(C2-25) On the Dynamics of the translational relations between Politics, Religion and Law on the Road to the “Modern Age”

Early modern state formation as a “paradigm case” of multiple differentiation – the example of the evolution of Brandenburg-Prussia from the late 17th to the 19th century

In the context of the differentiation theoretical tradition of sociology, using the Prussian-Brandenburg history of state formation as an paradigmatic empirical case, the project investigates the specific dynamics of the triangle of politics, religion and law as a slow and ambivalent transition to “modern” constellations. Starting from central heuristic distinctions of a theory of “multiple differentiations” (explicit and implicit order, abstract and concrete coordination, explication and respecification, organisation and milieu), historical structural changes will be reconstructed in an exemplary manner in terms of an empirically sensitive revision of overly dense sociological modernisation narrative. These historical structural changes cannot be reduced to the teleological description of a functional differentiation, but rather correspond to an always regionally differentiated momentum of waves of institutional abstraction and their side effects (“setbacks” included). The selected case example of “State formation in Brandenburg-Prussia” can be used to investigate exemplarily a “second order differentiation” (structural branching of forms of differentiation), particularly because of the advanced historical state of research. In doing so, the metamorphosis of the relationship of politics, religion and law (in the course of the genesis of formal statehood and administration) as a “sectoral” differentiation is specifically applied to the complex role of the “sector internal” differentiation of abstract and concrete forms of the coordination of actions (organisation and milieu).

The Project is part of interconnecting platform E Differentiation and De-Differentiation and H Cultural Ambiguity.