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The PhD research group (Graduiertenkolleg 1288) is to analyse personal relations that go beyond the context of family and kinship in different historical periods and different cultures, covering symmetrical ties of loyalty (between equals) as well as asymmetrical ones (patronage, clientage). Such personal or face-to-face social relations are clearly a phenomenon, which we encounter in all societies and cultures in different forms; they are therefore an eminently suitable subject for comparative research. Our project deliberately looks at both friendship and patronage. Only in combining both fields of research can the origins of the modern ideal of a totally symmetrical emotional and affective friendship, which is not marred by any notions of self-interest, be explained in historical context, while at the same time trying to avoid an approach that looks at patronage in pre-modern societies only as a means of self advancement without any emotional content. The Graduiertenkolleg is to be guided by a number of general questions which focus inter alia on the semantics of friendship and patronage, the historical ups and downs of friendship as a leitmotif and guiding principle of social relations, the special importance of inter-cultural and gender-related aspects of friendship, and the relationship between specific forms of friendship and a given political culture. Equally, the economic aspects of such social ties (e. g. mutual economic support) and the social practices and institutions, which give stability to friendship and patronage by establishing trust and confidence, are to be examined. We want to look at the values and norms, which constituted friendship in different cultures and periods of history, and at the special circumstances that gave friendship and patronage in politics an aura of illegitimacy or corruption. The project also aims to re-assess the role of friendship in modern societies, which is often considered as a marginal, purely private phenomenon without any clear institutional framework, in a long-term historical perspective. – In accordance with the comparative approach our research is to assume the programme of courses and lectures, which our graduate students would take part in, is both interdisciplinary and international in outlook. It will provide intensive teaching and guidance to the students within a structure marked by innovation and new ideas. Setting clear objectives for their work it will ensure that the students will complete their theses in a comparatively short time and according to the schedule set by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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