The research program is characterized by a combination of overarching theoretical and methodological reflections bundled within the working program of the so-called Meta Area and case studies that have been allocated to four Thematic Areas (TA). The TAs are focusing on central domains of living together. These are the production and reproduction of individual life, culture, social relations and authority (thus contributing to the understanding of social phenomena). The projects assembled in the Thematic Areas Solicitous Life (TA1), Created World (TA2), Urban Agglomerations (TA3) and Rulership (TA4) take specific types of triggers as their starting point, which at the same time can be viewed as a resource for coping with challenges. The subdivision of the analytical category challenges into triggers, processes of perception, conceptualization as well as coping and resources serves to establish comparability between the individual subprojects both within a Thematic Area and across Thematic Areas, thereby offering a broader theoretical-methodological interoperability. The results of the individual case studies feed into a Meta Area.

The Meta Area (MA) serves as a connective framework in which the processes of perception, conceptualization and coping with challenges are investigated separately as well as interconnectedly, thereby aiming at a diachronic and intercultural perspective and thus a better understanding of the multiplicity of challenges in living together. The questions which are pursued in the Thematic Areas and the resulting outcomes interact with the perspectives of the Meta Area. At the same time, the transfer of results from the Thematic Areas to the Meta Area enables the further development of a theoretical-methodological toolkit and facilitates a level of abstraction beyond the individual challenges.

The case studies in each TA serve to research sampled segments, to enable diachronic and regional comparison and to lay a foundation for focused meta-analyses. At the same time, they are designed to explore further potentially relevant avenues (regarding sources, issues, methods). Therefore, some of the case studies have been joined into interdisciplinary projects, either on a large scale or in a small group, while others, for the time being at least, have been scheduled as individual (pilot) projects.