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Institute of Sociology
Research Profile

Sociological Research in Chemnitz

Research Profile

Receiving wide academic as well as public attention, the large amount of research done in a variety of fields has characterised the Institute since its beginnings. Irrespective of all the differences concerning the focus of their theoretical and / or empirical work, the sociologists of the Institute are united by common interests:

 

Our main research themes: Work/Technology, Health, Globalisation

For some time now and against the backdrop of our many years of research into a variety of fields (amongst them the Sociology of the Family and Population that is still being intensely researched here; see Research Group Nauck), there has been a development towards three central, closely-interlinked “pillars” of sociological research that will be further broadened in the future:

 

Work, Organisation and Technology: work activities, corporate organisation, technology and media in the informatised knowledge and service society

The pillar of “Work, Organisation and Technology: work activities, corporate organisation, technology and media in the informatised knowledge and service society“ deals with questions relating to the problems of the technology-based organisation of work and business organisations, the change in professional requirements and, hence in labour, as a consequence of technological advancement and general technological change in society (especially the impact on society that digitalised networks and rapidly-progressing “new” media have).

 

Health and Health Care Systems: health behaviour, the effects of social change on health structures and technologies

Themes like changes in health behaviour and their positive and negative impact on health outcomes, and primary prevention through measures for the maintenance and promotion of individual and collective health are the concern of the pillar of „Health and Health Care Systems: the effects of social change on health structures and technologies“. Research is done on the basis of analyses of social health care systems, i.e. the interactions among individual health, public and private health care, and health-related processes concerning society as a whole. This includes cutting-edge themes such as health telematics, i.e. the interplay of health-related telecommunication and informatics (like health-related mobile-phone apps in the private sphere, or the general developments towards eHealth structures).

 

Globalisation and Social Change: changes in societal structures (networks, organisations, movements, socio-cultural and civil-societal structures, etc.) within an international context

The focal point of the pillar of “Globalisation and Social Change: changes in societal structures (networks, organisations, movements, socio-cultural and civil-societal structures, etc.) within an international context” are macro-sociological analyses of political and socio-cultural dynamics of development within society influenced by globalisation. Within this scope, attention is paid, for example, to the influence of civil-societal mobilisation processes and actors on the change of social network structures, organisations, and markets in different world regions. Current studies, for instance, aim at the interactions among local and global economic, political and cultural structures, the social innovation potential for new socio-technological networks, the implications of globalisation for democratisation processes, etc.

 

A Common Focus: Humans Acting Within the Structural Framework of Modern Societies

The guiding general question to be posed in these fields is in what ways acting human beings deal with the changes of modern society and the resulting living conditions thereby influencing social structural change. Many projects are concerned, for instance, with the reciprocal relationship between the increasingly demanding professional life and the likewise more and more complex private life of women and men. As increasing technological advancement and globalisation as well as growing cultural diversification are the causes for the changes examined, they receive particular attention.                                                               

Upholding this research focus and the related thematic and methodical-theoretical guidelines, the Institute devotes both its teaching and research activities decidedly to an integral empirically-oriented way of viewing changes in modern society concentrating on the general context of the living conditions and activities of human beings.

 

Diverse research perspectives and methods

Our research approach as described above taps a mix of different traditional sociological specialisations and, in particular, a variety of theoretical and research-methodological perspectives falling back on a proven stock of knowledge and theories, especially from the fields of Political Sociology, Work Sociology, Sociology of Technology and Health.

Based on this, there has evolved a range of different, often long-term research topics at the chairs in the last years that have been further developed through a large number of often very extensive projects completed over time.

 

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