The following themes summarize the current research performed by members of the group. More information can be found under the heading “Projects”.
In order to understand meaning making, identity, materiality and practice in everyday life, we need to study the importance of embodied interaction, emotion, agency and social structuring of and between bodies. Bodies are involved in processes of hierarchization/ differentiation/othering as well as inclusion/dependency/trust. Studies concern for example emotions in organisations and social forms of intimacy. The theme also explores “disembodied” social relations that matter to politics and identity work such as digital interaction and on-line political action.
Social interaction and societal phenomena are not floating, they take place somewhere and at certain times. The dialectic between spatiality and sociality constitutes the basis for actors’ struggle, not only in terms of rights of access but also in terms of appropriation of space for political, commercial or for leisure reasons. Looking at the ways in which these processes “take place”, projects within this theme focus on for example valuation of waste through legitimate and illegitimate work, urban life and place attachment.
Culture is often thought of as an altogether human affair. However, all societies are made up of, and include, non-humans. To start, animals are used for feeding humans, for clothes, as working companions and in leisure activities. The category of the non-human includes other organisms such as plants and bacteria, likewise important to social relations and wider sustainability issues. Moreover, machines and technologies – both material and digital – are important actors that make up the social fabric. The human/non-human complex is essential in order to understand and explain social, economic and symbolic power relations.
Societal and political change as well as stability rely on the production of meaning, practice and materiality. This production may be performed in a number of spheres and arenas, such as science, media, fine art and politics. This focus on cultural production includes investigations into distribution, reception and re-production, investigations that take seriously the agency of cultural agents. Within the theme, different arenas such as internet communities, sports, education systems, cultural evolution and medical knowledge practice, are studied.
Within this theme, research projects challenge the assumption that death signifies a biological and social moment, limited in time and space. Instead, the projects demonstrate that death is everywhere to be found: in abandoned places, in the post-mortal lives of long lost relatives and celebrities, in online representations and conversations among friends. The theme investigate how death constantly bleeds into everyday life, thereby exposing the frailty of the life-death boundary.