Three Main Clusters of the Priority Programme 1448


The SPP 1448 examines the sites, dimensions and conditions of creativity in practices of adaptation on the African continent. It is particularly interested in practices of adaptation implying technologies and significations in the making of order (and hence also of disorder). Ordering as an on-going and never completed process is conceived as “investment in forms” following Thèvenot (1984). During the first two phases the researchers have established empirical and theoretical foundations that centre around three dimensions important for the analysis of ordering practices: technology, narrative, space.

Before the start of the empirical work it was assumed that technologies and significations are important dimensions of ordering practices. After some years of research we can show how meanings or significations are inscribed in technologies, how other meanings are induced by technologies, and we can identify moments of creativity in adapting technologies to particular material, semantic and normative orders. Our empirical work motivated us to replace the very general notion of signification as the main operation of semantic ordering practices with one more specific version of it: narrating. All projects of the SPP encountered in their empirical work important narrations that are related in illuminating ways to material and social technologies.

Before the start of the empirical work we also knew that ordering practises necessarily do have a spatial dimension. After some years of research we can show that it is mainly the deployment of material and social technologies that has an impact on the making of spaces and that this again is accompanied by sense-making narratives.

The three most important dimensions of the primary leading question of the SPP will guide the work of all researchers during the third and last phase (2015-2016). In practical terms we have formed three clusters that regularly work together and prepare edited volumes on the three dimensions.


The three main clusters are:

1.       Adaptation and Creativity: the role of technologies in the creation of dis/order

2.       Adaptation and Creativity: the role of narratives in the creation of dis/order

3.       Adaptation and Creativity: the role of territorialisation in the creation of dis/order


At the respective workshops the analytical and thematic foci of the clusters, and the three edited collections under the same title, will be discussed. The publication of the three books is foreseen for 2016.