07:00 PM

Hamburg Horizons 2022: “Freedom in Crisis” -Senate Reception at Hamburg City Hall-


During the pandemic, freedom as a fundamental right has become probably the most common debate argument – sometimes against, sometimes for state regulation. In view of the Ukraine war, freedom is dramatically threatened and is also on the agenda as a question of “freedom energies” – i.e. a renewable energy supply independent of autocracies.

What does freedom mean and whose freedom is at stake? In the face of existential crises such as war, climate change and a pandemic, the terse definition of freedom as non-interference in the affairs of individuals is no longer readily convincing. Instead, the question arises as to the relationship between individual freedom and collective and future freedom: Where does my freedom end, where can or even must it be restricted with a view to overriding values? How does individual freedom relate to the responsibility of society as a whole? Can the freedom of consumption and resource use lived out today limit the freedom of future generations? And what role does science and its ability to provide forecasts and future scenarios play as a basis for rational decisions and thus also as a limit to political freedom?

The Hamburg Horizons 2022 ask what freedom means, where the autonomy of the individual comes up against the limits of the freedom of others, and who must defend whose freedom, when and with what measures. An opening panel at a Senate reception in Hamburg’s City Hall, three panels over three days, and other lectures and discussion events will flesh out various aspects of the topic.

Opening panel at a Senate Reception in Hamburg’s City Hall:

We had become accustomed to knowing what issues were at stake when we talked about threats to freedom. However, given the dynamics of current crises – war in Europe, climate catastrophe, energy dependency, pandemic – the threat scenarios and their perceptions are constantly changing and intensifying. “What is freedom and what is it particularly threatened by?” is the initial question posed to all three panelists, which they relate to the current situation coming from different international contexts and social spheres. Against the backdrop of multiple crises, the panel will discuss what freedom means, who has to defend whose freedom, when and with which measures, when it is damaged as a fundamental principle, and last but not least – what the price of freedom is.

On the panel (starting at 7:20 p.m.), the following persons will discuss with each other:

Eva Illouz, Professor of Sociology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Kai Gehring, Member of the German Bundestag, Bündnis90/Die Grünen
Marjana Gaponenko, writer

Elisabeth von Thadden, editor, Die ZEIT

Please register for this event. The whole event will be in German, the panel discussion will be conducted with the help of a simultaneous translator (English – German).