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Viadrina Institut für Europa-Studien (IFES)


Bisherige Lehrveranstaltungen an der Europa-Universität Viadrina

Disappearance, Anthropocene, Abandonment. Languages of Social Devastation.

A series of diverse but convergent studies point out at the limitation of conventional categories of the social sciences when trying to account for present phenomena of social catastrophe or devastation. What these diagnoses share is the perception that certain contemporary social phenomena of exclusion, exception, or marginalization are not temporary or accidental anymore but become structural and permanent. In these interpretations notions that used to be considered the basis of modern liberal citizenship regimes – like the individual rights holder, the nation-state, or even society– seem not to be entirely adequate for grasping the ruined landscapes of late capitalism. Rather, this disadjustment may reveal their exhaustion. In this context, the alliances or collaborations between humans and non-humans and the consequent imbrication of the social, the natural and the technological worlds are brought to the fore. For some, this de-centering of central modern categories goes hand in hand with a decentering of the Western and/or Eurocentric anthropocentric assumptions for apprehending the world, and with the concomitant call for alternative epistemologies. In the seminar we will read this mostly recent literature and discuss its implications for the cultural and social sciences as well as its teachings with regard to the political present.

Mobility, Culture, and Society

Cultures and societies have always been mobile. However, since the 20th century mobility seems to have turned into a central feature of social life and a key to understand a globalized world. What does that mean for social, cultural, urban, and work life? How does our mobile everyday affect subjectivities? How can mobility as a concept help us grasp the singularities of the present? After an introduction into the logics of mobility and sedentarism, the seminar will study from the perspective of cultural sociology the increasing interest in movement and circulation after the industrial revolution and their impact on the daily life, especially with regard to the emerging urban environments, discussing also examples from the visual arts. We will then focus on particular problems of mobility with relation to the transformation of the repressive paradigms from a ‘disciplinary society’ with its spaces of enclosure (Foucault) into a ‘society of control’ (Deleuze) that emphasizes navigations and derives. We will discuss the consolidation of speed as a conceptual political category (Virilio), the effects of mobility on aspects like work life (Sennett), consumption and lifestyle (Reckwitz), and the everyday (Crary). We will engage with the emergence of differentiated global mobility regimes in relation to migration and border policies and close with a reflection on the relation of nomadism and mobility to intellectual production and academic life.


Was ist Gewalt und wie kann sie soziologisch erfasst werden? Nach einer Einführung in die verschiedenen Definitionen von Gewalt und deren theoretische Ansätze widmen sich die Doppelsitzungen jeweils konkreten Themenkomplexen der Gewaltforschung aus soziologischer Sicht. Dazu gehören Fragen nach den Akteuren der Gewalt und dem (legitimen) Gewaltmonopol des Staates; den Zusammenhängen von Moderne, Zivilisation und Gewalt; dem Verhältnis von Gewalt zu Bürokratie und Formen der indirekten oder„mittelbaren“ Täterschaft; den Verwicklungen von kolonialer, patriarchaler und genderbezogener Gewalt, sowie Gewalthandlungen in Verbindung mit Widerstands-, emanzipierenden oder revolutionären Prozessen. Im Seminar wird Gewalt als möglicher Ausdruck von sozialen Machtverhältnissen hinterfragt, der sich nicht nur in spektakulären Vorfällen, sondern auch in alltäglichen Handlungen manifestieren kann. Jenseits von eventbezogenen Ansätzen, die sich auf Gewaltausbrüche fokussieren, werden wir Konzepte wie strukturelle, langsame und stille Gewalt diskutieren. Ergänzend zu den Definitionen von Gewalt, die diese mit physischem Leid assoziieren, werden auch Begriffe wie kulturelle, symbolische, und epistemische Gewalt thematisiert. Abschließend werden Fragen der Repräsentation von Gewalt sowie die Möglichkeiten, Gewalt zu überwinden oder aufzulösen, erörtert.

The Refugee: A European Construction?

Cases of forced displacement of populations have taken place all through the history across the globe. However, it is in a particular context in twentieth century’s Europe, that ‘the refugee’ emerges as a specific social figure and a legal category. The seminar studies the evolution of the figure of the refugee since the emergence of a consciousness of the phenomenon of forced displacement at the end of nineteenth century, through its gradual codification in treaties and techniques for managing displaced populations, particularly after World War II, until the more recent arrivals of asylum seekers to Europe since 2015. We will analyse the consequences derived from the definition of the 1951 UN Convention for the Protection of Refugees in terms of the social representations of asylum seekers in mainstream European societies. We will study the conceptual and practical problems posed by the differentiation between ‘legitimate’ refugees and ‘non legitimate’ migrants and explore their affinities with other figures of social exclusion or vulnerability. Focusing on the genealogy of the category will allow us to dismantle the idea that refugees are a universal figure and study it, instead, as an historical construct, the origin and product of the necessities of the time and place in which the category was codified.

Biometric controls in the EU: political and cultural implications

Biometric technologies have become increasingly the object of experimentation and use in the EU for border surveillance and control. While this fast development is difficult to monitor by both civil society and social scientists, it is posing a series of challenges not only in terms of data protection and privacy rights, but also concerning the assumptions and consequences for the definition of the human. What definitions of the border, of the persons crossing it and of the human body are at stake? What kind of subjectivities do they imply, reinforce or reproduce?

European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (EULISA). 2015.
Smart Borders Pilot Project. Report on the technical conclusions of the Pilot (on line). Lodge, Juliet. 2010. Developing Biometrics in the EU. Policy Department C. European Parliament. (online).
Magnet, Shoshana Amielle. 2011. When Biometrics fail. Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity. Durham, Duke University Press.
Torpey, John. 2000. The Invention of the Passport. Surveillance, Citizenship and the State. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Frühere Lehrveranstaltungen

Betreuung von Abschlussarbeiten