The interactions between science and society as well as developments within science are concentrated in four research areas: 1st epistemology, 2nd legitimation and normativity, 3rd functional differentiation, and 4th social differentiation. The four research areas enable a systematization of the interactions and developments within science. This is a heuristic systematization, which is derived from generalized theoretical assumptions about contemporary societies and serves as a foundation for the LCSS research program.
The first research area “epistemology” discusses features unique to science, highlighting what distinguishes science from other social fields.
The second research area “legitimation and normativity” is substantiated, on the one hand, by the need to explain and justify the interactions between science and society and the internal arrangements of the scientific field. On the other hand, it arises from the fact that scientific knowledge and especially scientific expertise are being used by other fields, particularly by politics, to argue for and legitimize their decisions.
The third research area “functional differentiation” describes the functional differentiation of contemporary societies. Moreover, it emphasizes the relationship between science and other social fields, as well as the functional differentiation characteristic for society.
The fourth research area “social differentiation” expresses that there are socio-structural processes of differentiation. These become effective when related to other social fields and within science.
This systematization is conceptualized heuristically and does not contain a hierarchical differentiation between the four research areas. These four research areas integrate with the five academic disciplines represented at the LCSS: Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, Law, and Sociology. For this purpose and for referring specific issues and research questions, the distinguishing features are translated into these five disciplines. However, the LCSS acknowledges that the four research areas are not equally relevant to all of the five disciplines. In fact, the respective disciplines emphasize certain areas while in others they are represented only marginally, if at all.