Zwischen globaler Sehnsucht und lokaler Angst: Eine Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte des Zirkus in Deutschland


The project aimes at exploring the cultural and social history of the circus in Germany, from its emergence in the mid-19th century to the present. While the circus nowadays is generally perceived as a marginal cultural phenomenon, it was one of the most popular venues of mass-entertainment until WWII in Germany. Today Germany is the country with the most circus companies and projects (ca. 350) in Europe.

As a cultural institution and a social milieu permanently on the move, the circus allows to explore on the longue durée the variegated ways in which global, or transnational dynamics play out on the local and the national level. It also allows to follow up on questions that are central for understanding of some of the major the challenges pertaining to the European integration process and to globalization: How have the freedom to move and cultural difference been negotiated and practiced in our society, and which functions did and do they fulfil? What are the challenges, the conflicts and the potentials pertaining to the encounter between mobile milieus, the sedentary population, the nation state and the European Union?


  • Zukunftskolleg1
  • FB Geschichte,Soziologie,Sportw. u. emp. Bildungsf.
  • Exzellenzcluster
Funding sources
Name Project no. Description Period
Sonstige01.10.2008 – 31.03.2010
Further information
Period: 01.10.2008 – 31.07.2010