The research conducted by the Research Centre “Genealogy of the Present” is interdisciplinary and oriented towards cultural theory and historical genealogy. Using a combination of approaches informed by discourse analysis and praxeology, the participating researchers analyse how knowledge and subject orders that are significant for society as a whole are produced performatively in certain historical and social constellations. The aim is to reconstruct the historical-social imaginary that unfolds in these orders, enters into a practice, which – conveyed through discourses and narratives as well as through the bodies, things, and spaces involved –, can currently be experienced, motivates action in a practice and thus also forms a factor determining the practice.
Geared towards discourse analysis and praxeology, the research takes on perspectives of observation, which can both be integrated or irritated, and according to which every practice is understood as embedded in a discourse and every discourse is understood as practical in so far as it has to be practiced materially. With our methodological-theoretical approach, we, accordingly, do not take a sheer functionalist perspective that merely seeks to trace social order structures. Rather, it is a matter of using discourse and practice analyses to carve out the surpluses, the breaks and the irregularities inserted in the social imaginary, which are contained in these attempts at order and which, under circumstances to be determined in each case, can initiate a de-ordering and re-creation.