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The working group focuses on the concept of belonging, a key research interest that crosscuts several sub-projects in the SFB. The group approaches the concept from various disciplinary perspectives with the aim to explore its manifold semantic dimensions as well as its practical relevance for the involved sub-projects. Moreover, methodological possibilities to explore belonging as an empirical phenomenon are discussed. Currently, the group is aiming at gaining a thorough overview of the diverse theoretical conceptualizations of belonging within social sciences and cultural studies through close reading and discussion of pertinent texts. In a next step, the group will focus on the applicability and potential shortcomings of these conceptualizations by way of engaging with the empirical material of the sub-projects. Of particular interest is how belonging is articulated, performed, materialized, spatialized, and historically transformed. A focus on the performance and labor of belonging thereby ensures that questions of its failure, rupture, interruption and reconstruction are equally addressed. Attending to manifestations of belonging across personal and social scales and encompassing ideas of affective attachment as well as questions of the formation of collective identity, we seek to address belonging as both an individual’s particular feeling of safety and ‘being at home’ as well as an object of political discourse and practice.

Coordination: Dominik Mattes