1. What is the focus of your research and teaching?
My theoretical direction has arisen through the assembly of a series of so-called classics in the reflection on the social sciences, which were concerned with assisting, using all the perspective differences of the individual person and to that extent the possibility of acting under one's own responsibility, in a theoretical concept. Coming from sociology, I count the prominent approaches from Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Georg Herbert Mead, as well as French structuralism, and in particular Marcel Mauss and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as the most important tools in my work. The self-evidently prominent position of Sigmund Freud develops from here, whose work with its attention accorded to the unconscious not only encompasses an important dimension of the motivation for an action, but which is also obligatory in the methodological orientation – of the casuistry. The objectives arising from this, which are intended to provide direction in the lectures for the "MA Organisational Studies" course, can be expressed succinctly in the "sociology of elementary forms of social life".
2. What is the content of your study modules?
Elementary sociology, which I designate as a phenomenologically inspired social psychology of micro and macro phenomena, makes conscious and unconscious actions accessible as well as actions understood to be independent of constellations and independent of situations. The seminars and lectures I give are related to fields of work and organisations and are aimed at training a diagnostic sensitivity for the most varied contexts. People act in an ideas-oriented manner and doing so slip into cooperation interconnections each with specific unreasonable action demands on the person. This looks different in a cockpit compared to an intensive care unit, while in a hospice it again looks different to the development department in an automotive engineering company. The aim of the education and training I provide is not a critique but rather an understanding of social interrelations, not a reduction of complexity, but rather an enhancement of complexity. If something is helpful or something is advisable as the case may be, then that be it.
3. What can students learn from you personally?
A passion for the matter at hand, diligence in phenomenological reconstruction, patience when dealing with the material as indeed with oneself, as well as a playful treatment of immutability or, to put it in Freudian terms, of reality, having a tolerance of imperfection rather than outrage, respect rather than ostracism. When learning, "how" is to the fore rather than "what"; it is concerned with a methodology for understanding the meaning. Whether in an organisation or in therapy, we open up the unconscious through its textual shape or design. Thus, casuistry and vignettes shape the means of psychoanalytically trained cognitive access to the world.
4. What is it about psychoanalysis that excites you?
Freud's perspective, his analytical view, his differentiated and at the same time his theoretical-explicative casuistry, as well as, last but not least, his language which is capable of achieving an unpretentious and literary as indeed conceptual conciseness of the complex evolutionary history of human experiences. Above and beyond the capacity and effectiveness of psychoanalytical thinking in therapy and counselling, I regard psychoanalysis as a part of Europe's cultural heritage, with it being my concern that it is kept in mind and which motivates my work at the IPU.
5. Have you got a favourite saying?
Heroism is an exceptional situation and usually the product of a predicament.
(Theodor Fontane, The Stechlin)