Global Multiplicity: Academic Approach

Complexities and Crises in a Connected World


To understand the complexities of our 21st-century social worlds, we need to engage with multiplicity. Our societies are increasingly shaped by multiple social realities, lifeworlds, worldviews, approaches to future-making, and various forms of knowledge (production). At the same time, all of the major problems and current crises that the world faces have multiple dimensions, intersect with other problems, and have to be addressed through multifaceted measures. Contemporary challenges range from climate change to species extinction and health crises, and concern the long-term consequences of colonial domination, growing social inequalities, chronic conditions of enmity and war, new geopolitics, and the slow violence of environmental degradation. While these challenges are universal, their effects vary depending on the specific contexts where they occur. This means that understanding and addressing them require a grounding in local knowledge and contexts from a people-centred approach.

The empirical foundation of our endeavour is ethnography, a research method that involves immersive and detailed observation of social phenomenon. Ethnography allows us to gain deep insights into the lived experiences, beliefs, practices, and interactions of individuals and communities. At the same time, we also believe in pushing the boundaries of methodology and experiment with a dynamic mix of ethnographic and other close-up empirical methods. Investigations will also engage in the analysis of statistical data, archival resources, mass media products, and various online communications. Together with participant observation, interviews, and engagement with research subjects, we strive to understand the entangled complexities and nuances of their social worlds. That’s what this graduate school aims to do – train the next generation of researchers to engage with global multiplicity from an anthropological perspective.

By bringing together scholars working in anthropology or with anthropological methods and approaches, this school creates a much-needed synergy to study contemporary issues such as climate change, the digital revolution, the crises of modernity, and and questions of justice and equality. This IMPRS “Global Multiplicity” is dedicated to create a globally renowned consortium for exceptional postgraduate education in anthropology and anthropologically engaged research across various disciplines, including law, sociology, and history. Our mission is to equip doctoral researchers with a profound understanding of plurality and to enable them to explore conditions of multiple perspectives and ways of living. A focus on complex entanglements and different forms of agency will help researchers to deepen their understanding of historical trajectories and current challenges.

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