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Social Psychology and Social Anthropology Section

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At the centre of the interests of the section “social psychology and social anthropology” are theoretical and empirical discussions of social and cultural life. The section focuses on complex relationships between individuals, groups or communities as well as on the relationships that individuals maintain with themselves.


About us

The section “social psychology and social anthropology” is an interdisciplinary unit of the department of social science that connects contemporary social sciences with cultural studies. It is characterized by its studies in cultural and action-orientated psychology and social and cultural anthropology. Close collaborations with other sections, faculties and research departments are maintained. Characteristic of the section is its unique systematic integration of cultural psychology in both social scientific teaching programmes and research projects.

The section is orientated towards own and foreign cultures. We study local and distant phenomena and their interrelatedness. Knowledge and discourses, practices and subjectivities, media and technologies, ways of life, mentalities and identities are our matters of concern both in their historical emergence and their contemporary formation. This includes our special interest in social studies of knowledge, science studies and the history of science, in particular in relation to psychology, social and cultural anthropology and their effects on practices of daily life.

As members of this section we study complex phenomena which have become characteristic of a ‘glocal’ world. These include in particular:

  • Foreign and own cultures:
    • cultural exchange, intercultural communication and competence
    • hybrid and transitory identities
    • accelerated areas of life, dynamic practical relationships with oneself and one’s surroundings, conflicting norms, values and practices, and ambiguous guidelines for living in highly differentiated societies
  • Social studies of knowledge:
    • indigenous knowledge and indigenization of science
    • cultural and psychosocial effects of engineered and mediated knowledge societies
    • scientific, (bio-)technological and politically mediated enhancement of the human
    • successive transformations of knowledge of the human and the – gradual or abrupt – change of human beings themselves
    • history of psychology and of social and cultural anthropology
  • Transformations, conflict and violence:
    • multifarious forms of physical, mental or symbolic violence and their development
    • culture and cultural changes of the Mediterranean
    • controversial effects of media and technologies

These key thematic interests shape our research projects and teaching programmes at all levels: Bachelor, Master, PhD. In all programmes, research oriented seminars are obligatory. Students learn to conduct their own theoretically and methodologically advanced research projects.

Empirical projects are based on interpretative and practice-oriented methods. Comparative, especially cross-cultural studies focus on indigenous and global knowledge and the ways of life, practices and subjectivities connected to these. We teach hermeneutic and ethnographic methods for social research and cultural analysis. Students’ core competences are the basis for independent conduct of qualitative methods.

Profile und Schwerpunkte in der Sektion Sozialpsychologie und -anthropologie: