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Content-related module description

The term “culture” has been very much en vogue for years. Its relevance for our societies is continuously on the rise, in our everyday lives, in science, and also in the arts and politics, mostly due to the increasing interconnectedness of the world we live in. This module offers an insight into significant historic and current dimensions of the meaning of “culture” from an interdisciplinary perspective. It places a clear emphasis, on approaches that respond to the challenges of a world which is becoming increasingly globalised. The guiding question is the development of a scientific conception of culture departing from the narrow and homogenised to a broad, relational understanding. The key subject areas are:

  • What is culture? Genesis and dimensions of meaning in the concept of culture
  • Economic cycles in the concept of culture for an increasingly interconnected world: background and criticism
  • Multi-, inter- and transculturality: genesis, definitions and criticism of currently prevalent concepts of culture
  • Postcolonial concepts of culture and critique of essentialism (“own”/”foreign”/”hybrid” culture)
  • Culture and power: social, political and economic dimensions of the concept of culture

Movement and mobility of humans, things, actions, ideas, thoughts and collective imaginations are fundamental dimensions of cultural practice and change. Through technical, spatial and social mobilisations, society has experienced an acceleration that involves humans, actions, and also (concrete and virtual) things. This module deals with phenomena, conditions and effects of mobility from the perspective of this interdisciplinary, dynamic subject area, which has become increasingly important in recent years. It offers an overview of current topics and methods as well as theoretical approaches to the development of the field in question. In particular, it focuses on:

  • Historic development of movement
  • Movement as a physical technique
  • Technical advances in movement and mobility processes as catalysts for social change
  • empirical and theoretical approaches to of Mobile Culture Studies that do justice to a contemporary, dynamic understanding of science

3.1. Historical Dimensions: This module is an introduction to the historical dimensions of globality. It enables students to understand and analyse today’s global interconnectedness as a result of a development in the history of humankind. The module focuses on the following subject areas:

  • Definitions of “globality/globalisation” and the concept of “global history”
  • Examples of the historical dimension of these phenomena from ancient history to the present
  • Political, cultural, social and economic aspects of these phenomena
  • Conditionality of historical change through mobility and communication (media)
  • The interconnection of the local, regional and global (“glocalisation")

3.2. Linguistic Dimensions: Investigating the linguistic dimensions of inter- and transculturality is the subject of a wide range of disciplines, such as anthropology, social psychology, communication science and linguistics. This module gives an overview of these and focuses on the study of intercultural communication and dimensions of multilingualism from a linguistic perspective. The main focus is on the application of sociolinguistic, pragmatic and cognitive approaches to intercultural communication:

  • Choice of language and interaction in multilingual concepts
  • Cultural concepts, schemata and metaphors
  • Intercultural comparison of speech acts
  • Cultural aspects of linguistic courtesy
  • The organisation of turn-taking by speakers and the behaviour of listeners
  • Culturally determined argumentation strategies
  • Development and negotiation of cultural misunderstandings
  • Culture-specific aspects of non-verbal communication
  • The influence of social structures and power relations on the use of language and the representation of social actors

3.3. Ethical Dimensions: Climate-related damage, hunger, war, natural disasters, flight – many of the challenges we face today are global. Global problems differ from local ones on several levels. For a start, their causes are often manifold and not readily identifiable. The causes of global flight movements, for example, are diffuse and cannot be traced back to a single cause. Furthermore, potential or actual impacts of global problems are not clearly geographically and temporally limited, but usually affect several continents and, as is the case with climate change, also several generations. Global problems require global solutions. In order to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, for instance, it is not enough that Europe implements a stringent climate policy; a global strategy for action is needed. It is therefore not surprising that the ethical questions associated with global problems are also of a special nature. In this module, the characteristics of global challenges will be discussed, and their ethical dimensions will be analysed systematically. The ethical questions address the evaluation of individual and collective actions, moral responsibility for potential harm and questions of moral decision-making. Examples are:

  • What responsibilities and obligations can be assigned to individuals?
  • Is there a collective responsibility for global problems and how can this be understood?
  • How can individual contributions to global problems be evaluated from an ethical perspective?
  • Do our ethical duties differ depending on the geographical distance?
  • Do present generations have a responsibility for future generations?
  • How can we deal with moral uncertainty?

3.4. Cultural Science Dimensions: An increasingly interconnected world also brings about changes in everyday practices, ways of interaction and fields of work – also for Arts and Humanities graduates. Globalisation processes can therefore not only be understood as a consequence of technological, political and economic transformation. Rather, they are produced permanently and actively, co-designed or even criticised and deliberately denied by the social actors, in the sense of “Doing Globalisation”. This module provides an exemplary insight into the activities, professions, lifestyles and attitudes through which culture is produced and negotiated in an interconnected world on a daily basis. Special consideration is given to:

  • Practical exercises and excursions to professional and practical fields concerned with significant forms of negotiating globalism/culturality, such as: excursions to local sites of transnational corporations; to museums, galleries and art institutions that produce, show and/or circulate images of globalism/culturality; to local media companies, with a focus on their global interconnectedness (e.g. transnationally operating NGOs, human rights organisations)
  • Images of globalisation: visual practices of media and digital communication
  • Global Cities: aspects of transnational urbanity
  • Post-migratory positions (e.g. global citizenship, urban citizenship, human rights)
  • Social counter-movements: dimensions of anti-globalisation and denial of globalisation

4.1. Practical training abroad (within the scope of 4–8 ECTS credits)

4.2. Domestic practical training with an intercultural focus, e.g. activities in areas with cultural diversity (within the scope of 4–8 ECTS credits)

4.3. Courses taken during a stay abroad from the subject area of the BA programme or with an intercultural focus (within the scope of 4–8 ECTS credits)

4.4. Researching intercultural experience: This module offers an introduction to the theoretical foundations and methods of intercultural research and enables students to scientifically reflect on their own intercultural experiences. This concerns not only the intercultural experiences of exchange students (incoming and outgoing) but also practical experiences of students who work as mentors for international students, in refugee care and similar contexts.

  • Basics of communication, culture-related communication patterns, cultural concepts and cultural standards
  • Providing a theoretical and methodological toolkit for research on intercultural interactions (e.g. ethnography, narrative research/digital narration, discourse analysis, interview research)
  • Reflection of own cultural conditioning and identity
  • The impact of culture on learning and teaching styles
  • Reflections of cultural foreignness and filter concepts, i.e. culturally determined perceptions
  • Adaptation processes and culture shock theory
  • Critical reflections on the theory of intercultural competence and also self-reflection of the own intercultural interaction in a variety of contexts.

4.5. Courses from Module 3 (within the scope of 4–8 ECTS credits)

Module overview (incl. course details)

Module 1–3 Type of course ECTS Recom. semester
Module 1: Theories on Inter- and Transculturality VO 4 2nd–4th
Module 2: Mobile Culture Studies VO 4 2nd–4th
Module 3: Globality/Culturality      
Historical Dimensions VO/VU 4 2nd–4th
Linguistic Dimensions VO/VU 4 2nd–4th
Ethical Dimensions VO/VU 4 2nd–4th
Cultural Science Dimensions VO/VU 4 2nd–4th

N.B.: You will need to take 2 courses/exams from Module 3, corresponding to a total of 8 ECTS credits.

Module 4: Mobility Experiences Type of course ECTS Recom. semester
4.1. Practical training abroad PR 4–8 2nd–3rd
4.2. Domestic practical training with an intercultural focus PR 4–8 2nd–3rd
4.3. Courses taken during a stay abroad from the subject area of the BA programme or with an intercultural focus PR 4–8 2nd–3rd
4.4. Researching intercultural experience PS 4–8 3rd–4th
4.5. Courses from Module 3 VO/VU 4–8 2nd–4th


Contact & Information

Assoz. Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Judith Laister

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2586

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