EXC 2060 C3-22 - Fortune-telling and politics in the early modern period

in Process
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1
  • Description

    Fortune-telling was omnipresent as a specific belief system in early modern societies, but it was also always controversial. This simultaneity of approval and rejection, of situational relevance and insignificance, makes fortune-telling a particularly interesting phenomenon in early modern societies. Nevertheless, research has rarely addressed this simultaneity.

    The project addresses this deficit. On the one hand, it explores the fundamental question of how significant fortune-telling was as a resource for generating knowledge and as a mode of decision-making in early modern societies. How can the fractured relevance of fortune-telling be explained, and how do certain contexts or frameworks differ in which (individual) people or larger groups relied on fortune-telling from those in which they did not? On the other, it is important to determine more precisely how and under what circumstances it was possible for fortune-telling to influence political action (especially in the form of ruling action) and social movements.

    Overall, the project aims from a praxeological perspective to reassess fortune-telling as a controversial instrument of generating knowledge, and to re-evaluate the cultural conditions and consequences of fortune-telling as a belief system, but also as a resource of knowledge in early modern societies. The focus is therefore not on the question of which forms of fortune-telling existed, how they functioned in theory, and how they developed methodologically. Rather, the focus is on the conditions under which fortune-telling underpinned people’s actions, and what can explain the great differences in the situational relevance of fortune-telling expertise with regard to people’s behaviour.

  • Persons