Ideas and Language of Welfare
Project leader: PD Dr. Susan Richter (Department of History)
Funding line: Transcultural Studies
The research project focuses on the understanding of public welfare, i.e. the governmental care for its subjects and their substantial needs, in colonial societies from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century. On the one hand, these societies were shaped by the standards of the mother country. On the other hand, the Europeans were met by the indigenous conceivabilities and practices. Because multicultural societies developed in the colonial cities, the question arises, in how far the colonialist governments were willing or forced to integrate these realities in their concepts of welfare. Which new transcultural concepts and interdependencies arose after the convergence or strict dissociation from the two parties? The aim of the project is to clarify the development of a political-technical language about welfare by the respective colonial governments. Therefore, early modern perceptions of welfare and their legal implementations are reviewed not only as a governmental, but also as a cultural category. The project analyzes both the content of official communication, as well as their construction, cultural imprint, break from routine and idiomatic amplification.
In the framework of this project, academic qualification works will be designed that will give a multidisciplinary view on fundamental research in this field. Furthermore, an international and interdisciplinary network of acclaimed scholars and early-stage researchers will be built up, in order to continuously exchange ideas and pursue the question of transcultural welfare perceptions in the upcoming years. The involved historians aim to focus on the issue by applying the historical semantic approach. In the course of research, a data base will be devised, which will cover transcultural concepts of welfare from a semantic-statistical perspective, highlighting the linguistic diversity, transformation and influences of the respective concepts.