S-projects: Systemic mechanisms and relations

S-projects will focus on the levels of analysis from organisms to societies. We will study and clarify the impact of diversity on disease as well as the behavioural, perceptual, cultural and legal processes of sex/gender diversification. Systemic levels must necessarily include what we can call “epistemic metalevels”, where methodological and conceptual reflection can take place.

What are the determinants, meanings and implications of sex in interacting biological, medical and sociocultural systems? The systemic level starts from sex as a human variable, including both biological-material and sociocultural contexts. Here, the relationship between sex and gender will be relevant. The projects at the system level demonstrate the inter- and transdisciplinary approach of the CRC. Accordingly, some of the projects use methods from the natural sciences and operationalise sex from a biomedical, psychological and neuroscience background. Other projects conduct research using methods from the humanities and social sciences, and approaches from the history of science and medicine, science studies, ethics, or gender studies. This plurality is reflected in conceptualisations and operationalisations of sex in the state of research of the different disciplines: while the sciences for a long time assumed essentialising binary models, in the humanities and social sciences an understanding of the contextuality and malleability of sex is already more established. The scientific system projects will therefore do ground breaking research that moves beyond the binary framework and expands the biomedical state of the art. The humanities and social science projects will explore how our current understanding of sex has changed over time up to the present day, especially since the introduction of changes in the legal framework. They will analyse sex as a site of power and politics that interacts with different social contexts, including – in a self-reflexive turn – the context of the CRC itself.