Our Toolbox

Voluntariness inspires our research and our empirical projects, organizes them thematically, and guides them methodologically. This triple linchpin entwines a broad spectrum of disciplinary fields such as philosophy, history, and sociology.

Working with and understanding voluntariness requires the use of a fair number of methodological tools. For instance, voluntariness prompts us to reflect upon agency or upon the Eigen-Sinn of actors who reject the call for voluntary participation or are not even affected by it. In our toolbox you might take a look at our constantly growing assortment of handy equipment or see how we use voluntariness as the tool of choice in our analyses.

All Tools

gardening tools

Discursive Strategy

By Jürgen Martschukat

According to the OED, the term “strategy” is commonly used to denote “the art or practice of planning the future direction or outcome of something; the formulation or implementation of a plan, scheme, or course…


History of the Present

By Jürgen Martschukat

A history of the present does not (of course) drag present categories into the past. Rather than projecting the past onto the present, such a history seeks to illuminate the present through the past. Yet, the history…

Voluntariness – Part One

By Jürgen Martschukat

Voluntariness inspires, thematically organizes and methodologically guides all our empirical projects and our research interest at large. As this triple linchpin…


By Jürgen Martschukat

In the wake of the social and civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, agency has become a key concept for a politics of equality and in critical social…

Hammer and Nails


By Elena M. E. Kiesel

The concept of Eigen-Sinn represents neither theory nor method. Rather, it is a conceptual research approach that places the analytical focus precisely on…