Resilience Factors in a diachronic and intercultural perspective

At all times people suffered from illness, war, expulsion, flight and death. An interdisciplinary research project from archaeology, life sciences and psychology investigates which factors helped them to become resilient to these stress situations.

deutsche Version

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have been exposed to situations of stress and crises. These include, for example, profound changes in the personal environment such as illness or death, social changes such as political, social or economic crises, but also ecological changes such as natural catastrophes or climate changes. Often such crises have led to decline and collapse but in many cases individuals, communities or even societies have proved to be resilient to such crises and threats or they were able to deal with these challenges. 

Today various scientific disciplines from life and social sciences to historical and archaeological disciplines examine which factors enable individuals, smaller or larger collectives to cope with stressful situations.  The aim of “Resilience Factors in a diachronic and intercultural perspective” is to bring these disciplines together. The project investigates how current concepts of life and social sciences can be transferred to historical disciplines, and - vice versa - how they can benefit from long-term diachronic and cross-cultural perspectives. In synchronic and diachronic as well as in intercultural and intracultural comparisons, specific stress situations are analysed in order to examine whether and to what extent similar factors were relevant for individuals and collectives. Furthermore the project offers insights in cultural and chronological occurrence of resilience factors. This innovative approach will not only enrich current debates in human, economic and social sciences with a new perspective, but will also contribute to the controversial ongoing discussion of human behavioural universals. In addition to the identification of specific resilience factors, the project also highlights cultural differences, questioning research traditions and paradigms, but also evaluating new interdisciplinary approaches.

Coordinated by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum - Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology (RGZM) and the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR) the collaborative network combines following expertise:  Social Psychology Department at Goethe University with the Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations, Department of Social and Legal Psychology, Institute of Ancient Studies  with the Institutes of Classical Archaeology and Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology all located at Johannes Gutenberg University  Mainz, Archaeology Department at Goethe University,  Romano-Germanic  Commission of the German Archaeological Institute and Technische Universität Darmstadt with its Department of  Architecture,  Classical Archaeology.