Disc09
Comparison as social and cultural practice

Convenors:
Stefan Groth (University of Zurich)
Markus Tauschek (Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt Freiburg)
Discussant:
Dorothy Noyes (Ohio State University)
Stream:
Disciplinary and methodological discussions:
Location:
Aula 31
Monday 15 April, 11:15-13:00
Monday 15 April, 16:30-18:15

Short abstract:

Comparisons are everyday practices used to make sense of social roles and encounters, transformation processes and uncertain futures. The panel asks for the grounding of comparative practices in everyday life and for different modes and theorizations of comparison.

Long abstract:

Comparisons are everyday practices used to make sense of social roles and encounters, socioeconomic transformation processes and uncertain futures. By comparing oneself with others, practices, statuses and worldviews are put into context and embedded into broader frames of meaning. In times of change and risk, comparisons serve to reduce complexity and offer orientation. Focusing on comparison not as an analytic tool, but as an everyday social and cultural practice, the panel seeks to shed light on subjective perspectives and on what individuals (and groups) do when they compare and how they do it - from subtle to crude forms of comparison; from informal and spontaneous comparisons to institutionalized comparative regimes; from tacit modes of comparing to refined categories and systems of comparison. The panel brings together contributions on comparisons as social and cultural practice from different fields, e.g. from the spheres of work life, leisure, politics, art and migration. It asks for the grounding of comparative practices in everyday life, for the role of comparisons in making sense of transformations, for different modes, forms, and theorizations of comparison. Contributions can, among other aspects, deal with how comparisons are part of narratives, how they are mediatized in popular culture, and which material, quantitative, symbolic or affective dimensions they have.