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Research program of the Research Unit "Cultural Sources of Newness"


Author Info

  • Hutter, Michael
  • Berthoin Antal, Ariane
  • Farías, Ignacio
  • Marz, Lutz
  • Merkel, Janet
  • Mützel, Sophie
  • Oppen, Maria
  • Schulte-Römer, Nona
  • Straßheim, Holger


In this discussion paper the program of the Research Unit Cultural Sources of Newness is presented. Short descriptions of currently nine projects follow. The assumption driving the research program is that newness lies at the core of innovations and emerges in cultural sources, which are analyzed as cultural configurations. The research focuses on the relevance of these cultural constellations rather than on technical or political aspects. Three kinds of processes are identified as being decisive for innovations: 1) the continuous variation of cultural forms and practices; 2) the evaluation of newness; 3) the states of tension that arise within and between cultures. The research program assumes that the interplay of these three processes determines the spectrum and spread of successful innovations. The program is organized in three empirical strands. The strands cover the spatial, interactive and temporal dimensions of cultural configurations, and the projects focus on phenomena of different orders of magnitude. -- Im ersten Teil wird das Forschungsprogramm der Abteilung Kulturelle Quellen von Neuheit entwickelt, im zweiten Teil folgen kurze Beschreibungen von insgesamt neun Projekten. Neuheit, so die zugrundeliegende Annahme des Forschungsprogramms, bildet den Kern von Innovationen und entsteht aus kulturellen Quellen, die als kulturelle Konfigurationen analysiert werden. Die Relevanz dieser kulturellen Konstellationen für das Innovationsgeschehen - im Unterschied zu technischen oder politischen Aspekten - ist der Gegenstand der Forschung. Dabei gelten drei Prozesse als entscheidend für die Qualität und Anschlussfähigkeit von Innovationen: 1) die ständige Variation kultureller Selbstverständlichkeiten, 2) Prozesse der Bewertung als Neuheit und 3) Spannungszustände, die in und zwischen Kulturen auftreten. Das Zusammenspiel dieser drei Prozesse, so die These, bestimmt das Spektrum und die Reichweite der Innovationen. Die empirischen Felder des Forschungsprogramms sind aus der räumlichen, interaktiven und zeitlichen Dimensionierung kultureller Konfigurationen hergeleitet. In jedem der Felder untersuchen die Projekte Phänomene unterschiedlicher Größenordnung.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Cultural Sources of Newness with number SP III 2010-405.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbnew:spiii2010405

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Cited by:
  1. Merkel, Janet & Oppen, Maria, 2012. "Bedeutungsvolle Orte: Eine kultursoziologische Annäherung an kreative Handlungsressourcen in Städten," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Cultural Sources of Newness SP III 2012-401, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Krstacic-Galic, Ante & Marz, Lutz, 2011. "Konsenschancen des energietechnologischen Paradigmenwechsels: Das Beispiel der Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Cultural Sources of Newness SP III 2011-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).


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