Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Junior Professorship in the History of the Humanities and the Social Sciences

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Kleeberg

The main research area for this assistant professorship is the history of the humanities and the social sciences, in particular the epistemic foundations and the general institutional framework for the production of knowledge. 

The current research project “Rising Standards of Living” examines the development and transformation of the concept of “standard of living” in relation to knowledge about social and economic theory, medical anthropology, education in / and  moral philosophy, and practical politics (ca. 1759 to 1914).
To be researched are practices in the standardization of knowledge on human living conditions as these were applied in the context of the “social question” in the 19th century. The focus is on the emergence of structural explanations and proposed solutions to social integration.

One thesis among others to be explored is the role played by bad habits -- as humanity’s second nature between environmental milieus and individual self-control -- in the emergence of structural approaches to raising the standard of living. On this set of topics, a research network is in preparation called “Bad Habits: Second Nature between Environment and Self-Control”.

Against this backdrop, the project should contribute to a historical epistemology of the humanities and social sciences. While pursuing institutional history within the social history of knowledge, different types of rationality will be examined, thus applying to social sciences the question of how “tacit knowledge” (Polanyi) underlies scientific practice. Practices of observation, collection and the representation of social problems will be examined in the context of the moral economics of the respective fields. These practices will then be related to the social habitus of the primary social classes.