Central subjects


The central subjects of the Priority Programme are the changing technologies and significations in the production of order and disorder within African contexts as well as their global entanglements. The programme aims at improving existing theories that explain the role of creativity in processes of social change by employing both empirical and conceptual approaches. In doing so the programme tries to improve the understanding of diverse African situations, articulations and ruptures. Particular attention will be paid to the translation of circulating technologies and significations as a guiding question. 

The analytic key concepts of the programme are: 

  1. technologies (artefacts, models) and significations (giving significance and meaning) as well as their mutual entanglements; 
  2. translation of technologies and significations in their travels through space, time and social spheres; 
  3. practices of ordering that draw on technologies and significations; 
  4. adaptation and creativity. 

Main research questions


To achieve the thematic and theoretical aims of the Priority Programme, the projects deal with the following questions:

1.     Which factors facilitate and shape the translation of technologies and significations into local webs of belief and webs of institutions as well as material infrastructures? 

2.     What are the socials spaces and time frames within which these translation processes occur?

3.     What are the circumstances that lead to an adaptation of the new to the available (appropriation), to the adaptation of the available to the new, to creative hybridization, to refusal, to rupture?

4.     Which institutionalizations are the results of translation processes? Which ones are not? 

5.     Are certain epistemic communities or social figurations particularly competent for translation processes?

6.     To what extent can this approach explain creativity? Conversely, what does it falsify and what are alternative approaches?