“History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.” –Wystan Hugh Auden
Verstehen first came out in print in the year 1999 as a brainchild of the students of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo de Manila University. Between the year of its first issue and the present day, the social landscape has changed and presented a timely opportunity for Verstehen to continue its commitment of espousing the insights of sociology and anthropology in a different medium.
Welcome to our online space, where we seek to bring the engaging insights of the social sciences, particularly of sociology and anthropology, to the broader public.
Verstehen features stories and images that aim to spark your appreciation of the social world and encourage reflexive thinking about your social location — from gendered experiences and cultural encounters, to that cup of iced mocha latte from the nearby coffee shop.
The German term verstehen roughly translates to “understanding” and is an influential concept in sociological and anthropological thought. Verstehen calls an individual to actively engage and investigate social phenomena using different perspectives in order to understand the world we live in. In this quest for meaning, an anthropological curiosity and a sociological imagination can help us locate ourselves within our social environment and material landscape.
The people behind this project believe that the jewels of sociology and anthropology shine brighter when they are appreciated by people outside the disciplines. After all, everyone creates ideas about the social world, about why events happen in a certain way, and about what can be done to remedy the situations we find problematic in our own society.
Join us as we try to see the world from alternative lenses, initiate conversations about phenomena we usually take for granted, and open our eyes to the inventiveness in things that are uniquely human and social.
Verstehen has four sections:
Lifeworlds contains stories that feature the way we see and experience the socio-cultural world and the various elements that shape our lives — from technology, gender, ethnicity, class, and inequality, to religion.
Deconstruct features commentaries on books, movies, television shows, and music with an analytical twist.
Sociogram presents images with sociological and anthropological captions.
Discourse & Practice caters to longer and heavier pieces on society and culture.