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The working group focused on the concept of belonging, a key research interest that crosscuts several sub-projects of the SFB. The group approached 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 were discussed. The group first aimed at gaining a thorough overview of diverse theoretical conceptualizations of belonging within social sciences and cultural studies. In a next step, the group focused on the applicability of these conceptualizations by way of engaging with the empirical material of the sub-projects. Of particular interest was how belonging is articulated, materialized, spatialized, and historically transformed. A focus on the performance and labor of belonging thereby ensured that questions of its failure, rupture, interruption and reconstruction were 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, the group addressed belonging as both individuals’ particular feelings of safety and ‘being at home’ as well as an object of political discourse and practice. The discussions of the theme group resulted in a chapter on “Belonging” in the CRC’s edited volume “Affective Societies. Key Concepts” (ed. by Jan Slaby and Christian von Scheve, Routledge, 2019). Furthermore, subprojects C03 and A02 respectively contributed the introduction and an ethnography based article to a special issue in Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry entitled “Embodied belonging. In/exclusion, health care, and well-being in a world in motion” (ed. by Dominik Mattes and Claudia Lang, in print).


Dominik Mattes