Keynote Speech "Making Worlds While Solving Problems: An Interactionist Perspective" by Dariuš Zifonun
The lecture examines the ways in which the study of “worldmaking” can benefit from a “social world perspective”. It conceives of social worlds as both emerging from shared social practices and prerequisite for interaction. Building on Anselm Strauss’ eminent writing, the lecture argues that the social worlds concept is particularly well equipped for the empirical analysis of social organization in present-day society.
While we are confronting “a bafflingly amorphous universe” (Strauss) social worlds constitute shared spheres of action and interaction. In processes of intersection, segmenting and legitimation they are constantly reshaped and contested. Ranging from the local to the global, social worlds mobilize loyalty, manage membership and organize the transfer of knowledge and resources between sub-worlds and to neighboring worlds. The lecture distinguishes between different types of social worlds, introduces a number of corollary concepts and offers empirical illustrations from the worlds of medicine, law and sports. It highlights some of the limitations of the social world perspective and also points at potential overlap with and divergence from practice theory and life-world theory.
This lecture is the keynote speech of the workshop „Worldmaking in a Sinophone Context: Conceptions, Processes and Practices“, organized under the umbrella of the Joint Center for Advanced Studies "Worldmaking from a Global Perspective: A Dialogue with China".
Dariuš Zifonun is a professor of Sociology with a focus on social structure analysis and sociology of conflict at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Previously, he was a professor of Sociology at Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin, a research fellow at KWI Essen, and held visiting professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Hitotsubashi University