For this, cultural history has a flexible set of instruments at its disposal. The conceptual nuclei of Jena Cultural History are ‘medium’ and ‘institution’. Cultural correlations can be revealed in an anthropological way by taking human senses as a starting point and focusing on the historical development of the media of the eye and the ear (radio, film, television, internet, etc.). Insight into the cultural power of today’s media can be used to tap into the world of media of the past (diaries, letters, books, magazines, etc.).
Institutional manifestations of culture lead, among others, to the study of the university, the court and the church. And with this, social forms of cultural socialization are already on the agenda: the nobility, middle class, peasants and workers each realized their own forms of human culture in the past. The relationship between man and woman is also categorically emphasized (cultural history of sexuality). Traditional cultural developments, such as that of nationhood, which has become so important in modern times, also come into play, and their consideration immediately leads to questions such as cultural exchange, cultural transfer, change of culture - and to the significance of national culture in competition with regional and transnational cultures. Practice here means taking into account travel and writing about travel as a way of life, and perceptions of the forms of cultural exchange in symbolic worlds (feasts and celebrations, rites, symbolic forms of action).
Cultural history is therefore history in the sense of an accentuation of the historical development of humanity; however, it shares with other cultural sciences an interest in theoretical context and correlations. In this respect, classic authors and their theories are taken into account - especially the historically minded ones, such as Norbert Elias or Aby Warburg. Still, the central subject remains the "acting, striving and enduring man" (Jacob Burckhardt).