Institute for Social Movements

The Institute for Social Movements is a central research unit of the Ruhr-University Bochum. The Institute is specialised in research and teaching on social movements by regular courses, teaching units, workshops, and research projects. Although there is a focus on the Ruhr region, social movements, past and present, are examined comparatively. Based in many international links, the Institute is part of an European research community. Therefore, the Institute is also participating in European-wide educational programmes.

Based on its specialised library, the Institute was founded in 1980 as "Institute for Research on the History of European Workers' Movements". During the following years, the Institute made itself known as one of several German centres for research and teaching on social movements. In order to understand the development and functions of modern democratic societies more comprehensively, the Institute was renamed in 1999 when the library moved into a new building. Although research on workers' movements continuously is still an important part of the Institute's activities, research and conference activities in the field of modern social movements increasingly shape the Institute's activities.

The activities of the Institute are based on long-term interdisciplinary cooperation with the Ruhr-University, in particular the respective departments of History, Social Sciences and Philology. In the international context the Institute is particulary committed to the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI), the European graduate School for Training in Economic and social historical Research (ESTER) and the International Conference of Labour and Social History.