Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Abgeschlossene Forschungsprojekte


Global Inequality, Social Classification and Existence

Social classification is an important component of social life and partly determines social groups, perceptions, categories and opportunities. With contemporary globalization, local and national systems of social classification are transformed, as they have to react to international and transnational trends. This transformation opens up the possibility to study dynamics and mechanisms of social classification in actu. The project comprises studies in a variety of countries, mostly in the global South, in order to analyse social classification and transformations of inequality with a global horizon.

Surinder S. Jodhka (New Delhi - India), Alejandro Pelfini (Santiago de Chile - Chile), Phut Simmalavong (Vientiane - Laos), Jesse Souza (Rio - Brazil), Surichai and Chanthana Wangaeo (Bangkok - Thailand) 

   Project Outline
   Material Collection


Critical Theory after the Rise of the Global South

Eurocentric critical theory and the theory of the social sciences have to be revised in the twenty-first century. The rise of the global South is a unique opportunity to critically review the assumptions made by the so-called classical theories and to develop a more appropriate theory of the social world (cf. Boike Rehbein: Critical Theory after the Rise of the Global South, Routledge 2015).



Bilateral Flows of Ayurveda (PPP mit Indien)

Symbolic Inequality (PPP mit Indien und Brasilien)

Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia (dorisea; BMBF)


Promoting Social Sciences at the National University of Laos

image of Wat Sisaket sculpturesThe Faculty of Social Sciences at the National University of Laos is currently developing curricula and degree programs, creating textbooks and conducting research projects with German support. Cooperation started with a project advised by Grant Evans and funded by the Toyota Foundation in 2003. The project included seminars, training in research and translations. It expired in August 2004 and was followed by an academic partnership between Freiburg and Vientiane funded by the DAAD. Since 2009, DAAD funds cooperation between the National University of Laos and Humboldt University. Cooperation includes research on tourism and religion. Research on religion is additionally funded by BMBF within the framework of a German “Southeast Asian Studies Network” anchored at the University of Göttingen until 2014.




Kaleidoscopic Dialectic

The rise of the global South calls for a revision of the Eurocentric social sciences – empirically as well as theoretically. Research on the epistemological foundations of the social sciences reveals several presuppositions that are linked to the social universe, in which these sciences were developed. These presuppositions are called into question by the rise of the global South. The project of revising some of the presuppositions has led to the concept of a kaleidoscopic dialectic, which is currently developed into a book.



Speed Metal Fans

image of a crowd at metal music concertThe microcosm of speed metal fans presents a good example of the heterogeneity of social environments. To understand the world of speed metal fans, it is insufficient to draw on conventional conceptions of social structures or to use phenomenological reductions. A thorough analysis provides multifaceted social and epistemological dimensions of a subculture that has been global right from the start in the early 1980s. It also shows how alternative forms of life are created in global subcultures.