Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research group at Mainz University to study how human beings are categorized

11.01.2013
German Research Foundation approves Research Unit on "Un/doing Differences. Practices in human differentiation"

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the establishment of a new Research Unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz on the topic of “Un/doing Differences. Practices in human differentiation.”

Within the research network, which has been initially established for six years, the eight participating researchers from the fields of Sociology, Anthropology, American Studies, Theater Studies, and German Linguistics will look at the cultural differentiation of humans and investigate how differences between individuals and communities arise or are created, and how these change or are expunged. The coordinator of the new DFG Research Unit is Professor Dr. Stefan Hirschauer of the JGU Institute of Sociology. A Research Unit funded by the German Research Foundation takes the form of a close working alliance between several prominent scholars who plan to collaborate on an innovative research topic over a longer period of time. The general idea behind the establishment of such research groups is to open up new areas of inquiry.

Human differentiation involves the identification or attribution of individuals as members of specific communities and groups in terms of their ethnicity, nationality, language groups, religions, or other factors, as well as intrasocietal differentiations on the basis of characteristics such as age, gender, or performance in school, work, or sports. There is a bewildering array of research fields that already deal with the categorization of humans. The new DFG group will take the corresponding findings as its starting point, but will also transcend these. The group will be thus be studying the important fundamental distinctions that form major research areas such as ethnicity, 'race', nationality, religion, gender – presumably the oldest form of human differentiation from a cultural history standpoint – and performance groups.

These various characteristics used for differentiation are usually studied separately in individual research areas, such as Gender Studies and Race Studies, but also as isolated topics within various disciplines, including Social Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, History, Literature, Linguistics, and Social Psychology. However, there are considerable differences in the approaches taken by the social sciences and the humanities while there is a general consensus that it is necessary to define those universal characteristics common to the practices of cultural categorization and demarcation. "It is our aim to investigate for the first time how the many different social memberships of individuals actually compete with each other in order to demonstrate that people are not merely 'different' but can be distinguished from each other in the social context in various ways – or are not distinguished from each other at all," explained Hirschauer.

Each of the group's eight sub-projects addresses various aspects of the broader issues and, at the same time, sets its own emphases. Two African ethnological and two American Studies projects will be primarily focusing on the factors that determine the cultural lines of demarcation between communities. Four Sociology, Linguistics, and Theater Studies projects will be considering the cultural aspects of the categorization of individuals. Once the project group has completed its work, we may at last understand what conditions obtain to the differentiation of humans and why we assign them to categories, why differences arise and disappear again, and what essentially lies behind our need to categorize humans as 'types'.

Further information:
Professor Dr. Stefan Hirschauer
Sociological Theory and Gender Studies
Institute of Sociology
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)
D 55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-25270
fax +49 6131 39-23728
e-mail: hirschau@uni-mainz.de

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.soziologie.uni-mainz.de/46.php
http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/16075_ENG_HTML.php

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>