Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, Institut für » Populäre Kulturen » Prof. Dr. Thomas Hengartner » Hengartner

Completed research project

Title / Titel The Constituting of Cultural Property: Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules (research group)
Sounds and Tones as cultural property? (sub-project)
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Original title / Originaltitel Die Konstituierung von cultural property: Akteure, Diskurse, Kontexte, Regeln (Forschergruppe)
Klänge und Töne als cultural property? (Teilprojekt)
Summary / Zusammenfassung About the research group:
Cultural property is a concept with far-reaching consequences. The interest in bringing cultural property to market (or to block it from reaching the marketplace) and thereby realize an economic, ideological, collective, or individual profit has proven difficult in light of the highly divergent circumstances that actors face in a post-colonial, late-modern world.

Our group of researchers is engaged in examining the constituting of cultural property at the intersection of conflicting priorities in cultural, economic, legal, and social discourses. By focusing on the actors, discourses, contexts and rules that have led to different ways of constituting cultural property, the research group intends to highlight the problematic nature inherent to the concept of cultural property itself, with an eye to both understanding and explaining it as a phenomenon.

This also calls for a heretofore unprecedented combining of expertise from various disciplines; the research group includes specialists from the humanities and the social sciences, as well as from law and economics. Together, they will conduct both micro-studies that address the different levels at which cultural property is constituted as well as formulate theories of institution-building based on jurisprudential and economic models – with the micro-level augmenting the macro-level, and vice versa. Interdisciplinary cooperation, and the holistic intermeshing of theory and practice with respect to cultural property will lead, across disciplines, to the mutual enhancement of basic knowledge, of central epistemic concerns, and of methodology.

The exchange of knowledge such interdisciplinary work promotes will help remedy the deficits that exist in the various disciplines with respect not only to concept formation but also to empirical work thus far undertaken. Work on cultural property is meant to reach differing publics, and in cooperating with national and international scholars, the research group will build a network, unique in German-speaking Europe, that has the subject competence to address numerous aspects of questions that arise about cultural property and copyright. This network will serve as a basis both for communicating with other researchers in this area and serve as an information conduit to decision-makers.

About the sub-project:
Sounds and tones are omnipresent, even though they often are trace (or track)less elements of our sensory surroundings, our perceptions and order. As they are largely closed off from being preserved – the exception being provided by song or music – they have also barely been consciously perceived as an element of cultural property.
The questions and analytic interest of this sub-project are therefore situated at several different levels:
The scope or range of the concept of cultural property. An examination of the discussions thus far conducted on sounds and tones as a constitutive element of cultural property is meant to illuminate how wide the scope or range of this concept can, or should, be.
Cultural property seen as a phenomenon of a technologized information society. The question of the role of technology and media in negotiating cultural property is particularly relevant to audio stocks, but it is also a dimension that cuts across all the sub-projects.
Negotiating cultural property in an institutional environment of (media)-archives. Very few institutions declare themselves responsible for acoustics and its archiving. The analysis here would be how cultural property is negotiated and “administered” at a meso-level.
Case Studies of acoustic culture. Surveying and analyzing specific cases of sounds or tones that have become part of cultural property is meant to illuminate how they have become cultural signs, or rather, how they have become elements of the cultural heritage.
Weitere Informationen
Keywords / Suchbegriffe Sound Studies; Anthropolgy of Sounds; cultural heritage; cultural property; sound archives, archive policy, kulturelles Gedächtnis, Gedächtnisorte
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hengartner (Project Leader)
Johannes Müske, M.A.
Other links to external web pages
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Dr. Regina Bendix
Speakrer of the
DFG-Forschergruppe Cultural Property
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Baurat-Gerber-Strasse 4-6
37073 Göttingen
Duration of Project / Projektdauer May 2008 to Oct 2011