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Development of the Department of Sociology

In 1958, Mokre initiated the founding of the Institut für Empirische Soziologie und Statistik (“Department of Empirical Sociology and Statistics”), which was at that time part of the Faculty of Law. Seven years later, the department was divided into the Department of Statistics and the Department of Sociology. In 1968, Kurt Freisitzer (1928-2010) was appointed full professor of General Sociology and Social Research. From 1981 to 1983, he was Rector of the University of Graz.


With the appointment of Karl Acham in 1974, a chair for Sociological History of Ideas (renamed in 1981 into Sociological Theory and History of ideas) was established. In 1976, Karl Acham and Kurt Freisitzer founded the Gesellschaft für Soziologie an der Universität Graz (“Sociological Society at the University of Graz”). To this day, the Society hosts a wide range of lectures, thus contributing to the international orientation of the Department of Sociology in Graz


In 1985, Max Haller was appointed third full professor of the department. At the same time, the Department “Gesamtgesellschaftliche Analysen und Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung” (“Section for Society Analysis and Methods of Empirical Social Research”) was founded, consolidating the basic orientation of the Department of Sociology in Graz which, to this day, remains a unique feature in Austria. This orientation embraces two main focuses, the first on theory and history which was further enhanced with the founding of the Archive for the History of Sociology in Austria in 1987, and the second on empirical social research with its broad field of study, starting with Applied Sociology and ranging to international comparative research.


With the re-organisation of the Austrian universities by law in 1975 (“Universitätsorganisationsgesetz, UOG”), the Department of Sociology became part of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. On the level of teaching, the aim in the following years was to establish a regular study program in sociology, which was initially achieved by establishing a humanities branch of study (diploma program) in 1986, which was replaced by a Bakkalaureat and Master's Program in the branch of social and economic sciences in 2003, which was converted into a Bachelor's and Master's program in 2007.

Starting in the 1990s, there were serious changes in the organizational structure of Austrian universities, including the employment status of staff and the organization of research units. The former departments were gradually replaced by research areas, which make the Department’s content related focus visible. In addition to the full professors, the development of the Department has also been significantly shaped by the associate university professors Gerald Angermann-Mozetič, Christian Fleck, Peter Gasser-Steiner, Gerhard Grossmann, Franz Höllinger, Helmut Kuzmics and Manfred Prisching, who were employed at the Department.

With the appointment of Angelika Wetterer (2005), the Department received the first professorship for gender sociology in Austria.

With the appointments of Stephan Moebius (2009), Klaus Kraemer (2010), Libora Oates-Indruchova (2015) and Markus Hadler (2016), the Department of Sociology succeeded in setting an important course in terms of personnel, enabling a successful continuity of scientific research and academic teaching at the Graz location. A temporary professorship (Johanna Muckenhuber 2014-2019) supplemented the Department's portfolio temporarily.


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