The Collaborative Research Center 923 investigates threatened orders. In line with the wider meaning of the German Ordnungen, orders are conceptualized as arrangements of elements that are related to each other in a certain way and that structure social groups or even whole societies. It is the view taken by the Research Center that orders are threatened when agents become convinced that their options for action are uncertain, when behavior and routines are called into question, when agents feel they cannot rely on each other, and when agents manage to establish a threat discourse.
Researchers in different fields within the social sciences and cultural studies studying the past and the present will collaborate in order to develop a model of threatened orders, the objective being to:
- historicize current crisis diagnostics,
- investigate modes of rapid social change,
- renew space and time categories in the social sciences and cultural studies, and
- elaborate a platform for the social sciences and cultural studies in an age of globalization.
These broad goals are achievable because ‘order’ is central to political and social thought in multiple disciplines and epochs. Joining this concept to ‘threatened’ furnishes a valuable lens through which to scrutinize current interdisciplinary debates on issues of order, crisis, modernization, social change and revolution, risk, security/insecurity, vulnerability, resilience, and emotion. Thus the CRC addresses issues now being broadly discussed in national and international contexts, and which are currently targeted by diverse research programs. Its preferred approach is to identify, within the brief moment of threat, the basic patterns of social order. By connecting threat and order in this way, the existential aspects of a given threat can be analyzed, along with the constancy and variance of a given order. From this modest starting point, it is possible to answer questions fundamental to the social sciences and cultural studies in the 21st century.