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Working Groups

Please see below for more information on the working groups of the SFB 1015.


WG 1 - Leisure – Immersion – Flow – Trance – Experience

The working group deals with the structure of experiencing otium as well as with the description and analysis of associative, marginal phenomena of otium, such as immersion, flow or trance. These terms and their respective experiences are reflected through theoretical recourse from different disciplinary fields, for instance sociology, psychology or phenomenology. Our examination of these associative phenomena is based on the assumption that their experiential structure partly coincides with those of otium. For a concrete instance, we are analyzing to what extent can the transgressive character of otium and its related experience of freedom, the absence of temporal constraints and performative expectations play a role in experiencing immersion, flow or trance. Moreover, the experience of alternative spatiality is often involved in the experiential structure of these associative phenomena. Their respective deviations from and differences to otium, are equally significant. Eventually, these analyses can aid towards specifying the definitive concepts of otium. Methodologically, we are particularly engaged with the question how experiences are subsumable, scientifically. In doing so, we firstly discuss different conceptual approaches of the term ‘experience’ - as empirical knowledge (in German: Erfahrung) or experience in the sense of an ‘enjoyable experience’, and thereby with the description of specific, singular and/or unusual incidents (in German: Erlebnis). Our question aims to further analyze the specific potentials that lie in the term of ‘experience’, for the empirical, discourse analytical and hermeneutically oriented analyses of otium. The sources on which our discussion of these associative phenomena are based, cover a wide spectrum, including artistic representations, historical accounts, as well as empirical data.


WG 2 - Semanctics of otium

The working group Semantics of Otium asks how ‘otium’ is semanticized and lexicalized in different languages and literatures and what kind of relevance these semantics have for their particular cultural orders. Following these basic questions, it is to be examined whether a certain language has a lexical meaning for ‘otium’ and how the lexemes of ‘otium’ are adjusted to word fields in many languages. It becomes imperative to question, in the course of historical comparisons, possible changes of otium-lexemes within the various literatures that are examined. The aim of the working group Semantics of Otium is not to be an isolated and solely etymological or lexicographical research, but rather, to process an investigation of communicative allegory processes depending on their historical contexts based on historical semantics. The key proposition of the CRC1015 is to examine the ambivalence of otium in its particular cultural semanticization through various interdisciplinary from the perspectives of the many subprojects. The aim is to combine a cross-section of the subprojects with a comparative perspective on the facets of relative freedom from time constraints and the possibilities of creative implementation within these.


WG 3 - Urbanity and Otium/Leisure

The working group Urbanity and Otium discusses contemporary approaches to urban research and deals with theoretical texts on Urban Studies. Accoringly, historical trends, as well as recent observations on ‘the self-logic of cities’ (‘Eigenlogik der Städte’, Helmuth Berking/ Martina Löw) and on the future of urbanity are significant for the group. Consequentially, the derived findings will be viewed through trans-disciplinary relation with the larger research program on otium to ask questions like which spatial structures favor or hinder experiences of otium? The working group pays close attention on interferences of urban structures, urban spaces and otium, as well as on specific patterns of perception and reflection of those who are experiencing otium in the city in various forms. Apart from the particular architectonic signature of a city, we are regarding cities as places of social practice (e.g. strolling around) and symbolic forms (e.g. of the consumer society) whose interdependencies with the analytical category ‘otium’ will be discussed within the working group in a trans-disciplinary manner. The working group engages with the focal terms of the three Research Areas: Boundaries, Chronotopes and Practices. Boundaries (Research Area G) play a central role, considering that otium in cities is often experienced to be transgressive, within the tension of dispersion and concentration and bustle and tranquility. Chronotopes (Research Area R) is majorly significant as we analyse temporal structures of otium experiences in urban spaces as well as specific spaces of otium within the urban space. And finally, according to Henri Lefèbvres, urban spaces can be seen as foundations and results of social Practices (Research Area P). The differentiation between spatial practices, representations of space and spaces of representation forms a theoretical approach whose capacity for the subject of urbanity and otium are to be examined.


WG 4 - Nature and Leisure

will start in 2018


WG 5 - Modifications of otium/leisure by transfer of culture

will start in 2019


WG 6 - Leisure and Science

Occidental concepts of science is closely linked to the term otium. However, this connection is by no means definite. Instead it is, at least since the modern orientation towards experimental and empirical methods, quite problematic. Whereas science has to comply within an economic and political benefit calculus, it is visibly in conflict with the ideals of independent research and learning that implicitly or explicitly harks back to the classical concepts of otium. It is of no doubt that a scientific ideal which is in adherence to otium is in contradiction to the ideals of business of science. Even under optimal conditions, the basic requirement of academic science which states that otium should institutionalize free spaces of contemplation and creativity, is paradoxical and counterproductive to begin with. This tenseness between the principles of otium and science is examined in the Research Group. In doing so, the participants’ research on otium and the various preconditions will be explicitly reflected. For this purpose, the interdisciplinary context of the CRC can provide a particularly dynamic platform which identifies the different scientific self-conceptions of the contributing disciplines and helps bring them towards a productive conversation.