publications projects courses various vita contact

Joachim Fischer

Cultural Sociology

Cultural Sociology is a key discipline of the cultural and social sciences. This research project conducts cultural sociology both according to classical and neo-classical sociologies of culture and knowledge (Scheler, Mannheim, Horkheimer, Plessner, Luhmann), and in line with the paradigm of cultural studies (Phenomenological Sociology, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Cultural Studies, and ‘Studies’ at large). Here, the double perspective is decisive: to operate with a Culturology of the Social (symbolically produced and culturally mediated social differentiations, cultural turns), without abandoning the older perspective of a Sociology of Culture in the sense of relating culture and cultural conflicts to ‘social locations’, and semantics to social structures and (e.g. stratificational, generational and functional) differences. The historically contextualized terminology of cultural sociology allows for an analysis of contemporary societies, which struggle in their social differentiations (classes, generations, gender, ethnicities, regions, functional subsystems) for their symbolical representation and integration. This topic has been developed in various lectures on sociology of religion, art, artifacts and architecture, on ‘semiotics and sociology’, on knowledge sociology and sociology of science.

Specific research topics of this project are the social and cultural construction and expressivity, symbolization and embodiment, arbitrariness and motivation, of semiotically mediated modern societies. It is assumed that human living beings, by nature being “unfathomable” and at the same time “not determined”, fundamentally depend on “culture”. These living beings stabilize themselves in their physis by culture and become simultaneously partially lucid for each other in their sensual mode of appearance.

For this reason culture is always determined by a double aspect: through a “natural artificiality”, or construction, on the one hand, which provides stabilization through the establishment of sensual and meaningful boundaries, and by “mediated immediacy” or expressivity on the other hand, through which “unfathomable” living beings bring themselves, in the establishment of sensual and meaningful boundaries, to “appearance”, and express themselves “mediately”. Especially applicable for the analysis of culture are therefore those theories, which a) reconstruct culture as a conjunction of sensuality and meaning (esthesiology and semiotics of culture), and b) do not reduce culture to language but recognize nonverbal media at the center of culture. The cultural theories of Helmuth Plessner, Max Scheler and Ernst Cassierer are characterized by a) systematically applying corporality and meaning to one another and b) thus, an ability to systematically reconstruct other media of culture besides language, which entangle construction and expressivity in a particular logic (the innate logic of the picture, mythos, music, dance, mathematics, language, mysticism, architecture, artifacts / technology, etc.).

Cultural sociology – e.g. as sociology of knowledge, religion, art, language and artifacts – analyzes how societies discover their contours in invented and regained forms of expression, how they startle themselves in iconoclastic controversies, architectural and medial debates, how they stabilize and transform their systems of stratification, generation, gender, region through ‘embodiment’. This means that, in ever changing societal constellations, each new, incipient event of expression becomes the inexhaustible focus of cultural sociology.

Publications and Papers

Since 1998, member (since 2005 board member) of the Section on Cultural Sociology ( Kultursoziologie ) of the German Sociological Association (GSA).

Conferences and Plenums organized within the Section on Cultural Sociology:

“Soziologie und Anthropologie der Sinne” (Sociology and Anthropology of the Senses, together with Jens Loenhoff), Göttingen 1999.

“Potsdamer Platz. Theoretische Perspektiven zur Kultursoziologie eines Ortes der Moderne”
(Potsdamer Platz. Theoretical Perspectives for a Cultural Sociology of a Location of Modernity, together with Michael Makropoulos), Berlin 2001.

“Vergleich der Theorienvergleiche in der Soziologie” (Comparison of Comparative Theories in Sociology, together with Rainer Geshoff), Dresden 2005

“Wie viel (menschliche) Natur braucht die Soziologie?”
(How Much [Human] Nature Does Sociology Need?, together with Uwe Schimank), Plenum GSA congress, Kassel 2006.

“Wie bürgerlich ist die Moderne? Bürgerliche Gesellschaft, Bürgertum und Bürgerlichkeit“ (How Bourgeois/Civil is Modernity?
Bourgeois Society, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeois Life Style, together with Andreas Reckwitz), Konstanz 2007.

“Die Architektur der Gesellschaft. Architektur der Moderne im Blick soziologischer Theorien” (The Architecture of Society.
Architecture of Modernity from the Perspective of Sociological Theories, together with Heike Delitz and Hans Georg Lippert), Dresden 2007.

“Brauchen wir einen qualitativen Kulturbegriff?
Qualtitätskriterien aus soziologischer Sicht” (Do We Need a Qualitative Terminology of Culture? Qualitative Criteria from a Sociological Perspective, together with Dominik Schrage), Jena 2008

"Soziologie und Anthropologie der Sinne" (Sociology and Anthropology of the Senses), conference of the Section on Cultural Sociology, Soziologisches Seminar,' Universität Göttingen, organized together with Jens Loenhoff, June 11-12, 1999.

“Simmels Exkurs über die Soziologie der Sinne. Zentraltext einer anthropologischen Soziologie” (Simmel’s Excursus on the Sociology of the Senses), in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Themenheft: Soziologie der Sinne, 27/2, 2002, 6-13.

From 1999-2008 Research Associate / Lecturer at the Institut für Soziologie, Dresdner Sonderforschungsbereich 537: “Institutionalität und Geschichtlichkeit”

Joachim Fischer / Hans Joas (ed.), Kunst, Macht und Institution. Studien zur Philosophischen Anthropologie, soziologischen Theorie und Kultursoziologie der Moderne. Festschrift für Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (Art, Power and Institution. Studies on Philosophical Anthropology, Sociological Theory and Cultural Sociology, A Festschrift for Karl-Siegbert Rehberg), Frankfurt a. M. 2003.

“Der Potsdamer Platz als gesellschaftsdiagnostisches Artefakt” (Potsdamer Platz as an Artifact of Sociodiagnostics), in: Ästhetik und Kommunikation, 116/33, Spring 2002, 84-119.

Systems Theory (Andreas Ziemann)
            Philosophical Anthropology (Joachim Fischer)
            Critical Theory (Christine Resch / Heinz Steinert)
            Discourse Analysis and Semiology (Michael Makropoulos)

Potsdamer Platz. Theoretische Perspektiven zur Kultursoziologie eines Ortes der Moderne (Potsdamer Platz. Theoretical Perspectives for a Cultural Sociology of a Location of Modernity.), annual convention of the GSA Section on Cultural Sociology, Berlin 2002, together with Michael Makropoulos.

“The ‘Man Without Qualities’ (Musil), the ‘Relatively Unattached Intellectual’ (Mannheim) and the ‘Eccentric Positionality’ of Man (Plessner). The Historic Coincidence of Three Formulae of Human Existence”, International Conference on 'Culture, Literature and Humanity in the Context of Globalization (org. by Cao Weidong), Beijing Normal University, August 04-08, 2000.

“The Historic Coincidence of Three Formulae of Human Existence: ‘The Man Without Qualities’ (Musil), the ‘Relatively Unattached Intellectual’ (Mannheim) and the ‘Eccentric Positionality’ (Plessner)”, in: Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft, Beijing Normal University Verlag, vol. 2, 2001 (Chinese translation Cao Weidong).

“‘Mann ohne Eigenschaften’, ‘sozial relativ freischwebender Intellektueller’, ‘exzentrische Positionalität’. Musil, Mannheim, Plessner” (‘Man Without Qualities’, ‘Socially Relatively Unattached Intellectual’, ‘Excentric Positionality’. Musil, Mannheim, Plessner), in: Ulrich Bröckling / Axel T. Paul / Stefan Kaufmann (ed.): Vernunft - Entwicklung - Leben. Schlüsselbegriffe der Moderne. Festschrift für Wolfgang Eßbach, München 2004, 291-303.

Bilderstreit. Die Debatte um die Kunst aus der DDR” (Iconoclastic Controversy. The Debate About Art from the GDR), Tagung Stiftung Schloß Neuhardenberg, August 01-03, 2003.

“Distinktionskunst und Inklusionskunst. Zur Soziologie der Kunstkommunikation der Bundesrepublik und der DDR” (Art of Distinction and Art of Inclusion. On Sociology of Communication of Art in West and East Germany, together with Dana Giesecke), in: Lutz Hieber / Stephan Moebius / Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (ed.), Kunst im Kulturkampf. Zur Kritik der deutschen Museumskultur, Bielefeld 2005, 86-114.

Neue Theorie des Geistes (Scheler, Cassirer, Plessner) (New Theories of the Mind), in: Ralf Becker / Christian Bermes / Heinz Leonardy (ed.), Die Bildung der Gesellschaft. Schelers Sozialphilosophie im Kontext, Würzburg 2006, 166-181.

“Ästhetische Anthropologie und anthropologische Ästhetik. Plessners 'Kunst der Extreme' im 20. Jahrhundert” (Aesthetic Anthropology and Anthropological Aesthetic. Plessner’s Art of the Extremes’ in the Twentieth Century), in: Josef Früchtl / Maria Moog-Grünewald (ed.), Ästhetik in metaphysikkritischen Zeiten. 100 Jahre 'Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft'. Sh. 8 der Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Hamburg 2007, 241-267.

“Der Ort des Menschen im Kosmos. Zur Philosophie der Weltraumfahrt” (The Location of Man in Cosmos. On the Philosophy of Space Travel), in: der blaue reiter. Journal für Philosophie, 23 (1/2007), 54-60.

“Wie viel (menschliche) Natur braucht die Soziologie?” Einleitung, (How Much [Human] Nature Does Sociology Need?, ‘Introduction’ together with Uwe Schimank,), Plenum GSA congress, Kassel 2006, in: Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (ed.), Die Natur der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt 2008, 1141-1143.

 Soziologie des Lebens” (Sociology of Life), Ad-hoc-Group, organized by Joachim Fischer / Gesa Lindemann / Stephan Moebius at the 33th convention of the GSA: The Nature of Society, October 09-13, 2006, Universität Kassel.

“Neue Aufgaben der Kultursoziologie”, panel discussion at the GSA-Section on ‘Cultural Sociology’ together with the René König Gesellschaft, Clemens Albrecht, Joachim Fischer, Udo Göttlich, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, Johannes Weiß, 33th convention of the GSA: The nature of society, October 09-13, 2006, Universität Kassel.

“Brauchen wir einen qualitativen Kulturbegriff? Qualtitätskriterien aus soziologischer Sicht” (Do We Need a Qualitative Terminology of Culture? Qualitative Criteria from a Sociological Perspective), GSA-Section on ‘Cultural Sociology’, organized by Joachim Fischer and Dominik Schrage, 34th convention of the GSA, Universität Jena, October 7, 2008.

Wieviel Kultursoziologie brauchen die Geisteswissenschaften?(How Much Cultural Sociology do the Humanities Need?), Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), School of History, Universität Freiburg i.Br., February 5-6, 2010.

Was leistet die Kultursoziologie eigentlich für die Qualität der Kultur?,
in: Sociologia Internationalis, 47. Bd. (2009), S. 57-67.

Interphänomenalität. Zur Anthropo-Soziologie des Designs,
Stephan Moebius / Sophia Prinz (Hg.): Das Design der Gesellschaft. Zur Kultursoziologie des Designs, Bielefeld 2012, S. 91-108.

Kultursoziologie im 21. Jahrhundert
TU Dresden, Institut für Soziologie, 20.-22.06.2013, veranstaltet von Joachim Fischer (Dresden) und Stephan Moebius (Graz): Programm

Joachim Fischer / Stephan Moebius (Hg.), Kultursoziologie im 21. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden 2014.

Ästhetisierung der Gesellschaft statt Ökonomisierung der Gesellschaft. Kunstsoziologie als Schlüsseldisziplin der Gegenwartsanalytik,
in: Kunst und Öffentlichkeit, hg. v. Dagmar Danko, Olivier Moeschler, Florian Schumacher, Wiesbaden 2014, 21-32.

Das Imaginäre, Kreative, Schöpferische. Ein Zentraltopos der Philosophischen Anthropologie,
in: Jörn Bohr / Matthias Wunsch (Hg.), Kulturanthropologie als Philosophie des Schöpferischen. Michael Landmann im Kontext, Nordhausen 2015, S. 17-34.

Simmels Sinn der Sinne. Zum vital turn der Soziologie,
in: Hanna Göbel / Sophia Prinz (Hg.), Die Sinnlichkeit des Sozialen. Wahrnehmung und materielle Kultur, Bielefeld 2015, S. 423-440.

Sinn der Sinne. Ästhesiologie und Soziologie bei Simmel und Plessner,
in: Robert Hettlage / Alfred Bellebaum (Hg.), Alltagsmoralen. Die kulturelle Beeinflussung der Sinne, Wiesbaden 2015, S. 237-250.

Sprache und Literatur, 45. Jg., 2014, 1. Hj., Heft 113 (erschienen 2016), Themenheft: Oberflächen, S. 3-18.

Ästhetisierung der Gesellschaft oder Ästhetiksoziologie. Zu einer realistischen Theorie der Gesellschaft,
in: Aida Bosch/Hermann Pfütze (Hg.): Ästhetischer Widerstand gegen Zerstörung und Selbstzerstörung, Wiesbaden 2018, S. 505-515.

in: Falko Schmieder/Georg Toepfer (Hg.), Wörter aus der Fremde. Begriffsgeschichte als Übersetzungsgeschichte (Festschrift für Ernst Müller), Berlin 2018, S. 119-124.

Interphänomenalität. Zum Erscheinungsverhältnis von Gesellschaft,

in:  Antje Mickan, Thomas Klie, Peter A. Berger (Hg.): Räume zwischen Kunst und Religion. Sprechende Formen und religionshybride Praxis, Bielefeld 2019, 21-44.