The Frobenius Institute

Roland Hardenberg gives the keynote lecture at the international conference "Resources and Transformation in Pre-modern Societies" (November 1921, 2020) organised by the Leibniz Postdoctoral School "Resources in Society".


From November 19th  21st, Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner and his team of the Archaeological Sciences at the Ruhr University Bochum organised the digital conference "Resources and Transformation in Pre-modern Societies" in cooperation with the Leibniz WissenschaftsCampus Bochum. Roland Hardenberg, Director of the Frobenius Institute, gave the opening lecture on "Different perspectives on resources: some methodological and theoretical considerations".

About the keynote lecture:
What new things can be said about resources from a humanities and social sciences perspective? There is widespread agreement that resources can no longer be reduced to raw materials alone and that the idea that the mere presence of certain raw materials can "automatically" trigger certain social processes is too simple. In the humanities and social sciences, resources are therefore usually studied in their material and immaterial dimensions and examined in many areas of human life: resources of work, of education, of religion, etc. According to a very widespread understanding, resources are the manifold means used to achieve multiple purposes.

Roland Hardenberg refers in his talk to recent research conducted at the Goethe University in Frankfurt which shows that this current understanding of resources was the result of conceptual changes which started roughly about last 200 years ago. He then refers to some of the new impulses given by the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 1070) at the University of Tuebingen to the understanding and use of the resource concept. For this purpose, the cultural definition of resources, terms such as resource complexes and resource structures as well as the concept of resource cultures are presented in order to discuss the following questions: Are resources "things" or "processes", are there only space- and time-bound or also universal resources, are resources linked by planned or random connections, do resources trigger dynamics or are resources the product of these dynamics, do resources open up possibilities for action or do they create dependencies?