Participation and UBI – ‚Narratives‘ of the Future (PartUBI)

The relationship of universal basic income (UBI) to democracy – not only in its direct, participatory form but also as an economic ‘narrative’ – has recently been identified as research desiderata by scholars from a number of disciplines (philosophy, sociology, economics, etc.) and has been investigated to some extent already. The theoretical part (Research Team) of our Large FRIBIS Team (LFT) Participation and UBI – ‘Narratives’ of the Future (PartUBI) follows and continues this discussion.

The activist part of the team (Transfer Team) is politically committed to the introduction of a UBI while at the same time seeing it as a participatory instrument for citizens to get more involved in democratic processes – e.g. through petitions for the introduction of a BGE, as dealt with in the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag in 2010 and 2020. This, moreover, builds bridges to a politically engaged (theory of) visual art, especially to Joseph Beuysʼ concept of the “social sculpture”.

The view that a basic income would have a positive impact on people’s participatory opportunities has been repeatedly postulated politically and discussed within academia for several years now. Compared to the consideration of UBI from the viewpoint of participation, the conceptualisation of and research on the UBI as an economic-political ‘narrative’ is a more recent phenomenon. This can be seen in the broader context of a remarkable general boom of the concept of narratives in contemporary Western culture: in various cultural fields, such as politics, economics and science, there has been increasing talk of ‘narratives’ since the turn of the millennium. Examining the UBI as an economic ‘narrative’ from a philosophical-cultural studies perspective is another focus of the LFT.

The theoretical, political and praxeological connections between UBI and participation, the associated discursive ‘future practices’ and the history of discourse and research will be comprehensively reconstructed and examined from a philosophical-transdisciplinary perspective in Leon Hartmann’s dissertation (Working title: Zukünfte der Demokratie. Zum Verhältnis von politischer Partizipation und bedingungslosem Grundeinkommen. / Futures of Democracy. On the relationship between political participation and unconditional basic income).

Research Team

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kaufmann
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities Research Center “Nietzsche Commentary
University of Freiburg
Lives in Freiburg, Germany

PD Dr. Robert Krause
Senior lecturer for German and Comparative
Literary Studies, German Seminar of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
As of July 2023, research associate in the FRIBIS team “Participation and UBI – ‘Narratives’ of the Future”. February 2023 to July 2023 Visiting Professor at the FIAS in Marseille / Holder of the AMSE IMéRA Chai. Research project: The Unconditional Basic Income: towards a cultural and intellectual history of a necessary utopia

Prof. Dr. Andreas Urs Sommer
W-3 professorship in philosophy with focus on philosophy of culture / academy professorship in cooperation with the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences
Philosophy Seminar of the University of Freiburg
Lives in Freiburg, Germany

FRIBIS Team Coordinator

Leon Hartmann, M. A.
PhD candidate and Research Associate at FRIBIS
Philosophy Seminar of the University of Freiburg
Lives in Freiburg, Germany


Transfer Team

Michael von der Lohe
Omnibus for direct democracy, gGmbH
The upright walk
I want to vote
Lives in Hattingen, Germany

Susanne Wiest
Petition for Unconditional Basic Income, 2020 (Together with Prof. B. Neumärker, Model NGE) and 2008
Basic income is feasible
We make democracy
Founder of the association “Mensch in Germany”
Lives in Alt Tellin, Germany

Associated Members

Sabine Scharff, M. A.
Philosophy Seminar of the University of Freiburg
Lives in Munich, Germany

Sören E. Schuster
Philosophy Seminar of the University of Freiburg
Institute for Economic Design
Lives in Berlin