Society and Culture in Motion | Research in Preparation
Society and Culture in Motion
Martin Luther University Max Planck Institute Max Planck Institute

Research in Preparation

Besides the running research projects, the Research Cluster has several new projects in preparation.

Knowledge exchange in societies of innovation. Europe and
East Asia in interregional comparison

Project Director: Prof Everhard Holtmann
Institute for Political Sciences, Martin-Luther-University

Research-leading idea:
Within the constellation of advanced global networks of goods, migration and traffic as well as the production and proliferation of material and immaterial goods, the critical investigation of controllability of such processes of world-wide inter-regional interaction and intra-national and societal modernisation is assigned to deserve adequate attention. Responsible actors operate under conditions of highly complex heterogeneous demands and uncertainty.
The inter-regional exchange not only generates additional challenges for control mechanisms, it also occurs in border transgressing diffusions and mutual appropriations of controlling experiences to reduce occurring problematisations. 
These inter-state and inter-regional exchange processes are particularly intensive between nation states, which enter developmental stages of economic, social and cultural innovation, and, as currently witnessed in East Asia, permeating multi-layered stages with high transformation potential.
Since 1989/90 the developmental stages of post-communist nations in transformation in the middle east and south of Europe have been equally unplanned, erratic, socially disruptive and held risks in store for the affected.
The experiences that have been gained in particular from the German reunification are termed as important orientating knowledge by the positional elites in transforming East Asian countries. In the case of Vietnam, for example, problems of unification have been already worked out, or the anticipation of the aftermath of unification in the South Korean political design which has to be accomplished.
The outlined future research interest at Martin Luther University pursues a research-strategically twofold rationale: The inter-regional, inter-national and intercultural transfer of knowledge between Europe and Eastern Asia, as well as within Eastern Asia itself is on the one hand the subject of comparative scientific research. On the other hand the scientists participating in this research get actively involved in this knowledge transfer.

Interdisciplinary approach:
The research interest focuses on contemporary developments and problematisations. But development is by far not excluding questions of historical conditionality of contemporary transfer ambitions. The priority program is configured interdisciplinary and the part-taking academic disciplines, political sciences, sociology, law and economics, Japanese studies, history and social anthropology take on the role of leading disciplines. From the spectrum of the social sciences we further find psychology and philosophy as principally connecting to our interdisciplinary outlook. The so called leading disciplines are obliged to systematically structure research questions which are directed towards the East Asian region and its comparison to Europe.



Collaborative Research Center
"Translatio - Travelling elements of epistemic, normative, and material orders"

Project Directors: Prof. Matthias Kaufmann, Prof. Richard Rottenburg
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

The planned Collaborative Research Center will examine the spatial, temporal, and systemic movement of elements of epistemic, normative, and material orders. Our research objects are processes where pieces of theories, technical protocols, artefacts and parts of legal, moral and economic sets of rules travel and become inserted in new environments by translation. The focus of research is on preconditions, process patterns and consequences of travelling elements, as well as on actors' notions of steering, controlling and evaluating the movement of elements and their impacts.

The guiding analytical concept is translation which in our understanding combines approaches from the social sciences (mainly anthropology and sociology: Latour), philosophy (Quine) and text related sciences (Benjamin). Due to our theoretically driven approach we do not only assume to present substantial results in the individual empirical projects of the Research Center but also a considerable contribution to the advancement and consolidation of the kind of translation theory we have in mind as praxis and application oriented. The expected result of the overall research project is a universally applicable methodology for the study of social change which is more appropriate for theoretical and practical problems related to cultural heterogeneity in a world of globalized networks than the existing approaches.