Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Research Group

Emotions as Bio-Cultural Processes


Convenors: Hans J. Markowitsch (Physiologische Psychologie; Universität Bielefeld), Birgitt Röttger-Rössler (Sozialanthropologie; Universität Göttingen)

In the last two decades, academic interest in the emotions has increased significantly in various disciplines like psychology, neurobiology, social anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy and linguistics. Although the individual disciplines are studying problems overlapping in part, most of the scientific approaches have remained unrelated. Especially between the Sciences and the Humanities, cooperative approaches are hardly existing up to now. Yet all branches concerned are realizing this missing interdisciplinary cooperation as a shortcoming and are thus demanding that the interaction between the disciplines should increase.

Theoretical debates on emotions are to a great extent still governed by dichotomous views, one regarding the emotions as primarily biological and thus universal, the other considering them as primarily socio-cultural and thus special in nature. Most attempts to theorize emotions tend to reduce them to one side or the other of this traditional nature-nurture opposition, and only a small minority of recent approaches intends to overcome these forms of reductionism. The newly established Research Group attempts to transcend these dichotomies as well as the disciplinary boundaries, which - at least in Germany - still dominate the study of emotions and aims at developing a theoretical and methodological framework, which allows an analysis of emotions as a complex, multi-layered process, in which biological, cultural, social and individual components interact equally.

Final report of the ZiF: RG (PDF-Datei, ca. 43 kB)

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