Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Zwischen globaler Sehnsucht und lokaler Angst

Eine Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte des Zirkus in Deutschland

Dr. Anna Lipphardt


The project aims at exploring the cultural and social history of the circus in Germany, from its emergence in the mid-19th century to the present. While the circus nowadays is generally perceived as a marginal cultural phenomenon, it was one of the most popular venues of mass-entertainment until World War II in Germany. Today Germany is the country with the most circus companies and projects (ca. 350) in Europe.

As a cultural institution and a social milieu permanently on the move, the circus allows to explore on the longue durée the variegated ways in which global, or transnational dynamics play out on the local and the national level. It also allows to follow up on questions that are central for understanding some of the major challenges pertaining to the European integration process and to globalisation:

  • How have the freedom to move and cultural difference been negotiated and practiced in our society, and which functions did and do they fulfill?
  • What are the challenges, the conflicts and the potentials pertaining to the encounter between mobile milieus, the sedentary population, the nation state and the European Union?