Summer School – Public Keynotes

The following Keynotes in our Summer School 2023: Telling People Apart: Sorting, Grouping and Distinguishing are public:

June 19th, 6:15 pm:
Theodore Schatzki
Practices and the Digitization of Societies
Linke Aula | Alte Mensa

June 20th, 6:15 pm:
Jürgen Streeck
Caressing and Categorizing Cats
Linke Aula | alte Mensa

June 21st, 6:15 pm:
Rivke Jaffe
Political Animals: An Interspecies Approach to Urban Inequalities
Senatssaal | NatFak


Poster listing the Public Keynotes in the Summer School

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Symbolic Boundaries: Occupational Community, Culture, and Status Dynamics

May 22nd, 6 pm
P106, Philosophicum, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, Mainz

Diane Vaughans lecture shows the intersection of social and symbolic boundaries in air traffic control. Based on ethnography and interviews in four air traffic control facilities in the US National Airspace System, Diane Vaughan shows the interpretive processes and symbolic meanings by which controllers self-define as members of an occupational community, distinguishing themselves from other occupations. However, they also construct distinctions that separate members of the community, one from the other, based on the criteria of competence and technical skill, thus creating identity, legitimacy and status from their work. In these forms of boundary work, they deploy cultural, social, cognitive, and discursive mechanisms that impose, activate, transform, and suppress social boundaries, creating difference and similarity, cultural membership and group classification, in order to give legitimacy and status to some and marginalize others. Examining the mechanisms by which members of an occupational community construct differences that distinguish themselves from others and among themselves shows status dynamics: stratification as the product of agency, continuing negotiation in social relations to resist inequalities rather than solely an external apparatus acting upon agents.

Diane Vaughan is Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Sociology from Ohio State University, 1979, and taught at Boston College from 1984 to 2005. During this time, she was awarded fellowships at Yale, the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford, the American Bar Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial foundation, and the ASA award for Public Sociology. She came to Columbia in 2005.

You can find information on accessability here.

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Seeing Like a Border: Automated Vision and Digital Enclosure

May 15th 2023, 6pm
P3, Philosophicum, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, Mainz

This presentation considers the role played by automated vision in transforming bodies into “operational images” that enable the expansion of borders into enclosures. It expands on Chris Rumford’s invitation to consider what it might mean to “see like a border”. The resulting form of governance might be described, drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, as the deployment of a granular form of biopower – one that requires the milieu, or environment, to become deformable and customisable. This is the mode of power and control anticipated by those who seek to develop and capture the terrains of augmented and virtual reality – or, in more recent terminology, the realm of the “metaverse.”

Mark Andrejevic is Professor in the School of Media, Film, and Journalism at Monash University. He is the author of several books on digital media and surveillance, including, most recently (with Neil Selwyn), Facial Recognition. Andrejevic is also a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre for Automated Decision Making and Society, where he studies the social, cultural, and political implications of automated decision making systems.

You can find information on accessability here.

Poster: Seeing like a Border: Automated Vision and Digital Enclosure

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Religion and Global Cultural Variation

Lecture by Ara Norenzayan
25.01.2022, 4pm
Alte Mensa, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

The world we live in is teeming with cultural diversity in beliefs, values, and preferences (cultural traits). While we know that geography, ecology, and national culture play important roles, there is conflicting views on whether religious traditions are also potential drivers of this diversity. How much of the global variability in cultural traits can be traced to religious traditions and to religious commitment?  To answer this question, cultural distances between religious groups were measured and compared to distances between nation-states and to other demographics, drawing on a global sample from the World Values Survey (88 countries, N=243,118). We find that around the world, people who affiliate with the same religious tradition and have similar levels of religious commitment share all kinds of cultural traits. Despite their heterogeneity, the “Big 5” world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism -- as well as secularism, share cultural traits that have persisted across geographical, linguistic, and political divides. I discuss some limitations on what we can infer from these findings, and conclude with thoughts on the place of religion and secularism in the cultural evolution of human societies.

The lecture will be held in english.


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SFB1482’s Kick-Off Conference on July 1

On Friday, July 1, in the Senate Meeting room of the NatFak building, CRC 1482 will present its disciplinary perspectives and empirical approaches to the public in a first conference. The event will culminate in a guest lecture by Marion Müller (Professor for Sociology at Uni Tübingen).

The program is available here. The conference is open to the public, but due to limited seat capacity we would ask for prior registration at the following email address: rmitchel[at]

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