Collaborative Research Centre “Cultures of Vigilance” gets extended funding

19 May 2023

The German Research Foundation has extended funding for the large project at LMU for another four years, while LMU also plays a substantial role in a further proposal that has obtained funding renewal.

© Andrey Gonchar / Adobe Stock

In the latest round of approvals by the German Research Foundation (DFG) the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1369) “Cultures of Vigilance” is to have his funding extended for another four years. Meanwhile, LMU plays a substantial role in a second group that DFG is also funding for a further period.

Vigilance can be defined as a linking of individual attentiveness to goals set by others. This linking occurs on an everyday basis in the realms of security, law, the healthcare sector, or religion – wherever and whenever we are asked to pay attention to something specific and, if necessary, also to react to, or report anything. The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance. Transformations – Spaces – Practices” (spokesperson: Professor Arndt Brendecke, Chair of Early Modern History at LMU) analyzes the history, cultural variants, and current forms of this phenomenon. Its starting point is the observation that many remits within societies that are generally ascribed to institutions are based to a large extent on the cooperation of non-institutional actors who do not have any formal responsibility for them. They put their attentiveness partially in the service of tasks of this nature, which they conceive (or proclaim) as a sort of vigilance. In doing so, they interact with political-social incentive systems, technologies, and institutions.

The CRC thus addresses the phenomenon of the functionalization of attentiveness, which variously underlies religion, law, politics, and healthcare as well as the religious and civil conceptions of the individual subject, but which had never been studied in a consistent historical or systematic manner before the establishment of the CRC. Reaching back in time as far as the cultures of the ancient Near East, the CRC reconstructs how the methods of enlistment and the roles of watchful actors have changed under new institutional, religious, technological, and political conditions. The group works on an interdisciplinary basis, taking in history, law, ethnology, the history of medicine, and literature. After the foundational work of the first phase, it is now the task of the second phase to consolidate the modeling of the CRC and expand its empirical basis. By including Latin America and Japan, moreover, the cross-cultural aspect of the research will be enriched.

Researchers at LMU also play a substantial role in the Collaborative Research Centre / Transregio “Accounting for Transparency” (TRR 266), for which Paderborn University has obtained a second funding period together with the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the University of Mannheim.

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