Dissecting Society. Nineteenth-Century Sociographic Journalism
and the Formation of Ethnographic and Sociological Knowledge
The research project Dissecting Society. Nineteenth-Century Sociographic Journalism and the Formation of Ethnographic and Sociological Knowledge explores the connections between the rise of commercial media and an increased public and academic interest in social dynamics throughout the nineteenth century.
With the advent of market-oriented publishing, newspapers, illustrated magazines, books, (popular) encyclopedias, and various forms of visual media acted as drivers of the consolidation and dissemination of verbal and visual forms, which tracked changes in everyday practices, clothing habits, modes of transport and production, social roles, and urban and rural infrastructures.
These documentary-ethnographic representations of the social universe were strongly related to the concerns and practices of the professionalizing fields of sociology, folklore studies, statistics, and cultural anthropology. However, in the discipline-oriented histories of the social sciences and humanities, journalism and commercial print have been ignored as constitutive contexts of social knowledge production.
By exploring the ideological concerns, rhetoric techniques, and socio-material networks of sociographic journalism and literature, the project promises to institute a cross-genre, transdisciplinary, and transnational historiography of the evolution of social knowledge and to revise mono-disciplinary and Eurocentric tales of the past and present.