Michael Th. Greven

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Michael Thomas Greven , mostly abbreviated Michael Th. Greven (born March 7, 1947 in Hamburg ; † July 7, 2012 ibid), was a German political scientist . From 1995 to 2012 he taught as a professor of political science (focus on government theory , political theory and the history of ideas ) at the University of Hamburg .


Greven graduated from Ernst-Kalkuhl-Gymnasium in Bonn-Oberkassel in 1968 and began studying political science , philosophy , German and psychology at the University of Bonn in the same year . In 1972 he obtained his master's degree and in 1973 his doctorate in political science with Karl Dietrich Bracher . In 1973 he received a two-year Research Fellowship at St Antony's College of Oxford University , which he did not compete for personal reasons.

He then worked as a research assistant in sociology at the University of Paderborn , where he completed his habilitation in " Political Sociology and Political Science" in 1976 .

He held professorships in Marburg (1978–91, sociology), Darmstadt (1991–95, political theory and political sociology) and Hamburg (since 1995, from 1995 to 2004 with a focus on government, since then with a focus on political theory and the history of ideas). In Hamburg he was the last dean of the faculty for social sciences from 2002 until its dissolution; from 1991 to 1994 he was deputy chairman of the DVPW and from 1994 to 1997 chairman . Between 2001 and 2011 he was a member of the ethics committee of the DVPW, in 2006 he was elected chairman for five years.

He held visiting professorships in Ile-Ife (Nigeria 1977–78), in New Delhi (1983), Leipzig (1990–91 chairman of the evaluation commission for the scientific members of the former Scientific Communism Section, member of the founding board of directors of the newly established institute for Political Science) and at the Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto 1997–98.

In 2001 he received the Luigi Sturzo Special Prize of the Premio Amalfi for the best political science book ("The Political Society"). In 2010 he received the badge of honor from the German Association for Political Science. The political society is one of his most important publications . Contingency and decision as problems of government and democracy.

Greven was retired from the University of Hamburg on July 6, 2012 at the age of 65 as part of a celebration. He passed away the following night.

Educational policy

Greven has been involved in university politics since his time as an assistant, when, among other things, he was the spokesman for the State Assistant Conference of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1974 to 1976. From 1976 to 1977 was a member of the State Study Reform Commission IVb (NRW) "Social Sciences", from 1982 to 1986 member of the Study Reform Commission "Political Science / Sociology" of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and from 1989 to 1997 member and temporarily chairman of the Standing Committee for Teaching and Studies of the DVPW. He was dean at the universities of Marburg, Darmstadt and Hamburg. In his role as dean for social sciences at the University of Hamburg, he was instrumental in founding an economics and social sciences faculty , including the former University of Economics and Politics in Hamburg. In January 2005 he ran for election as President of the Humboldt University in Berlin , but lost to the old incumbent Jürgen Mlynek . Regarding his programmatic goals, he said that he “knew of no more equitable distribution criterion than performance” and saw no reason not to promote it more.


Greven was on the board of the Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy from its establishment until the 1990s . It had been a member of the Humanist Union since the early 1970s and had been a member of its advisory board since 2012. From 1994 to 2007 he was a member of the board of trustees of the Schader Foundation for the Promotion of Social Sciences and was also its chairman from 1999 to 2003. Since 2002 he has also been a member of the Advisory Board of the Aby Warburg Foundation .

In 2004, Greven organized the protest against the award of an honorary doctorate to Vladimir Putin . As a result of the protests, Putin was not awarded an honorary doctorate. He was in charge of the University of Hamburg's accompanying scientific program for the War of Extermination Exhibition . Crimes of the Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1944 .

Greven published the series “Studies on Political Society” at VS-Verlag and the “Political Theory” series at LIT Verlag, and since 1984 he has been a member of the editorial team of the journal vorgangs, published by the Humanist Union . Journal for civil rights and social politics , co-editor of the new political literature and since 2003 member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Political Theory . Greven was also a member of the German Society for Research into Political Thought (DGEPD).

Fonts (selection)

  • Systems theory and social analysis. Critique of the values ​​and possibilities of knowledge in social models of the cybernetic system theory. Luchterhand, Darmstadt / Neuwied 1974, ISBN 3-472-61154-5 .
  • together with Bernd Guggenberger , Johano Strasser : Crisis of the State? To determine the function of the state in late capitalism. Democracy and the rule of law, critical essays on the rule of law in the Federal Republic. Darmstadt 1975, ISBN 3-472-61199-5 .
  • together with Rainer Prätorius, Theo Schiller: Welfare State and Social Policy. Crisis and Perspectives. Neuwied 1980, ISBN 3-472-08015-9 .
  • Parties and political rule. On the interdependence of internal party order and democracy in the FRG. Hain, Meisenheim am Glan 1977, ISBN 3-445-11444-7 .
  • Party members. An empirical essay on everyday political consciousness in parties. Leske et al. Budrich, Opladen 1987, ISBN 3-8100-0670-X .
  • Critical Theory and Historical Politics. Theory-historical contributions to contemporary society. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 1994, ISBN 3-8100-1147-9 .
  • Contingency and decision. Contributions to the analysis of political society. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 2000, ISBN 3-8100-2620-4 .
  • Political thinking in Germany after 1945. Experience and handling of contingency in the immediate post-war period. Budrich, Opladen / Farmington Hills 2007, ISBN 978-3-86649-079-6 .
  • The political society. Contingency and decision as problems of government and democracy. 2nd updated edition. VS, Verl. Für Sozialwiss, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16061-0 (1st edition 1999 by Leske and Budrich)
  • System opposition. Contingency, ideology and utopia in political thought in the 1960s. Budrich, Opladen / Berlin / Farmington Hills 2011, ISBN 978-3-86649-418-3 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Presidential election at the HU: Office holder confirmed again. on: welt.de , February 2, 2005.
  2. Hardly any difference in terms of programming. on: taz.de , January 31, 2005.
  3. Network Peace Cooperative : "No Pardon for Pacifists?"
  4. Publishing house website for the series