Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

About the Center of Excellence (1st funding phase, 2006–2012)

The Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration“ is a joint project for research on the Kulturwissenschaften at the University of Konstanz. Established in the framework of the nationwide Excellence Competition of October 2006, the Center is currently being funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) until October 2012. read more…

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What is our objective?

With the Center, we are attempting to develop a new model for research in the humanities and social sciences. The individual components of the Center are related to one another in such a way that quiet, secluded  research can take place, while at the same time encouraging lively forums, debates on controversies, and stimulating lectures. We wish to create milieus for intensive collaborative work without losing the innovative quality of individualized research. A great value will be placed on an international and general social perspective when articulating and validating the theses and outcomes of Konstanz-based researchers.

Why this topic?

What inspires society and what interests scholars are not always the same. Research on the cultural dimension of integration has taken place in Konstanz for some time already. Yet it is only in recent years that “culture“ has mutated into a keyword that can be heard and seen almost everywhere. The idea is that it can also help us understand problems of a social order. The Center will have contributions to make to these debates without however giving rhetorical advice on how better to achieve cultural integration. As a joint research project, the Center does not aim at providing short-term or mid-term solutions to social problems. Instead, it will be dedicated observing and describing those problems appropriately, i.e., in a manner that is always appropriately complex.

Using the term culture, the Center would like to start identifying sites in which processes of integration and disintegration overlap and can be observed. As the result of empirical research which attempts to work across epochs and take account of all social levels, the concept of culture should gain in significance again, leading to the formation of new theories. We understand culture not as a stock of unquestionable things in common but as a zone in which differences and transitions are produced. This zone contains of dislocations and dysfunctionalities as well as the possibility of successfully creating meaning. These are the important working hypotheses of our research.

How do we conduct the research?

Intellectual milieus cannot be forced into existence, but they can in most cases be encouraged intelligently. Hence, the Center does not have a five-year plan or a central thematic agenda which all scholars are bound to. Our research practices are committed to a principle of dedicated decentralization, in thematic as well as methodological and institutional terms. In the Institute for Advanced Study in Konstanz, every fellow can also isolate themselves for a time. A coordinated program study in the doctoral program will offer doctoral students a stimulating environment in which to develop their own creativity. Colleagues on a project will at any time be able to hold workshops and colloquia which advance their own research. In the Intranet, new web-based forms of exchange are being tested. International publishing is explicitly supported.

Events archive 2006–2012

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The Center of Excellence is supported by the DFG.

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