntariness" research group.
Mitchell Dean says: "I'm looking forward to the work and to exchanging ideas with colleagues in the field." We say: "Welcome!"