Manfred Schneider Former Senior Fellow

Manfred Schneider

Research Projects

Paranoia and Political Violence

As conclusion of my long-standing work on “Paranoia and Political Violence”, I turn to juvenile suicide bombers as well as violent pupils and their specific relationship to the world. In its core, paranoia is an interpretation that creates certainty on the basis of limited data (signs, pictures, texts, gestures) – certainty that can hardly be unsettled. In cases of juvenile suicide bombers (there are actually only juvenile suicide bombers), this ultimately destructive certainty can also be observed. The question I am concerned with is therefore: Is this certainty and the desire for it a psychological anomaly, or is it the expression of a certain attachment to institutions that guarantee hold in the world? Is certainty a mental institution?

The Archive of Example

Developed with a group of collaborators, this project is meant to investigate the culture of the example and example giving in the modern sciences. Since the sciences have discovered new empirical areas and cover them theoretically as well as systematically, individual examples have become necessary in order to illustrate and render convincing abstract notions and arguments. In contrast to the Exempel, the example is of a contingent character: Another one could replace it without ado. Therefore, there exist languages, styles and conventions of example giving. A main focus of the project is on the example in the aesthetic discourse between 1750 and 1850. Around 1750 example giving becomes a convention of description and argumentation. In order to record such examples, an electronic database has already been created, to which new material is added continuously – from Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten to Friederich Theodor Vischer. In a later phase, once the project has found sufficient funding further disciplines will be added. In sum, the project uses the opportunities of electronic data processing to inquire into the languages of the exemplary in the work of individual authors but also in certain periods of time. Additionally, we see numerous possibilities for using such an archive in further research.