The dissertation project aims to examine American conservatism from a culture-oriented perspective. Following Arlie Hochschild (2016), American conservatism is thereby understood as a general way of life in which a nature-oriented lifestyle and, in relation individual freedom are central elements. The project draws on current theoretical and methodological debates which attempt to “relationally” reorder the relationship between human beings and their environment on the one hand (Ingold 2000, Tsing 2015, Latour 2018) and highlight the epistemological significance of sensual experience on the other (Pink 2013). A particular emphasis will be put on the acoustic dimension of sensual experience and knowledge (Feld 2012, 2015). It is the overall aim of the project to transcend discursive understandings of conservatism and ask, against this background, how the sensual experience of the environment contributes to the way people fundamentally position themselves in the world. The empirical basis of the project is a twelve-month ethnographic fieldwork in rural Wyoming.
The project is generously funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.