The Reflective Turn Forum

The ROOTS Reflective Turn Forum provides an interface and open space ("freie Raum") to facilitate a collective effort across the cluster to think critically beyond disciplinary boundaries and share theoretical concepts between the different disciplines. In particular, the Reflective Turn Forum aims at sustaining debate and exchange with respect to new research results and theoretical questions. It entails reflection on causal categories in theories (proximate, fundamental, ultimate causes, pressures, triggers, drivers etc.), the abstraction of general patterns, and how concepts and assumptions are integrated into models. It also includes reflection on social categories, such as function, agency, motivation, labour, power, and belief system. Specifically, the ‘Reflective Turn’ agenda focuses on two main research strands:

  1. Epistemological Review, i.e. the critical reflection on knowledge production within ROOTS. The competition between theoretical approaches and paradigms (e.g. materialism, social evolutionarism, eco-determinism, culturalism and post-structuralism) requires reflective scrutiny. This first dimension is comprised of epistemological topics among others in history and archaeology, including a current turn to a new generation of science-based inquiries; and
  2. the explanatory potential for present challenges. The questions concerning the relevance of past developments for the present and future touch upon a highly contested issue, which is enquired under the general questions of: in what way and to which extent are the research results concerning past societies relevant to present societal challenges and even possible future dynamics? How and in what respect can this relevance be supported? ROOTS follows an approach that aims at identifying patterns of past developments in different domains and discusses the dimensions of their significance.

Discussion meetings, reading seminars, and presentations by ROOTS researchers as well as series of guest lectures and international workshops will sparke debate and exchange on the epistemological concerns and present-past connections. It is expected that these activities and discussions will expand research agendas by iteratively reflecting on single and multiple research topical foci.



Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions