Section Social Psychology and Social Anthropology

The section of Social Psychology and Social Anthropology engages theoretically and empirically with the social and cultural living environment. The focus lies on complex relationships between persons, groups or communities and their cultural and material environment, as well as the relationships that persons maintain with themselves.


The section of Social Psychology and Social Anthropology is an interdisciplinary research and teaching unit of the Faculty of Social Science. It is characterized by its focus on the psychology of action and culture as well as ethnology (social and cultural anthropology). The section maintains close collaborations with other sections, faculties as well as research institutions, combining contemporary social and cultural scientific perspectives. Its systematic integration of cultural psychology into interdisciplinary study programs and research projects is unique internationally.

The section looks at cultures near and far. It deals with the self and the foreign (in their mutual relations). Knowledge and discourses, practices, media and techniques, ways of life and lifestyles, mentalities and identities, forms of action and subjectivity concern this section in contemporary and historical perspectives. This includes a strong interest in the history of science, the study of science and knowledge, especially the history of psychology and anthropology and their lifeworld implications.

In various subject fields, the members of the section examine complex constellations that have become characteristic in many regions of a glocalized world. These include in particular:

The Foreign and the Self:

  • cultural exchange, intercultural communication and competence
  • hybrid and transitory identities
  • acceleration of areas of life and dynamization of practical self- and world relations, as well as conflicting values, norms and practices and complex offers of guidance of highly differentiated societies

Knowledge Research:

  • indigenous knowledge and indigenization of science
  • cultural and psychosocial effects of a technologized and medialized knowledge society
  • optimization of the 'human being', scientifically, (bio-)technologically and politically mediated - regardless of origin and affiliation, age or gender
  • ongoing transformations of anthropological knowledge as well as the gradual or abrupt change of the 'human being'
  • subject history of ethnology and psychology

Upheavals, Conflicts and Violence:

  • multiple forms (of genesis) of physical, psychological and symbolic violence
  • culture and upheavals of the Mediterranean region
  • controversial effects of new media and technologies

The section's specialized foci do not only shape research, but also teaching at all levels: from the bachelor's to the master's program and structured doctoral studies to other forms of support for young researchers (e.g., within the framework of the so-called "Deutschland-Stipendien" in the master's program). Research-oriented courses, centered on theoretically advanced and methodologically adept teaching research projects and research workshops, are pivotal and obligatory in all curricula.

In terms of research methodology, the empirical projects are primarily oriented towards interpretative and practice-oriented approaches. The teaching of a hermeneutic methodology of social research and cultural analysis and the methodology of field research as well as the independent practice of qualitative research methods form priority components of the teaching. Comparative, especially cross-cultural studies focus on global and indigenous knowledge as well as the forms of life, practice and subjectivity interwoven with it.

Profiles and Focus Areas in the Section of Social Psychology and Social Anthropology:

Hans Kilian und Lotte Köhler Centrum für sozial- und kulturwissenschaftliche Psychologie und historische Anthropologie (KKC)

Link to the website of the KKC
Directorate: Dr. Pradeep Chakkarath, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Straub
Permanent Fellows: PD Dr. Christian Gudehus, Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter König