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P - Practices


P1 - Experiencing Places and Moments of Otium in Contemporary European City Tourism

Prof. Dr. Tim Freytag

The main aim of project P1 was to conceptualise Muße in the context of city tourism and to consider Muße as an urban phenomenon. Firstly, we focused on three major European urban tourist destinations (Barcelona, Florence and Paris) and compiled a linguistic corpus of nine German travel guide books which were the subject of content and discourse analysis. Taking into account travel blogs and tourism statistics we, secondly, carried out field work (including 20-30 semi-structured interviews with German speaking travellers) in each of the three cities. An analysis of the field work's results was also conducted.

Clara Sofie Kramer


P2 - Worship and Otium. Religiosity in Everyday Life and the Experience of Church Services in Namibia

Prof. Dr. Gregor Dobler

The project embedded the analysis of Muße in the anthropology of religion. Using the categories developed in the CRC to analyse Muße, we described two different forms of religious services in Northern Namibia and asked what commonalities and differences between ritual practice and practices of Muße emerge. To do so, we compared the predictable sequences of ritual in an Anglican historic mission church with the more lively services in charismatic churches marked by inspiration and cathartic experiences.

Yannick van den Berg


P3 – Otium in the Hospital? A Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Resident Physicians

Prof. Dr. Anja Göritz,
Prof. Dr. phil. Stefan Schmidt

Building on the CRC’s first funding period, this project followed up on an analysis of otium in the classroom and explored how strategies of mindfulness create fertile ground for otium. We conducted a randomized controlled trial with 176 assistant physicians in several hospitals. Participants either attended a mindfulness-based and otium-oriented intervention or were able to do whatever they want in the same amount of time. Our aim was to strengthen humanistic aspects of medical practice by providing the relevant mental and psychological skills.

Vanessa Aeschbach
Dr. Johannes Fendel


P4 - Machiavellian Otium: Strategies of Retreat in Niccolò Machiavelli’s Letters from 1512 to 1527

Prof. Dr. Judith Frömmer

By adopting the research issues and the analytical categories of the Freiburg Collaborative Research Center on otium the research project developed a new approach to Niccoló Machiavelli's letters and their relationship to the political and military practice of the quondam segretario. Different and heterogeneous concepts of otium characterize the writing circumstances of his letters written between 1512 and 1527 as well as of his major works, such as Il Principe, the Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, the Libro dell’arte della guerra and the Mandragola. The project particularly focused on how the figure of retreat as a strategic move in time and space informs methods of otium, but also military practices.  In the light of a thus strategic understanding of otium Machiavelli’s texts reveal alternative and innovative concepts of action, that go beyond the context of early modern Florence.

Dr. Andrea Guidi
Dr. Stefano Saracino


P5 - Immersion and Otium in the Theme Park: Media and Landscapes at Ontario Place (Toronto, 1971-2011)

Prof. Dr. Robin Curtis

The project asked if immersion and Muße are closely related practices and whether the experience of immersion may offer a means to understand what Muße means in the late modern era. The project took up the theme park Ontario Place that offered urban spaces for contemplation and reflection, both in the form of newly cultivated landscapes, produced through landfill at the heart of the city in Lake Ontario, and juxtaposed these with somatically-immersive films of landscape encounters in the IMAX films produced for the park, contrasting both traditional and new, virtual forms of Muße.

Dr. Jessica Mulvogue