Societal norms of moral, ethical and cultural standards can only be legitimised through public dialogue. The importance of this dialogue is as self-evident as the importance of the issues addressed in 13 individual research projects and their overarching deliverables. Equally the project sponsor has recognised the importance of this research and its potential to provide the individual project outcomes (which also come in the form of recommendations for action) to wider society. The structural transformation of public discourse (and public communication in general) strongly influences ethical norms. Conversely, social perception and effectiveness of the norms impact on the communication processes. Prevalent social values are not absolutes, but are rather a means of communicating (aimed at gaining recognition and acceptance by the group).
In addition, there is a second aspect that needs to be discussed: The societal communications research and the ethical considerations are not considered as discrete topics by the research network. Both derive their character and their scientific approach from the whole subject area with particular regard to facets of the communications and the implications on moral, ethical and cultural norms. In this combination these disciplines can develop coherence, self-reflection and dialogue much better, both internally and externally.
The working group has also set itself the goal of bringing this internal discussion to the wider public at an early stage so as to give relevant public groups the opportunity to take part in its work. The main forum for achieving this is a series of evening events ("Werkstattgespräche") open to the public. So far the working group has organised three such events, each of which attracted around 100 participants.