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Participating scholars conceptualize Area Studies as relational and pursue transculturally-oriented research beyond Orientalism and Occidentalism. They focuse on everyday social practice in its complex plurality and sociocultural diversity. This is connected to cultural transfer and localization processes. Studying social, political, economic, cultural and historical phenomena in Southeast Asia must therefore transcend routine textual analysis. Rather than primarily relying on techniques of discourse analysis, Area Studies on Southeast Asia in Freiburg attaches great importance to empirical research based on extensive field work. While essentially pursuing a constructivist research agenda, it seeks to combine reflectivist approaches with rationalist theoretical arguments. This implies methodological pluralism seeking a convergence of methodologies derived both from hermeneutic and deductive-nomothetic epistemologies.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) under the program for promoting and strengthening Area Studies in the Federal Republic of Germany
15 November 2009 – 31 October 2013