Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History

Breadcrumb Navigation


Human Rights

The postulate of human rights became attractive as a concept throughout the world in the 1970s and was a major driver of political protest in the pre-1989 dissident movement. With the democratization of post-communist societies, the issue of human rights seemed to become less important. On the other hand, recourse to human rights formed a decisive element in the universalistic draft of the world order of liberal internationalism that triumphed in 1989–91. At the same time, this policy increasingly met with opposition. Since the 2010s, the EU has been confronted with the serious problem of maintaining a uniform standard of civil rights in Poland and Hungary. The modern authoritarian and populist regimes of East (Central) European countries question the universality of human rights by trying to unmask them as a particular ideology that is directed against traditional family or cultural values.

Research Projects

  • "Alienation" in Human Rights Protection - a New Split between East and West? (Angelika Nußberger, distinguished fellow)
  • Between Particular Nationalism and Universal Human Rights: Štefan Polakovič and Slovak Catholic Nationalism after the 1970s (Michaela Lenčéšová, junior fellow, winter term 2023-2024)
  • 'Women's Rights are Human Rights': Gendering Universalism and Particularism in (post-) socialist Europe (Celia Donert, senior fellow, summer term 2024)

Further projects are following.