Knowledge | Culture | Visual Worlds

The common basis of this key research area is various theories from the sociology of knowledge. From a theoretical perspective, the sociology of knowledge is a social and societal theory affiliated with classic sociology (represented by Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, Alfred Schütz, George Herbert Mead, Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, Harold Garfinkel, Erving Goffman). It represents a specific school of thought within sociology. Its interdisciplinary orientation becomes evident when considering that the sociology of knowledge has its roots in philosophical anthropology, hermeneutics, phenomenology, visual studies and many more.  Its interdisciplinary and comparative orientation is also demonstrated empirically in the sense of an applied sociology of culture. Objects of investigation are different bodies of knowledge, knowledge formation and knowledge semantics from a perspective transcending cultures and time periods.

This key research area addresses the development of theories as well as research oriented towards the sociology of knowledge and sociology of culture, with a focus on interpretive social research and qualitative methods and methodologies.

The topics of our empirical and theoretical research include the following:

  • new forms of sociality and hybridity (human-technology interaction)
  • dynamics of change of material culture
  • cultural change through media change (mediatisation)
  • change in medial public spheres
  • visual communication in analogous and digital media worlds
  • expertise, professionalism and competence
  • cultural and symbolic processes of establishing boundaries
  • cultural dimensions of markets and economic action
  • intercultural communication in enterprises
  • transnational migration processes from a biographical perspective
  • new forms of symbolic orders in visual worlds
  • performative visual discourses in societal processes of ordering (gender, migration/flight)
  • gender knowledge through a changing social order
  • visibilities and invisibilities in social systems

In recent years, a more specific focus on visual sociology has developed, focusing in particular on the visual generation, performative constitution and representation of knowledge by different media in everyday social life. This key research area is part of the interdisciplinary key research area of visual studies in social sciences at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The key research area of Knowledge | Culture | Visual Worlds also cooperates with the key research areas of knowledge societies in turbulent times: science, democracy and public space, and gender and transformation of the Faculty of Social Sciences. In addition, it cooperates with the Gender and Agency research network of the University of Vienna and is a member of the interdisciplinary research platform Mediatised Lifeworlds with Michaela Pfadenhauer as its representative.

Current Research Projects

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