Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie

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Current Research Christiane Schwab (English)

Dissecting Society.

Nineteenth-Century Sociographic Journalism and the Formation of Ethnographic and Sociological Knowledge

(ERC Starting Grant)

My current research project enacts novel perspectives on the multigenre history of sociological and anthropological reasoning. It investigates pieces of nineteenth-century sociographic journalism as formative frames/catalysts of social knowledge and science. These social sketches (often referred to as “panoramic literature”) provide rich ethnographic micro-analysis and often relate to debates held by statisticians, moralists, folklorists, and ethnologists. However, in the discipline-oriented histories of the social sciences and humanities, journalism has been ignored as a form of knowledge and as a founding genre of modern (disciplinary, academic) social science. By exploring the epistemic significance of sociographic journalism, the project promises to institute a cross-genre, transdisciplinary, and transnational historiography of the evolution of social knowledge and to revise mono-disciplinary and Eurocentric tales of the past and present.