About SoCuM

Social and Cultural Studies share central research subjects. They diverge, however, in their terminologies as well as in their basic theoretical and methodological approaches. SoCuM aims to tap into and nurture the considerable potential for innovation that arises from a sustained network between Social and Cultural Studies.
Combining Social and Cultural Studies, SoCuM initiates a multitude of specific research options and develops joint research projects, which utilize the considerable potential for innovation.

Working groups

The collaboration within the research center’s framework is based on interdisciplinary working groups, where specific issues are scrutinized. SoCuM supports its members in conceiving and realizing interdisciplinary and innovative research projects. On this basis, further funding, eg. by the German Research Foundation (DFG), can be raised.

The research center houses four working groups:
AG 1: Un/Doing Differences: Practices of Human Differentiation (since 2020 SFB 1482)
AG 2: Agency of aesthetic objects
AG 3: Techniken des Bezeugens. Zeugenschaft als mediale und kulturelle Praxis
NWG 1: Immersive Spaces (for junior scholars)

Former AGs:
AG The Public Constitution of Minorities
AG Comparative Indigenous Studies
AG Discourse–Power–Knowledge. Constructing Inequality
AG Performance & Media Studies
AG Fremdheit und Translation
AG Familie in Sprache und Gesellschaft
AG Posthuman. Perspectives on nature/culture (for junior scholars)


SoCuM organizes lectures and workshops relating to the specific research projects developed within the working groups (see archive, i.e.2012 or 2013).

On an annual basis, SoCuM invites an excellent and internationally recognized researcher to be the speaker at the Georg Forster Lectures. The lecture series aims to reach a broader, also non-academic, audience and to increase the visibility of the interdisciplinary cooperation at Mainz University. Former guests include Tim Ingold (Aberdeen), Bénédicte Savoy (Paris/Berlin), Philippe Descola (Paris), Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Standford), Jürgen Osterhammel (Konstanz), Zygmunt Baumann (Leeds), Bruno Latour (Paris) and Karin Knorr Cetina (Chicago).

Regularly, SoCuM arranges an international symposium with an innovative and interdisciplinary research topic from both Social and Cultural Studies, such as “Materialities” in 2011, “Practices and their Bodies. What Kind of Artefact is the Lived Body?” in 2013, “Playing Games” in 2016 and “Posthuman? New Perspectives on Nature/Culture” in 2019.

Guests and Ph.D. Scholars

SoCuM initiates and promotes academic exchange on a national and international level. As visiting SoCuM Fellows, renowned scholars from home and abroad support local research by giving lectures and workshops.

Until and including 2014, SoCuM was supporting a group of Ph.D. scholars from various disciplines. Their projects promoted the future development of interdisciplinary research between Social and Cultural Studies at Mainz University. SoCuM Ph.D. scholars held a regular colloquium, visited workshops with renowned lecturers and produced their own events and publications.