How are sociology and anthropology the same

Faculty of Social Science

Photo: Signs & Actions, © ArTo -

The section for social psychology and social anthropology deals theoretically and empirically with the social and cultural world. The focus is on complex relationships between people, groups or communities and their cultural and material environment, as well as the relationships that people maintain with themselves.


The section Social Psychology and Social Anthropology is an interdisciplinary research and teaching unit of the Faculty of Social Science. It is characterized by action and cultural psychological as well as ethnological (social and cultural anthropological) focuses. It maintains close cooperation with other sections, faculties and research institutions and combines contemporary social and cultural science perspectives. The systematic anchoring of the Cultural psychology in the context of interdisciplinary study programs and research projects represents an international specialty.

The section turns its gaze to near and distant cultures. It deals with what is self and what is foreign (in their mutual relationships). She is interested in knowledge and discourses, practices, media and techniques, forms of life and lifestyles, mentalities and identities, forms of action and subjectivity from a contemporary and historical perspective. This includes a pronounced interest in the history of science, science and knowledge research, especially in the history of psychology and ethnology and their impact on the world of life.

The members of the section examine complex constellations in various subject areas that have become typical in many regions of a glocalized world. These include in particular:

  • The foreign and the own:
    • cultural exchange, intercultural communication and competence
    • hybrid and transitory identities
    • Acceleration of areas of life and dynamization of practical self and world relations, as well as conflicting values, norms and practices and confusing orientation offers of highly differentiated societies
  • Knowledge research:
    • indigenous knowledge and indigenization of the sciences
    • cultural and psychosocial effects of a technological and medialized knowledge society
    • Optimization of 'people', scientifically, (bio) technologically and politically mediated - regardless of origin and affiliation, age or gender
    • ongoing transformations of anthropological knowledge as well as the gradual or abrupt change of 'man' himself
    • Specialized history of ethnology and psychology
  • Upheaval, conflict and violence:
    • diverse forms (of the genesis) of physical, psychological and symbolic violence
    • Culture and upheavals in the Mediterranean
    • Controversial Effects of New Media and Technologies

The thematic focal points of the section not only shape research, but also teaching at all levels: from bachelor's and master's programs and structured doctorates to other forms of promoting young talent (e.g. in the context of so-called "Germany scholarships") in the master’s degree). Research-oriented coursesThe focus of these are theoretically demanding and methodologically well-versed teaching research projects and research workshops, which are central and compulsory in all curricula.

In terms of research methodology, the empirical projects are primarily based on interpretative and practice-oriented approaches. The teaching of a hermeneutic methodology of social research and cultural analysis and the methodology of field research as well as the independent practice of qualitative research methods form primary components of the teaching. Comparative, especially cross-cultural studies focus on global and indigenous knowledge as well as the interwoven forms of life, practice and subjectivity.

Profiles and focuses in the social psychology and anthropology section: