Antje Linkenbach gives a working paper on ‚Asynchronicity, Ambiguity and Contingency: Provincializing Theories of Modernity‘

The present contribution examines recent sociological, non-linear and contingencysensitive ways of engagement with modernity, which attribute different significance to normative questions and refer to different levels of socio-historical configuration. It will lay particular emphasis on the work of Johan P. Arnason, as one of the most advanced, although non-normative approaches to modernity. This will be followed by a discussion of normative approaches to modernity offered by Hartmut Rosa and Peter Wagner. I will argue that a normative perspective is constitutive for social theory and questions about the emancipative potential and possibilities of modernity must be at the core of analysis (see Joas, Knöbl 2004). I will further argue that while it seems reasonable to discuss modernity from a macro-perspective and even in the context of civilizational analysis, and so move to a geopolitical higher level or ‘hyper-social system (Mauss) – as it is prominently done in the work of Johan P. Arnason -, the reverse route has never been received adequate attention. Modernity should also be approached from a microsociological perspective, which takes into account the temporally, spatially and socially contextualized acting subject in a locality or a region. Special attention should be given to the postcolonial encounter.

Andreas Pettenkofer is going to present a working paper on ‚The irreducibly collective character of criticism‘

In our ‘liberal’ ordinary language of politics, political criticism is usually described as a product of individuals who resist collective pressures; here, “the collective” appears as that which suppresses critique. This is mirrored by a “sociology of critique” that sees critical activities as being founded in individual capacities. Against this kind of assumption, this paper tries to show how nonconformist acts of criticism are internally tied to collective processes. For this purpose, it uses concepts from Durkheim’s social theory (which emphasizes aspects of the sociality of mind that are not emphasized in pragmatist analyses). Through this, the paper also tries to show what a Durkheimian approach can contribute to a sociology of critique.

Luca Pellarin presents a working paper on ‚Acknowledging Limits. Building on Franz C. Overbeck Remarks on Modernity‘

Starting from the analysis of some excerpts of Franz C. Overbeck (1837-1905), the aim of this paper is to investigate the concept of “limit” with regard to Modernity and identify some limits of Modernity itself, trying to account for a recurring feeling that arises when one reads Overbeck’s production: the German theologian seems to constantly vindicate the need to set limits. On this basis, it will be shown, on the one hand, that: a. for Overbeck speaking of “limits” means addressing the moral field and the theory of knowledge; b. a proper character of Modernity is individualism; c. two of the most important representatives of individualism of his time were F. Nietzsche and P.-J. Proudhon; d. his interpretation of Modernity is rooted in the cultural tradition of the German thought (in primis in J.W. Goethe). Each of these items will thus be explored in depth in order to reach significant conclusions for the understanding of Overbeck’s work. On the other hand, despite the large attention devoted to Overbeck, the focus of the text will not be only on him; his reflections will instead be taken as an opportunity to survey the issues listed above.

Carmen González gives a contribution to a documentary on the history of al-Andalus

The documentary has been released by Canal ARTE and speaks about the history of al-Andalus. González contributes by explaining the Great Mosque of Córdoba (which is at the core of her research project at the Max-Weber-Kolleg). The documentary has been very recently released, and it can be seen in French or German. For more information:

Carmen González is going to present a working paper on ‚The use of water in religious spaces in al-Andalus: new archaeological evidence from Madīnat Qurṭuba’s suburbs‘

Islamic religious practices and water hold a very close relationship determined, mainly, by the need of the faithful to perform ritual ablutions before prayer. However, the archaeological documentation of infrastructure related to this practice in al-Andalus is very infrequent. For this reason, a recent discovery from the western outskirts of Madīnat Qurṭuba (Córdoba), consisting of a secondary mosque with a small ablution room attached to its northern end, stands out for its uniqueness. This mosque has been recovered in one of the most interesting areas for the archaeological and urban study of the city in Islamic times, the so-called „Plan Parcial O-7“. This sector has been excavated almost entirely in recent years, revealing interesting dynamics of urban configuration already from the 8th century, which allow a better and deeper understanding of the medieval Islamic city, its components and its functions.

Sisi Sung presents a working paper on ‚An overview of institutional context of private and state-owned enterprises in contemporary China‘

This paper is a starting chapter of my dissertation. The chapter aims at illustrating three institutional factors: enterprises (state-owned and private), labor market, government policies which altogether frame the work context of an individual. The work context represents an important piece of evidence for understanding the overall picture of one’s career choices and work-related behaviors.

Tullio Viola is going to present a working paper on ‚Intersubjectivity and Disagreement‘

This text is a slightly revised version of a chapter of my Ph.D.
dissertation, entitled Peirce on the Uses of History (defended: Humboldt
University, 2015). I am currently transforming the disssertation into a
book, which will be published by De Gruyter in 2020. It is about the
relation between philosophical understanding and historical knowledge
in Peirce’s work, and in pragmatism more broadly. The chapter I am
presenting here is the fifth. It deals with Peirce’s conception of
intersubjectivity and sociality, and on its implications for the argument
presented throughout the book. I present Peirce’s communitarian
understanding of science and philosophy, discuss his rather scattered
ideas about social and political philosophy, and also move a major
objection against him: in my view, Peirce has not reflected hard enough
on the differences between science and philosophy with regard to the
irreducibility of disagreement. I try to spell out some implications of this

Gabriel Abend presents a working paper on ‚Thick Concepts and Sociological Research‘

In this paper I ask how to do social scientific things with thick concepts, what’s unique about thick concepts, and what’s unique about creatures in whose lives there are thick concepts