Institute of Historical and Cultural Anthropology

Constituting Region as a Space of Knowledge. The Contribution of Folklore and Linguistic Research in Württemberg (1890-1930)

Funding Projekt der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
PI Prof. Dr. Bernhard Tschofen
Research Associate Dr. Lioba Keller-Drescher
Research Associate Karin Bürkert, Stefan Buri, Rebekka Bürkle, Simon Schmid, Renate Deregowski, Eberhard Forner
Duration 08/2006 - 07/2008

The project is part of a collaborative project in preparation for a DFG-funded research group. This is entitled Folkloristic knowledge and social knowledge transfer: on the production of cultural knowledge formats in the 20th century.
The research network of six institutes in the field of folklore / European ethnology / empirical cultural studies serves to test and strengthen intra- and interdisciplinary cooperation, to develop cooperative research models and to work on science-theoretical questions in the field of knowledge production and knowledge transfer. The Research Association aims to provide new insights into the construction of knowledge cultures by investigating concrete practices of knowledge production, distribution and reception within the framework of historically grounded research in the social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities, thereby revealing new connections between scientific and social contexts of knowledge transfer. Folklore is chosen as an example because it is characterised by a tradition of popular and applied knowledge production like hardly any other discipline in the humanities. (Quoted from the Mantle application)

The Tübingen subproject examines the role of folkloristic/ethnographic knowledge in the constitution of state, regional and national consciousness using the example of Württemberg. It is based on the assumption that a comparatively strong state commitment to the construction of national unity ensured that Württemberg was the most researched state in the empire in terms of regional studies at the end of the 19th century. At the same time, public spheres were formed here that contributed to the further popularisation of folkloristic knowledge as well as to its practical generation (Schwäbischer Albverein, founded in 1888; Schwäbischer Heimatbund, founded in 1909).

Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the territorial integration of Württemberg and its inscription on the national horizon have been accompanied by the discovery of regional peculiarities, the identification and description of which served at the same time to confirm small-scale differentiation and, in the sense of unity in diversity, the production of a homogeneous cultural and memorial space and thus the construction of national unity. Special attention will therefore be paid to the spatially explorative knowledge formats of linguistic geography and naming, which contributed to making the coherence of the region narratable and communicable. Starting with the major projects of regional description and the early publication series of folklore and popular journals, the various knowledge formats and their actors will be examined. Special attention will be paid to the decades around the First World War and the role of regional knowledge in political reorganisation processes. The project thus pursues a knowledge-based perspective on the cooperation between politics and science in the creation of administrative spaces.

Further information on the joint project can be found at: