Knowledge and Science Cultures
The terms knowledge cultures and science cultures refer to projects that focus on the analysis of scientific knowledge production in the interplay of social practices, socio-cultural interpretative patterns, institutions and material artefacts, which take the social, cultural, artistic, economic and political conditions and implications of knowledge generation seriously.
The concept of culture is intended to emphasise that knowledge production cannot be reduced to strategic nor solely knowledge-interested actions of the individual stakeholders. What we seek for instead, is to have the centre stage taken by heterogeneous, culturally and subject-specific thoroughly differentiated practices (e.g. practices of exchange, interpretation, measurement, writing, choice of metaphor, negotiation of results, etc.) together with their social framework (social forms, economy, politics, art etc.) and cultural patterns (rituals, performances, symbols etc.). Furthermore, the question of subsequent evaluation, legitimation and dissemination practices of the knowledge generated is in focus.
Cultures of knowledge and science are analysed both from a historical and from a contemporary perspective. Not only the collectivity of knowledge, the implicit ‘thought style’ (Ludwik Fleck), discursive practices and the implicit symbolic orders of knowledge play a central role, but also the relationships and relations of power, field sociological positions, conflicts, controversies and discontinuities as well as supporting or hindering institutional structures.
In terms of knowledge and science cultures, the centre focuses on analyses in the areas of social sciences and humanities as well as arts and literature studies oriented towards cultural studies. This goes hand in hand with an interdisciplinary view of the relations of knowledge-art and art-knowledge.
Spring School of the Doctoral Programme Sociology and History of Social and Cultural Studies
Current and classical social and cultural scientists, published in Springer VS, ed. by Stephan Moebius
Analysis of the Aesthetic and the Aesthetic of Analysis: Georg Simmel in an Interdisciplinary Perspective
International and interdisciplinary symposium on November 15-16, 2018
The focus of the symposium is not simply on individual essays by Simmel about aesthetic objects as such (as for example in Henkel or Goethe) or on studies on the sociality of aesthetic practices. Rather, the connection or elimination between sociology and aesthetics to be found in Simmel's texts should is addressed and his ‘sociological aesthetics’ (light blue) is carved out, which can be seen in his aesthetic writing form or in his time-diagnostic analyses. What is special about Simmel's sociological aesthetics is that they do not focus on the question of timelessly valid forms of aesthetic perception, but rather on the analysis of specifically modern forms of aesthetic experience, which also extend across the narrower area of art to everyday life (big city life, jewellery, fashion).
Theater as Philosophical Enquiry: Aesthetics of the Sublime
Karoline Gritzner, Lise Meitner Project Manager
This research project explores the ways in which the aesthetic idea of the sublime is embodied, negotiated, and transformed in selected examples of contemporary European drama and theatre practice. The research brings philosophical accounts of the sublime into play with the art of theatre with the aim of foregrounding the philosophical significance of artistic practice and aesthetic experience. The project explores what is distinctively theatrical and performative about the concept of the sublime and it examines how the dramaturgical practices of contemporary theatre allow us to rethink the possibilities of this aesthetic experience.
The hypothesis for this research is that theatre is an event of sensation and thought, and that it provides a distinctive spatio-temporal framework which enables a productive reassessment of the sublime and related questions about representation, appearance, desire, mimesis, and affect. Methodologically, the central aim of this project is to re-contextualise the sublime within the theatrical performing arts in an approach that examines dramaturgical practices as material forms of thought. This means that rather than conventionally philosophising about theatre, the project will identify ways of philosophising out of dramaturgical practices and theatre events, following a methodology of immanent aesthetic critique inspired by the work of Theodor W. Adorno and Alain Badiou. The aesthetic practices and events in question are selected dramatic texts and performances by major European theatre makers whose avant-garde theatrical styles enable a rethinking of human experience at some remove from the instrumental ‘means-ends’ logic of everyday life. This art of the theatre is concerned with the problem of the body and the possibilities of representation and expression at the limits of the theatrical frame. Specifically, the project focuses on the dramatic theatre by Howard Barker (UK) who calls his work a ‘theatre of catastrophe’, the radical directorial approaches and productions by Romeo Castellucci (Italy), the multi-media work of theatre and performance artist Jan Fabre (Belgium), and the poetic, feminist collaboration of Ariane Mnouchkine and Hélène Cixous (France). The focus on drama, theatre and performance represents a new shift of attention within the discourse of the sublime away from literature and the visual arts (where Romantic poetry, landscape painting, and conceptual art have been the traditional sites of sublime aesthetic experience) towards the performing arts. The project will explore how the art of theatre is capable of offering reconsiderations of foundational aesthetic ideas.
Co-operative art techniques
Project sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund
The project is part of a collaborative research group studying different layers of the fundamental interdependency between art and technique. Against approaches in art theory and history, which operate with dichotomies between form and material, design and execution etc., we share a decisive interest in artistic processes, in practical procedures, and the skills involved in art making as well as their tradition.
Within this framework the project focuses on a select group of art techniques, defined by the co-operative implication of factors or components, which are as such neither generated nor fully controllable by the executing artist. The project’s participants will study specific procedures of printmaking and sculptural techniques in early modern period (16/17th ct.) as well as in early modernity (19th ct.). – Involved are procedures such as the casts from nature, nature prints, photograms or the chliché verre.
Based on a range of case studies, the project will show how the above mentioned co-operative aspect in the techne of fine arts was exposed (or hidden) in their esthetics and in which way these co-operative moments informed the status of these specific artistic work practices within the wider framework of questions about authorship, of the value and order of visual media and human artes. A further research question is how this deepened constellation of techne shaped since the mid19 century some of the long lasting narratives of Art History.
Solid like Water, Liquid like Iron. Masculinities in German and Italian Literature since 1968
Where are the differences and similarities between the representation of masculinities in works of German and Italian literature from 1968 to the present day? Which socio-cultural conditions shape these differences and similarities? How might gender concepts explain them? This research project aims to contribute to the integration of men's studies into comparative literature, carrying out a comparative analysis of literary masculinities in consideration of current perspectives of gender studies. The purpose of the study is also to shed light on the motivic opposition between 'liquid', supple and seducing male characters and the 'solid', firm and stubborn nature of others. Transnational and local narratives will be also highlighted and critically reflected upon for literary analysis.
A comparative analysis of literary masculinities in works from adjacent cultural areas offers the opportunity to grasp the plurality and ambivalence of this social and cultural construct. The motif of 'liquid' and 'solid' masculinities refers to the diverse variations and transformations of male narratives and identities within the literary experimentation field. Consequently, stereotypical ideas and dichotomies can be problematized by paradoxes, parodies, and masking. In addition, relationships among 'liquid' and 'solid' masculinities as well as towards female characters should point out the significance of the relational construction of masculinity and its decisiveness in investigating literary masculinities patterns.
This research project focuses primarily on the relationship between text and context, whereby it also examines narrative and performative representations of concrete constellations of characters. Because gender encodings only become meaningful through their occurrence in socio-cultural relations, the social background plays a decisive role in such text-analytical questions. To this end it appears expedient to apply discourse-theoretical, post-structuralist and psychoanalytical perspectives as well as intertextual, narrative and motif-analytical approaches.