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Welcome to the Chair of General Sociology and Sociological Theory

There is nothing so practical as a good theory (Kurt Lewin). Like all disciplines of the social sciences that emerged in the 19th century, sociology has deep philosophical and theoretical roots. Theoretical knowledge is essential if one wants to be able to think sociologically. One needs to understand not only problems and issues in contemporary sociological thought, but be able to retrace them in the trajectories that lead all the way back to the early classics such as Marx, Tarde, Durkheim, Simmel and Weber.

However, at the Chair of General Sociology and Sociological Theory, we believe that theory is above all the product of work, namely thinking and writing, and thinking and writing are in the first instance practical and experience-based.  That is why in our teaching and research, we always focus on empirical issues, even if we are concerned with developing concepts or analytical models. Knowledge is not created by experience alone, but without experience, knowledge cannot exist. Theory that stems from experienced-based knowledge offers means for experimentation and probing.

Our aim is to innovate the way in which sociology “does” theory by insisting that even the most basic sociological concepts have been shaped by particular modalities of understanding social processes and associations.

In our teaching and research, we focus on the following areas of interest:

  • Basic concepts, perspectives and histories of sociological thought
  • Empirical Philosophy
  • Space, Place and Culture
  • Processes of mediation, Virtuality and Networking
  • Science and Technology
  • Risks, Crises and Catastrophes (e.g. Public Health, Environment, Sustainability, Resilience)
  • Religion and Religiosity
  • Family, Relationships, Gender and Sexuality
  • Education and Social Engineering
  • Political and Social Thought,
  • The Common Good and Empirical Ethics
  • Embodiment/Disembodiment