VALUE and EQUIVALENCE - Research Training Group 1576/2

There is no society without an idea about ‘Value’ and ‘Equivalence’ worldwide, although these concepts have a different content in every society. Furthermore, these concepts constitute highly appropriate approaches to the study of material culture. By focusing the research program toward these concepts, the participating disciplines, archaeological sciences, cultural anthropology and Sinology, obtain a valuable approach to the study of material things in different societies in different eras and on five continents. Based on the case studies under study in the individual dissertation projects, the participants of the Research Training Group (RTG) will be enabled to explain the embedding of material objects in different cultural contexts. Simultaneously it is expected that the in-depth-study of the empirical data will lead to new an extended insights into the nature of value and equivalence. The RTG assumes here a mutually fertilizing process: The well established and widely debated terms value an equivalence make it possible to articulate new and extended interpretations of the case studies in question. Thereby the case studies themselves can contribute to criticize and further develop the more general concepts. Trans-disciplinary collaboration and joint interest in debating theories are among the most important pre-conditions for a constructive character of the debates in the RTG. These aspects are indispensable for the participating applicants as well as for the PhD-candidates.

Furthermore the work of the RTG is structured by three research areas that serve to link the debates of the more general concepts with the empirical research. The first of these research areas is the (A) generation of values and the modes of circulation within a society. The second addresses the (B) transformation of value through trade and transnational mobility. New for the second application period of the RTG is a third complementary research area dealing with (C) goods and traders. This research area shall be added in order to intensify the debates on the term of equivalent for the benefit of the case studies.

Marked by empirical as well as theoretical work, the enhanced value is related to the expected theoretical insights by discussing the concepts of value and equivalence the Goethe University offers an highly appropriate academic environment for doing this, including a specifically designed qualification program for the PhD candidates.