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ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft Populäre Kulturen


Human beings and technology aren't defined as mere opposites anymore. On the contrary: Technology has become an integral and omnipresent part of our everyday lives and its referential systems of knowledge, action and orientation.

»Kulturwissenschaftliche Technikforschung« deals with the question of how - that is, in which ways and with which consequences - , but also in how far, technology has inscribed itself into our society and into human beings.

Doing »Kulturwissenschaftliche Technikforschung« means to depart from two main perspectives: On one hand, it departs from the technological objects and how human beings actually handle so-called technological artefacts. On the other hand, »Kulturwissenschaftliche Technikforschung « always investigates the the situatedness of technology in everyday life (»Sitz der Technik im Leben«). The aim of such an approach is the analysis of the various influences technology exerts on the ways we shape our lives. These can be open or hidden and they can be perceived consciously or unconsciously.

The anthropological and ethnographic approach used within the »kulturwissenschaftlichen Technikforschung« (KT) aims at probing the diverse and multiple dimensions of experience in regard to technology. KT departs from the German University Subject »Volkskunde« defined as research looking into our every day lives and into everyday culture from a contemporary but also historical perspective. In order to do so, KT looks into the history and culture of technology from the perspective of the active users and handlers of technology. KT deals with the »emergence« of technological phenomenas, as much as with negotiations of user conventions and meanings of technology. KT investigates questions about processes through which technology is made familiar and how it is inscribed into our everyday lives, as much it as looks into how an increasing number of life spheres are gradually immersed by technology. Last but not least, KT explores the ways of how technology submerges and broadens people`s minds in regard to their perceptions, actions, ethics and other points of reference.

Fellows of the research school »Kulturwissenschaftliche Technikforschung« mainly use the following two approaches towards the dimension of experience: On one hand we depart from the concept of »Technology as biographical experience«, on the other hand we examine the impacts processes of technologization have on everyday life in Modernity and the aftermath till today and in the future.

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