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Annual Conference 2010

"The Flow of Concepts and Institutions"

 October, 6th – 8th 2010  


Global flows can take different forms. Contingent on the processes of transfer are goods, actors and concepts. In this year’s annual conference, titled “Flow of Concepts and Institutions”, we want to focus on conceptualizing governance and religiosity. To begin with we are interested in conceptual terms like the contemporary conceptualizing of (good) governance and religion/religiosity, and secondly, in concepts that function as tools of research and help to construct our conceptual framework.

1. Socially established concepts structure perception. Thus, they can also structure evaluations and actions of the participating individuals and, with further stabilization, they can also build social institutions. In the light of the above statement, several questions and aspects become important: what relevance does a transcultural context have for the formation and transformation of concepts and social institutions? Can we differentiate at all between emic and etic concepts in a transcultural context or does the boundary between internal and external conceptualization shift in the process? In transcultural perception, concepts can be misunderstood and problems arise in translation. When and how were concepts or their elements selected, appropriated? Can and does meaning shift in this process? Under what conditions are conceptual terms thoroughly integrated in the receiving culture, so much that they deny any reference to their external origin? If they are, however, perceived as exotic, can we still talk about transculturality?

2. Concepts also structure research and can even determine its results. This is more problematic because, for a long time, mostly Western academia defined the concepts. Our Cluster aims to redefine central concepts of our research from a transcultural perspective and also look for new concepts. Important questions in this context are: what relevance does the flow of concepts and institutions have for the Cluster’s research focus Asia and Europe in a Global context? How can we integrate concepts and conceptual tools from the Asiatic research context into European academia?

The annual conference pursues two goals: first, we want to discuss the specificity of our approaches with external experts in the morning sessions. The emphasis will be on methodological questions. Second, we want to present and discuss results of the Cluster’s projects during parallel panels held in the afternoon. On all panels we want to discuss which methods are appropriate or have been proven useful to examine global flows. For the afternoon sessions, all members of the Cluster can apply through proposals for panels. Each panel should have no more than three speakers, one discussant and a rapporteur. Proposals should concentrate on our main topic i.e. the flows of concepts and institutions. Different perspectives can also be considered given the Cluster’s plurality. However, concepts such as flows, transfer, and transcultural exchange should be tackled. The afternoon sessions should mirror the Cluster’s epochal and disciplinary diversity. Therefore cooperation across projects and research areas is desirable.

Authors of the proposals should remember that the annual conference is not the same as a “topic focused workshop”, but a place, where we want to discuss and present our results and approaches to a broader audience. Therefore every proposal for a panel should be based on a methodological and theoretical question. A selection of these papers will be considered for publication. 


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