Tullio Viola presents a working paper on ‚Reflexive Thinking and Cultural Transmission‘

According to a rather widespread view of the relationship between individuals and their socio-cultural context, people articulate their thoughts and normative commitments through expressive tools or conceptual repertoires that are available in their social group. The research project here presented deals with a more specific and hitherto underrated case. I will investigate those cases in which the individual articulation of a thought is not carried out in an explicit manner, but hides behind the transmission of expressive tools that are charged with symbolic value. Those expressive tools may in turn become the object of long traditions that travel in space and time. Some examples: a legend, folktale, or rumor may provide members of a social group with a way to express their inarticulate needs and concerns; a picture, verbal formula or gesture may be resorted to in very different historical and geographical settings in virtue of a seemingly context-transcending expressive power; the memory of a historical event, or of a historical figure, may crystallize into a value-laden paradigm and thus become the object of a stable transmission chain. As I will argue, these apparently heterogenous examples are held together not only by their symbolic nature, but also by a significant overlapping between the act of articulation (i.e., the act by which individuals make explicit to themselves and others their thoughts and normative commitments) and the act of cultural transmission (i.e., the act by which individuals receive and pass on a cultural representation). In exploring the implications of this idea, my study will draw on the theoretical resources that have come out of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century dialogue between philosophy, social sciences, and Kulturwissenschaften. But it will also critically discuss some empirical findings in the field of history and sociology. Aim of this double methodology is to explore new insights about the philosophical puzzles of articulation while suggesting new paths of empirical investigation.

Martin Repohl gives a working paper on ‚The relationship quality of the material world – perspectives of a worldrelationship sociological approach for the analysis of materiality‘

The aim of my dissertation project is to formulate a consistent world
relationship sociological terminology for analyzing materiality under the
aspect of relationship quality. The premise is that material entities are
parts of social relationships and have an influence on the dynamic and
quality of the concrete relationship by their own material constitution.
The question of materiality is a key problem of sociological research and
is addressed in many different ways. But the aspect of relationship
quality only appears in an implicit way. The sociology of world
relationship provides a new perspective on that aspect, but has no clear
concept for describing materiality by its own terms. The inclusion of a
phenomenological approach to materiality offers a solution for that
conceptual lack, because this perspective describes the self activity of
material entities. An inclusion into the terminology for world relationship
sociology opens the perspective for the transformative part of material
entities in the dynamic of relationships. It’s planned to make empirical
case studies on specific material entities (for example plastic particles,
toxins or wood) to describe its influence on world relationship in an
exemplary way. These case studies will be used to develop a valid and
applicable concept for analyzing materiality under the aspect of
relationship quality.