Contact

Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg
Research Centre
Genealogy of the Present
Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118
26129 Oldenburg

Director

Prof. Dr. Thomas Alkemeyer

+49 441/798-4622

Management

Dr. Nikolaus Buschmann

+49 441/798-4849

Event archive

Events 2020

Workshop: The Design of the Social, the Social Imaginary and the Political (PD Dr. Heike Delitz)

University of Oldenburg, 23 January 2020

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

Of course, the fact that the future has become problematic does not just apply since today. Reinhart Koselleck calls this the modern experience par excellence: since around 1800, expectation has taken the place of experience. And yet new, serious social problems are emerging every day – from climate change, wars and migration to new desires for collective identity and deepening social inequality. Last but not least, democracy seems to be under a new threat: This is the problem facing public interest design. Based on the assumption that modern democracy is the only form of politics in which problems are understood as common, individual problems which are addressed together, it is an attempt to shape the public interest. In contrast to Social Design, PID is neither about a joint shaping as such, nor about design in the public interest (e.g. ‘Design for the other 90%’), but rather about shaping the political – along the lines of the form that ‘the political’ takes in modern democracy. The workshop will focus on the role of public interest design as well as on the social background and the clarification of what kind of political form a ‘modern democracy’ actually is.

The workshop takes place on 23 January 2020 from 9:00 to 13:00 in room A03 1-109. Participation in the event is only possible upon registration. The following texts, which will be available on Stud.IP, serve as a basis:

Design and society: claim and social positioning 

  • J. Busmann, Salus Publica Suprema Lex. Über den Wert des Öffentlichen, in: Chr. Rodatz, P. Smolarski (Hg.), Was ist Public Interest Design? Beiträge zur Gestaltung öffentlicher Interessen. Bielefeld 2018, daraus 203-206; 
  • A. Reckwitz, Die Erfindung der KreativitätZum Prozess gesellschaftlicher Ästhetisierung, Berlin 2012, daraus 182-195

The “imaginary”

  • C. Castoriadis, Gesellschaft als imaginäre Institution, Frankfurt/M. 1984, daraus 241-255

The “political”

  • Ch. Mouffe, Die Politik und das Politische, in: Dies., Über das Politische. Wider die kosmopolitische Illusion, Frankfurt/M. 2007, daraus 16-31;
  • Cl. Lefort, Fortdauer des Theologisch-Politischen? Wien 1999, daraus 49-61  

Please register via Stud.IP.
PD Dr. Heike Delitz is researching in the DFG project “Architectural Modes of Collective Existence” at the University of Bamberg and teaches in the Department of Media Design and Interior Design at the University of Wuppertal.

http://www.heike-delitz.de

Lecture: Designing the Political (or: What is Public Interest Design?) (PD. Dr. Heike Delitz)

University of Oldenburg, 22 January 2020

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

The interdisciplinary series of events focuses on the question of how contemporary society deals with a future that seems to have become a problem. For example, diagnoses of climate change, social inequality or economic decline suggest interventions in the present in order to correct feared undesirable developments or to tap unused future potential. This entanglement of crisis definition and postulate of intervention  is driving a multitude of local initiatives worldwide under the keyword “social design” for the targeted shaping of bodies, things, architecture, landscapes and even entire forms of life. The series of events sheds light on the historical genesis and creative power of these initiatives and questions the political moment inherent in the current aestheticisation of the social.

The lecture is open to the university public in room A06 0-001.

PD Dr. Heike Delitz is researching in the DFG project “Architectural Modes of Collective Existence” at the University of Bamberg and teaches in the Department of Media Design and Interior Design at the University of Wuppertal.

http://www.heike-delitz.de

Events 2019

Workshop: What is: Designing the Social? (Prof. Dr. Thomas Etzemüller)

University of Oldenburg, 05 December 2019

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

“Social Design” has a positive aspiration: The people shall participate in the architectural shaping of the environment and contribute their own needs. But it is still experts who control planning processes and design. Certainly, the people are central to their work – but how? In the lecture and the workshop, the genealogy of a practice shall be examined which, in the 20th and 21th century, operated under the name of either “social engineering”, “nudging”, or “social design”. These approaches are based upon the idea that society is regulated not according to schematic and ideological guidelines but by focusing on the “human measure”, as an essential formulation of architectural theory reads. Which power relations are incorporated in these forms of participatory practices? Are overpowering relations and an orientation towards the common good mutually exclusive or are they linked in a highly ambivalent way?

The workshop will take place on 5 December 2019 from 9:00 to 13:00 in room A03 1-109. Participation in the event is only possible upon registration.

Please register via Stud.IP

In preparation, please read the following texts, which are available for download on Stud.IP

Thomas Etzemüller, “Brasilia als Experimentalraum und Gesamtkunstwerk”, in: Stefan Böschen/Matthias Groß/Wolfgang Krohn (Hg.), Experimentelle Gesellschaft. Das Experiment als wissensgesellschaftliches Dispositiv, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2017, S. 269-289.

Siegfried Giedion, Die Herrschaft der Mechanisierung. Ein Beitrag zur anonymen Geschichte. Frankfurt am Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt 1982 (Auszüge).

Prof. Dr. Thomas Etzemüller teaches as a professor for cultural history of modernity at the Institute for History of the University of Oldenburg.

https://uol.de/thomas-etzemueller

Lecture: Focus on the human being? Social design – an idea of the 20th century (Prof. Dr. Thomas Etzemüller)

Carl of Ossietzky University Oldenburg, 04.12.2019

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

The interdisciplinary series of events focuses on the question of how contemporary society deals with a future that seems to have become a problem. For example, diagnoses of climate change, social inequality or economic decline suggest interventions in the present in order to correct feared undesirable developments or to tap unused future potential. This entanglement of crisis definition and postulate of intervention is driving a multitude of local initiatives worldwide under the keyword “social design” for the targeted shaping of bodies, things, architecture, landscapes and even entire forms of life. The series of events sheds light on the historical genesis and creative power of these initiatives and questions the political moment inherent in the current aestheticisation of the social.

The lecture will be open to the university public on 4 December 2019 from 18:00 to 19:30 in room A06 0-001.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Etzemüller teaches as a professor for cultural history of modernity at the Institute for History of the University of Oldenburg.

https://uol.de/thomas-etzemueller

Workshop: Design philosophy as a critical theory of design (Prof. Dr. Daniel Martin Feige)

University of Oldenburg, 26 November 2019

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

The practices and discourses of “social design” are understood by most designers as politically and ethically emancipatory projects. To look at corresponding practices and discourses from the perspective of a critical theory of design, means to emphasise their ambivalence: They are neither simply ideology nor progress in the consciousness of freedom, but potentially bear traits of both. The workshop will ask (against the background of the classical texts by Adorno and Wellmer as well as a side view of Burckhardt and Flusser) whether “social design” is part of the solution or part of the problem – and to what extent this alternative could be a false alternative.

The workshop will take place on 26 November 2019 from 9:00 to 13:00 in room A03 1-109. Participation in the event is only possible upon registration.

Please register via Stud.IP.

In preparation, please read the following texts, which are available for download on Stud.IP:

Theodor W. Adorno, „Funktionalismus heute“, in: Theodor W. Adorno, Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft I. Prismen. Ohne Leitbild, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 1977, S. 375-395.

Lucius Burckhardt, „Design ist unsichtbar“, in: Klaus T. Edelmann und Gerrit Terstiege (Hg.), Gestaltung Denken. Grundlagentexte zu Architektur und Design, Basel: Birkhäuser 2010, S. 211-217.

Vilém Flusser, „Der Krieg und der Stand der Dinge“, in: Ders., Vom Stand der Dinge. Eine kleine Philosophie des Designs, Göttingen: Steidl 1997, S. 35-39.

Albrecht Wellmer, „Kultur und industrielle Produktion. Zur Dialektik von Moderne und Postmoderne“, in: Merkur 37 (1983), S. 133-145.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Martin Feige teaches as a professor for philosophy and aesthetics in the Department of Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design.

http://www.abk-stuttgart.de/personen/daniel-martin-feige.html
https://abk-stuttgart.academia.edu/DanielMartinFeige

Lecture: The form of things as the shaping of our practice. On the aesthetics and criticism of design (Prof. Dr. Daniel Martin Feige)

University of Oldenburg, 25 November 2019

The event is part of the series of events “Schöne neue Welt. Wie die Gegenwart ihre Zukunft gestaltet” (“Brave New World. How the Present Shapes its Future”), organised by the Wissenschaftliches Zentrum “Genealogie der Gegenwart” (WiZeGG) (Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” (WiZeGG)) in cooperation with the Graduiertenschule für Gesellschafts- und Geisteswissenschaften (3GO) (Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (3GO)) in the winter semester 2019_20. The series of events consists of a total of four units, each comprising a lecture and a workshop.

The interdisciplinary series of events focuses on the question of how contemporary society deals with a future that seems to have become a problem. For example, diagnoses of climate change, social inequality or economic decline suggest interventions in the present in order to correct feared undesirable developments or to tap unused future potential. This entanglement of crisis definition and postulate of intervention is driving a multitude of local initiatives worldwide under the keyword “social design” for the targeted shaping of bodies, things, architecture, landscapes and even entire forms of life. The series of events sheds light on the historical genesis and creative power of these initiatives and questions the political moment inherent in the current aestheticisation of the social.

The lecture will be open to the university public on 25 November 2019 from 18:00 to 19:30 in Room V03 0-C003.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Martin Feige teaches as a professor of philosophy and aesthetics in the Department of Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design.

http://www.abk-stuttgart.de/personen/daniel-martin-feige.html
https://abk-stuttgart.academia.edu/DanielMartinFeige

Our common future (viability)?

A long evening of discussion in the Polyester, 07 June 2019

Lectures by and discussion with Dr. Daniela Gottschlich (University of Flensburg; diversu e.V., Lüneburg) and Dr. Björn Wendt (University of Münster).

In view of scarce resources, growing social inequality and climate change, the future does not seem to offer any scope for shaping a better world. Instead, it is becoming increasingly likely that crisis developments will continue to further intensify. Can there even be a “common future” for modern plural societies, as the title of one of the most important documents on the concept of sustainability proclaims? And how open should the envisaged future be in order to satisfy the diverging interests and needs of plural societies? Or is the utopia of the one a dystopia of the other?

Ways out of the present.

Migration Society 2040 in the Exerzierhalle, 06 June 2019

Performance by Fatih Çevikkollu (cabaret artist and actor) and panel discussion with Fatih Çevikkollu, Dr. Max Czollek (poet; essayist; curator and member of the poetry collective G13), Prof. Dr. Aladin El-Mafaalani (FH Münster University of Applied Sciences; Head of Department in the Ministry for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration in Düsseldorf), Prof. Dr. Yasemin Karakaşoğlu (University of Bremen; Chairman of the Council for Migration) and Sheila Mysorekar (journalist and chairwoman of the association ”New German Media Professionals”).

What will, how can and how should the “migration society 2040” look like? Will there still be nation states then? How natural will it be to move across borders? And what effect will answers to such questions have on the shaping of the present? Questions like this and similar ones will be examined, smiled at and taken seriously in cabaret, journalistic, artistic and academic terms.

The imaginary of the algorithm.

Scenarios of a digitalised future in the Edith Russ House for Media Art, 05 June 2019

Lecture performance by Zach Blas (artist in residence at the Edith Russ House) and panel discussion with Nele Heise (media scholar; project collaborator at iRights e.V., Otherwise Network), Dr. Robert Seyfert (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Prof. Dr. Tilo Wesche (University of Oldenburg).

Shaping the digital future is one of the most urgent challenges of the present. What this future will look like, however, is controversial. The event focuses on the network of expectations and concerns in the face of digital change on the levels of art and science, condensed in the keyword algorithm: What impact do algorithms have on our everyday life? How does the digital transformation influence communication, social relations and social cohesion? How is it already changing our perception of the world and of ourselves and thus our identity?

Events 2018

Zukunftswerkstätten (Workshops of the future) “Sustainability - Digitalisation – Migration”

University of Oldenburg, 06-07 September 2018

The statement that the future was better in the past than today is a very common diagnosis of the present. Whether it is accurate or not can hardly be decided, but it does provoke questions: What happened to the future? How do we, with regard to sustainability, migration or digitalisation, think about how we want to live together in 20 or 30 years? Who ‘makes’ the future? And how do blueprints of the future affect the here and now?

Further information.

Lecture series “Musical orders of knowledge”

University of Oldenburg, summer semester 2018

How is knowledge produced? How is it recognised, stored and distributed? These questions are the focus of the lecture series “Musical Orders of Knowledge”. In addition to concrete relations between music and knowledge, the lectures also deal with artistic, popular and academic knowledge in general. Special attention will be paid to the categories by which musical knowledge is ordered – for example, gender, history, cultural identity or genre - and the function of this order. 

The lecture series is organised by the Department of Cultural History of Music and the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group “Music History on Stage” of the Institute of Music in cooperation with the Research Training Group “Self-Making”, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Women’s and Gender Studies and the Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present”. The public lectures take place every Monday from 18.00 hrs in the library hall (Campus Haarentor, Uhlhornsweg 49-55).

Further information.

Events 2017

Author’s workshop “Diagnoses of the present”

University of Oldenburg, 04-07 April 2017

The workshop will discuss contributions to a publication that systematically opens a field of research for empirical studies and theoretical considerations. In contrast to (sociological, philosophical and historical) research approaches which themselves make diagnoses of contemporary or past presences, the aim of the approach chosen here is to analyse these diagnoses, their production and social enabling conditions. In addition to the genre of diagnosis, the less explicit diagnostic implications of other representations of the social will be examined in a context-specific manner. Such an analysis of different ‘constellations of the diagnostic’ thus takes into account the formats that ascribe the status of the diagnosis to themselves or are explicitly identified as diagnoses, as well as forms of articulation whose diagnostic moment unfolds rather implicitly and is perceived as such.

Events 2015

German-Japanese Workshop “Genealogy of the Subject”

University of Oldenburg, 01-03. December 2015

Looking at subjectivity from a genealogical perspective means to examine its emergence from social, intellectual-historical and, above all, cultural constellations. Following this understanding, the workshop will ask about the interrelation of European and Japanese perspectives on the understanding of subjectivity. The philosophical history and the concept of subjectivity will be introduced and explained using empirical topics such as the respective understanding of culture and body. The change in Japanese self-understanding after the Fukushima catastrophe will also be questioned.

Registration is requested at wizegg@uol.de

 

Workshop “Transgenerationality. Drafts and counter drafts on a mechanism for cultural transfer”.

University of Oldenburg, 25 November 2015

With Dr. Ulrike Jureit (Hamburg Institute for Social Research) and PD. Dr. Christian Schneider (University of Kassel, Institute for Psychoanalysis)

In the last ten years, generational research has gained substance, above all through interdisciplinary exchange in both theoretical and conceptual terms. Notwithstanding serious professional differences, the concept of generation has become a basic academic concept which, despite a certain lack of clarity, is often referred to. With regard to the basic theoretical assumptions, the concept of transgenerational processes and their transfer to other disciplines and research contexts is of particular relevance. Analytically, this was and is not exclusively advantageous. The complexity of a transgenerational concept, which in the “drama of Oedipus” identifies a conflictive generational entanglement with a compulsion to repetition, regularly atrophies into an imprinting theory which  is hardly able to detach itself from its therapeutic setting. The question to be asked is whether the difference between the analysis of parent-child interactions and a generation theory oriented towards cultural history contains an added value in social theory that would also be of interest across disciplines. The approaches to cultural memory theory and the intergenerational transmission of historical consciousness, which have largely been exhausted, could also benefit from this. The question as to why transgenerationality as a concept of cultural transfer developed its enormous attractiveness, especially in the context of Holocaust research, seems revealing.
 
Textual basis: Schneider, Christian (2004): Der Holocaust als Generationsobjekt. Generationengeschichtliche Anmerkungen zu einer deutschen Identitätsproblematik. Mittelweg 36 (13), 56-73.

On the evening before the workshop, PD Dr. Christian Schneider will give a lecture as part of the lecture series “Processes of Recognition” of the DFG-GRK “Self-making”. 

Workshop “Diagnoses of the Present. Modelling of society in an interdisciplinary perspective”.

University of Oldenburg, 08-10 October 2015

Under the buzzwords of the “control society”, the “normalisation society”, the “creative society” or the “contingency society” – to name just a few – a plethora of diagnoses of the present are currently struggling for interpretative power in the attention arena of “reflexive modernity” (Beck), which in turn is itself such a diagnosis. By making paradigmatic statements about reality, diagnoses of the present reveal it not only as reality but also as a specific reality. Authenticated by the academic authority with which they are charged, they have always helped to shape social practice as symbolic representations of the “social imaginary” (Castoriadis).
Diagoses of the present can be understood in many ways as performative elements of practice in that they a) (implicitly) guide practice, b) function as an appeal for change, or c) can become effective as (elements or drafts of) practice – and thus become tangible as an organon of cultural self-transformation. Since the 1970s, for example, social awareness of ecological issues has been developing in transformation scenarios that project human coexistence under the sign of economic and ecological “sustainability” (e.g. in alternative care communities). In a comparable way, under the guiding concept of “resilience”, concepts are establishing in developmental psychology, education and the health sciences, which are aimed at training the resilience of the individual in a “risk society” that is getting out of hand and reconfiguring it in turn as a “prevention society”. In contrast, talk of the “rule of the algorithm” evokes the idea of the complete predictability of human behaviour in a world seemingly controlled by machines, in which the contingency of social processes is absorbed by formalised procedures.
Under certain conditions, diagnoses of the present thus prove themselves to be creative acts that point beyond the existing and are capable of extending the limits of meaning in a culture. They can lead to intervene in reality, which they also diagnose. These creative anticipations (of other social conditions, institutions, ways of life etc.) are in turn influenced by the images produced and disseminated by the media in which people live. Accordingly, when analysing social self-design, different media come into view: They range from sociological analyses that attempt to illuminate society as a whole, to detailed studies that deal with publicly discussed developments (such as juvenile delinquency, consumption, demography, etc.), to enquêtes that develop politically viable proposals for solutions, and statistics that claim to make visible hidden developments and conditions. In a similar way, the life sciences, cultural studies or psychology, for example, produce their own epistemological foundations for human perception and the conceptualisation of social action. The programme of these reflections can be found in the practices of social movements and takes on a meaningful form in images and cultural performances (of the body, sport, etc.). Similar developments can be observed in architecture, which attempts to redesign the habitat of people and thus the social relationships of entire societies from the diagnosis of its own present. In this sense, landscapes can be analysed as designed imaginations of society, sports games as performative representations of the formation of social order, identities as “designs” of cultural distinctions, crisis imaginations as performances of social self-descriptions, or prevention programmes as drafts of socio-political contingency management.
The workshop is interested in how (social) reality is modelled in current diagnoses of the present. How do different academic disciplines describe the present? In what way (and in what media form) do these descriptions help shape reality and its perception? What are the basic academic assumptions and social concepts of order on which the models are based? It is also focused on the interfaces between specialist and general knowledge at which diagnoses of the present are negotiated: How do diagnoses of the present arise in everyday practices, and to what extent do they simultaneously precede these practices in the sense of a “performative feedback” (Koschorke)? To what extent, then, can practices be understood as orders of execution to which diagnoses of the present are (implicitly) inscribed?

The aim of the workshop is to bring into view the social imaginary contained in model formations of diagnoses of the present and the way they are produced, also in the sense that the common opposition of fact and fiction is undermined:
1. It shall be asked which (epistemic, anthropological, social-theoretical, etc.) basic assumptions about reality and the way it is shaped flow into the various diagnoses of the present, to what extent they solidify into socially conventionalised knowledge (or conversely, knowledge dissolves in this process) and which (alternative) dimensions and possibilities of the social make them invisible in the process.
2. In particular, the specific forms of production and the respective handling of diagnoses of the present in the various academic disciplines will be examined. The focus will be on a) the methodological construction and implicit empiricism of diagnoses of the present, b) the socio-material arrangements (laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms, etc.) and techniques (algorithms, statistics, testing procedures, etc.) of knowledge production, and c) the positioning of observers in the academic field, who are themselves tied to the material conditions of that field.
3. Against this background, the phenomenon of diagnostics of the present and its conceptualisation (as models, diagnoses, analyses etc.) will be reflected upon. The attempt to capture diagnostics of the present in an interdisciplinary way would then prove itself to be a procedure to assure oneself of the present in the sense of a second-order observation.
 

Format and procedure
The workshop is interdisciplinary, in order to be able to investigate the interactions, translations and migratory movements in and between different social knowledge areas on the one hand, and to discuss the intertwining of the exemplary nature and practice of these collective self-designs from the respective professional perspective on the other. The question is asked why, under which conditions and in which subjects certain diagnoses of the present meet a sounding board. The exchange between the social sciences, humanities, cultural studies and natural sciences will focus less on ready-made research results and more on innovative questions and research approaches in order to open interdisciplinary avenues into a field of research that has so far been scarcely dealt with, or only by individual subjects.

Speakers 
Prof. Dr. Elke Bippus (Zurich University of the Arts)
Prof. Dr. Tilman Borsche (University of Hildesheim)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Etzemüller (University of Oldenburg)
Prof. Dr. Antonia Grunenberg (University of Oldenburg)
Prof. Dr. Frank Hillebrandt (Open University of Hagen)
Dr. David Kuchenbuch (Justus Liebig University Gießen)
Dr. Ariane Leendertz (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)
Prof. Dr. Herbert Mehrtens (TU Braunschweig)
Prof. Dr. Käte Meyer-Drawe (Ruhr University Bochum)
Dr. Hanno Pahl (University of Lucerne)
Dr. Tobias Peter (University of Freiburg)
Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPI for History of Science Berlin)

With the friendly support of the

Workshop “Prevention, intervention and awareness raising. On genealogy and cultural effectiveness of diagnoses of the present”.

University of Oldenburg, 01-02 August 2015

The workshop deals with the “genealogy” (Foucault) and “cultural effectiveness” (Koschorke) of diagnoses of the present in different social contexts of action such as the health care system, the labour market or environmental policy from a historical, sociological, cultural studies and philosophical perspective – in other words, it takes up questions such as those we have developed in the context of the WiZeGG. Accordingly, we understand diagnoses of the present as performative elements of practice in the sense that they a) (implicitly) guide practice, b) act as an appeal for change, or c) can themselves become effective as (elements or drafts of) practice – and thus become tangible as an organon of cultural self-transformation. Thus, for example, human dealings with “natural hazards” since the 18th century have expressed a specific attitude towards the future, which one no longer approached passively but tried to work on actively – as a preventive creation of security. Against this background, since the 1970s, social awareness of ecological issues has developed into transformation scenarios which project human coexistence under the sign of economic and ecological “sustainability”. In a comparable way, concepts have been established in the world of work and the health care system which are geared towards constituting the individual as a “self-responsible” subject of a “risk society” reconfigured as a “prevention society”.

The workshop is less concerned with presenting elaborate research results, but rather with discussing research approaches (especially the “added value” of a genealogical or praxeological approach) and reporting from one’s own research workshop. The format provides for a short input, e.g. based on a previously submitted text, followed by a discussion along the lines of the question outlined above (especially with regard to the performative dimension of diagnoses of the present under the aspects of prevention, intervention and sensitisation).

Organisers Nikolaus Buschmann, Malte Thießen, Rea Kodalle in cooperation with Nicolai Hannig (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich),

Participants Matthias Leanza (Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg), Frieder Vogelmann (University Bremen), Yen Sulmowski (Leuphana University Lüneburg) as well as from Oldenburg Maxi Berger, Tomke Hinrichs, Christoph Haker, Nico Lüdke, Isabel Schnieder

Date 1 July 2015, from 7 pm: GET TOGETHER in the Caldero Bar, Am Markt 23, 26122 Oldenburg, Telephone: 0441-36137080

2 July, 10 - 18 hrs: Workshop, Room A03 1-109

Lecture series and workshops “Genealogy of the present”

University of Oldenburg, winter semester 2014/15

Dealing with the contingency of social developments is one of the greatest challenges individuals, organisations and societies face today. Social science interpretations of modernity as a “risk society” respond to this historical experience – and, at the same time, contribute to its anchoring in modern self-understanding. The WiZeGG takes this self-conception as an opportunity to ask in a lecture series about the development of the contingency society from its disparate beginnings. The discussion will take place from the perspective of different disciplines: What is to be understood by a “genealogy of the present” and what knowledge gain is associated with this approach? How can the concept of “modernity” be conceptualised within the framework of a genealogical research programme? To what extent does the experience of and dealing with contingency represent a specific characteristic of the epoch referred to as “modernity”? Against this background, how can the connection between subject formation and coping with contingency be described anew?

In the workshops following the lecture series, primarily methodological questions were discussed and a common conceptual work (for example, based on current research projects, materials or texts) was undertaken. The workshops were primarily aimed at members of the centre and the participants of the WiZeGG colloquium.

Frank Hentschel “What does modern music history have to do with contingency?”

University of Oldenburg, 10 February 2015

The lecture will present the thesis that, since the late 18th century, composers and music writers have endeavoured to understand musical works as non-contingent artefacts or music history as a non-contingent process. Presumably not least in order to legitimise the dignity of this acoustic art as the object of a (new) science and to elevate the practising persons to the status of the educated middle classes, “de-contingenting strategies” were developed to fulfil this claim. In this sense, the lecture considers the concept of music, the idea of musical logic, the idea of musical truth, developmental models of compositional practice as well as the concept of canon – all of them terms and ideas that were only invented in “modernity” – as strategies of de-contingency.

Frank Hentschel “What does modern music history have to do with contingency?”

University of Oldenburg, 11 February 2015

10.00-13.00 hours, A3 1-109

Basis for the discussion:

In the WiZeGG colloquium, in preparation for the session with the musicologist Frank Hentschel, his text “Neue Musik in soziologischer Perspektive: Fragen, Methoden, Probleme”, in: NZfM 5 / 2010 was read. Full version of the text at: (http://www.musikderzeit.de/de_DE/journal/current/showarticle,31287.html)

In the workshop, contingency will be further discussed on the basis of selected quotations and pieces. By adding medieval documents to the audio samples, a comparative perspective in particular will be stimulated.

Target group:

The workshops are primarily aimed at the members of the centre and the participants of the WiZeGG colloquium. Free places will be given to interested colleagues and young researchers.

TEXT and REGISTRATION via

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen “Welfare management between steering and potentialisation. Six diagnostics of the present”

University of Oldenburg, 27 January 2015

Modern society describes itself as a knowledge society, innovation society or reflexive modernity, which makes its self-observation the basis for further operation. This constellation does not only pose theoretical challenges to social science analysis of the present. Rather, it is precisely politics and management, citizens and employees who, under conditions of growing complexity and self-referentiality, are faced with the challenge of reinventing themselves. The tension between the old imperative of control and the new imperative of creating change and new possibilities gives rise to paradoxical demands on the possibilities of action in modern society. Six critical diagnoses of the present show how potentialisation becomes the new guiding concept in a contradictory terrain.

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen “Welfare management between steering and potentialisation. Six diagnostics of the present”

University of Oldenburg, 28 January 2015

10.00-13.00, A3 1-109 (REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

Basis for the discussion:

1. The extract from Niels Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen (2003): Discursive analytical strategies,. Understanding Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau, Luhmann (Introduction, Chapter 5) already discussed in the WiZeGG.

2 Another text about the analysed campaign of the Danish Health Policy: Wer ist Yum-Yum? Ein Cartoon-Staat im Werden. / Åkerstrøm Andersen, Niels. Organisation mulimedial: Zum polyphonen Programm der nächsten Organisation. ed. / Steffen Roth; Lukas Schreiber; Ralf Wetzel. Heidelberg : Carl-Auer Verlag, 2010. p. 245-280.

The subject of the workshop is the combination of theory, methodology, and empiricism of a contemporary genealogy. Using empirical material from the field of public management, the participants will discuss how theoretical concepts can be made fruitful in different ways for an investigation of social change processes. In the first part of the workshop, the theoretical and methodological possibilities of researching a genealogy of the present will be discussed on the basis of the text from “discursive analytical strategies” already discussed in the WiZeGG and a short input paper. In the second part of the workshop, exemplary material from an already completed study on Danish health policy will be worked on. It is concerned with a campaign that aims to promote the health awareness of citizens by introducing health games. This case will be critically reflected on in terms of its implications for politics, citizens, and society.

Target group:

The workshops are primarily aimed at the members and relatives of the centre and the participants of the WiZeGG colloquium. Free places will be allocated to interested colleagues and young researchers (please contact Rea Kodalle).

TEXT and REGISTRATION via

Albrecht Koschorke “Self-Tales of Modernity”

University of Oldenburg, 13 January 2015

One exaggerates only slightly when one says that genealogies do the opposite of what they claim to do. According to their claim, they anchor the present in the depths of a past that is supposed to be undeniable and unthinkable. In fact, however, genealogies are constructed from the respective present time, so that the past, not the present, must be considered as a dependent variable. In this sense, modernity has also provided itself with genealogical self-narratives. It portrays itself either as an epoch that strives away from its origins and breaks with them, or as a phase of human development that has been forgotten and has lost its original roots. The latter, more pessimistic version is characterised by concepts of crisis, disenchantment, and – more recently – contingency. Unlike genealogies generally do, it seems to be aimed less at securing validity than at delegitimising one’s own time.

The aim of the lecture will be to trace the inherent logic of such genealogical constructions. In particular, the question will be asked why it is so important for the modern of our days to describe their living conditions as “contingent”.

Albrecht Koschorke “Hegel and us”

University of Oldenburg, 14 January 2015

09.00-12.00, A3 1-109

Basis for the discussion: Excerpts from the manuscript “Hegel und wir” (published by Suhrkamp in 2015: http://www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/hegel_und_wir-albrecht_koschorke_58620.html).

The subject of the workshop will be reflections on a “genealogy of the present” conceived by Hegel and formulated by Albrecht Koschorke in his Frankfurt Adorno Lectures 2013. Suhrkamp will publish a monograph based on this work next spring under the title “Hegel und wir” (“Hegel and us”), extracts of which will serve as the basis for the workshop.

Target group: The workshops are primarily aimed at the members of the centre and the participants of the WiZeGG colloquium. Free places will be allocated to interested colleagues and young researchers (please contact Rea Kodalle).

Events 2014

Nicolai Hannig “Images of disaster. On dealing with natural hazards since 1800”.

University of Oldenburg, 02 December 2014

Natural hazards and risks are an integral part of the entire history of mankind. Protection against these extreme situations, their management, but also overcoming them have always been part of the conditions for social development. However, in the run-up to the present day, people are less and less able to provide for their own protection and are instead entrusting this to appropriate institutions. The human desire for precautions has changed and with it the demands on state measures and guarantees. At the same time, the social and individual relationship with nature has been realigned: New forms of managing fears arose, which were reflected in ever new technical precautions, protection commissions, insurance products and emergency reserves.
The establishment of security, the search for protection and preventive action are to be thought of as variations of one and the same attitude towards the future, which one no longer approached passively but tried to work on actively. The lecture traces the human way of dealing with natural hazards and focuses on contemporary visual worlds since 1800.

To the audio recording of the lecture by Dr. Nicolai Hannig

Nicolai Hannig “Precaution as contingency management. Perspectives and problems of a genealogy of prevention”.

University of Oldenburg, 03 December 2014

10.00-13.00 hours, A3 1-109

Basis for the discussion: Nicolai Hannig: Die Suche nach Prävention. Naturgefahren im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, published in: Historische Zeitschrift 298 (2014).

The participants can expect a discussion about forms of modern prevention and precaution, discussed using the example of dealing with natural hazards in the 19th and 20th century. And it will become clear that prevention was not always the panacea but was often controversial. Associated with this was a change in the view of the future, which one no longer approached passively, but tried to work on actively.

Target group: The workshops are primarily aimed at the relatives and members of the centre and the participants of the WiZeGG colloquium. Free places will be allocated to interested colleagues and young researchers (please contact Rea Kodalle).

TEXT and REGISTRATION via wizegg@uol.de

Teresa Koloma Beck “Paradoxes of Pacifism. Violence and prohibition of violence in the world society”

University of Oldenburg, 18 November 2014

Non-violence is regarded as a distinctive feature of modern enlightened societies. This idea is formulated in the political philosophy of the 17th/18th century and, from the late 19th century onwards, it also gained importance in the practice of politics. In the meantime, the principle of non-violence has become a norm claiming universal validity. Obviously, however, the institutionalisation of this norm has not made the use of physical means of coercion in conflicts disappear. However, it has changed the conditions of the emergence and reproduction of violent conflicts. This is because the universalist norm of non-violence makes violence itself scandalous and causes conflicts in which violence is observed to attract the attention of the world public in a special way. The lecture reconstructs these dynamics in a theoretical and empirical perspective and discusses their sometimes paradoxical effects.

​​​​​​​To the audio recording of the lecture by Dr. Teresa Koloma Beck

Teresa Koloma Beck “Beyond methodological pacifism. On Social Sciences’ Relationship to Violence”.

University of Oldenburg, 19 November 2014

9.00-13.00 hours, A3 1-109

Basis for discussion: Teresa Koloma Beck: Jenseits des Ausnahmezustands: Veralltäglichungsprozesse im Bürgerkrieg (Manuscript of a lecture at the 37th Congress of the German Sociological Association, Plenum 1 “Krieg und Gewalt”, 7 October 2014 in Trier)

Non-violence is regarded as a distinctive feature of modern enlightened societies. This idea is formulated in the political philosophy of the 17th/18th century and, from the late 19th century onwards, it also gained importance in the practice of politics. In the meantime, the principle of non-violence has become a norm claiming universal validity. Obviously, however, the institutionalisation of this norm has not made the use of physical means of coercion in conflicts disappear. However, it has changed the conditions of the emergence and reproduction of violent conflicts. This is because the universalist norm of non-violence makes violence itself scandalous and causes conflicts in which violence is observed to attract the attention of the world public in a special way. The lecture reconstructs these dynamics in a theoretical and empirical perspective and discusses their sometimes paradoxical effects.

(Changed: 2021-04-30)