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Transformations of Life

The group 'Transformations of Life' is interested not only in the phenomenon and the perception of life itself but also in ideologies and socio-cultural practices in which different concepts of life are developed and debated. Among other things, the research group studies how individuals and groups deal with changes in life situations and their resultant decision-making processes while also looking at the fundamental ontological-ontogenetic conditions of life processes. For this purpose, it is necessary to adopt an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account elements of literary and cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, social sciences and history.

In collaboration with the group 'Transformations of Knowledge', this group is working on an understanding of the concept of 'transformation' itself that is free from the constraints of preconceived ideas. Both older and newer theoretical approaches to the topic have proved to be fruitful, particularly concepts from the field of anthropology ('liminality'), philosophy ('pragmatism') and practice-related theory definition ('ethnomethodology', 'actor-network theory'); these are evaluated and further developed in interdisciplinary discussion. The challenge here is to classify all related elements and categories in terms of the actual situation - social constructs and conceptual schemes, activities and actors with their motives and identities can be explored from all sides from this perspective. It is thus clear that 'transformation' is the source of perceptions and systems of 'life' and 'knowledge' that require analysis.