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Research priority "Cultural Dynamics and Social Transformation"

What cultural processes are foundational for social change? Which dynamics develop in response to the migration of people, ideas and aesthetic forms? How can infrastructure crises be understood from the perspective of cultural studies?

In the context of Cultural Dynamics and Social Transformation, researchers study the cultural phenomena and social negotiation processes ranging from social cohesion and a sense of community to the global mobility of aesthetic and social forms.

At the University of Konstanz, the field of cultural studies can draw on decades of experience involving several Collaborative Research Centres, research groups and Research Training Groups as well as the Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Social Integration". Since 2019, the interdisciplinary Centre for Cultural Inquiry (ZKF) has been coordinating the university's research in the field of cultural studies, promoting new transdisciplinary collaborations and supporting early career researchers. Along with other institutions, the research centre "European Cultures in a Multipolar World", the Research Institute Social Cohesion, the Research Training Group "Changing Frames" and the NOMIS research project "Traveling Forms" are currently involved in the ZKF.

The Centre for Cultural Inquiry strengthens the network among Konstanz cultural scholars as well as with international guests studying the ZKF's respective core topics. On the current topic, "Transforming Infrastructure. Cultural Perspectives", researchers examine questions in the context of infrastructure crises, whether caused by natural disasters, wars or pandemics, as they do not just have logistical and technological dimensions, but cultural ones, too. For example: How and under what conditions does something become infrastructure? What significance do – and did – infrastructures have for people? How do tangible and intangible properties of infrastructures interact? In order to understand the significance and failure of infrastructures in a more fundamental and holistic way, the researchers involved study the topic from the perspective of cultural studies.

"Cultural Dynamics and Social Transformation" involves the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
– 05 "Gender equality"
– 10 "Reduced inequalities"
– 13 "Climate action"
– 16 "Peace, justice and strong institutions"