Teaching this Winter Term 2016/2017

Community. Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives on Vergemeinschaftung

Project Seminar (4 SWS with Fieldwork Component, in German); University of Konstanz

The English term ‘community’ has been established in the German language as jargon. It is usually used in combination with various adjectives and thus covers a wide range of meanings: communities can be imagined, virtual, indigenous, radical, religious, sustainable, or alternative, to name just a few examples.

But what exactly do we mean when we use the term in the academic context? What are the important shifts in meaning that have occurred in the last two centuries, and why is the notion still relevant today? After reading classic and current literature on the topic, students will carry out fieldwork in the Konstanz area with a group that identifies itself as a community. Using ethnographic methods such as participant observation, the aim of this course is to collect, interpret and analyze data from one’s own fieldwork in order to gain a better understanding of how social organizations and social relations are being achieved, maintained, and challenged. The course is accompanied by a methods training, data sessions, and a final meeting in which students present and receive feedback on their field report.