The researchers from the institute investigate social movements in history and the present day.
The activities of the institute are based on a long-standing collaboration between researchers in various disciplines at RUB, particularly from history, social science, theology, and educational science. The institute arose from the institute founded in 1980 to research the European labour movement. Besides new social movements, the labour and trade union movement continue to represent a focus of research and teaching at the institute. The research at ISB takes place both in international and regional contexts. The institute is involved in various European research projects, while its teaching and research programmes also have a strong regional reference. In its regional contexts, the institute works closely with the foundation History of the Ruhr. The ISB publishes various series of German- and English-language books as well as its own journal “Moving the Social. Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements”.