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RF 1: Sociological Theory and History of Sociology

Members: Sabine Haring-Mosbacher, Barbara HönigStephan Moebius (Speaker), Frithjof NungesserKatharina Scherke, Antonia Schirgi(Gerald Angermann-Mozetic, pens.), (Christian Fleck, pens.), (Manfred Prisching, pens.) 

Brief description: This research focus covers a wide range of theoretical and historical aspects of sociology. The pluralism of theoretical positions adopted by sociologists is a permanent stimulus to reflect and compare the developed arguments. This openness to dialogue is an essential feature of this research focus.

In order to research the history of sociology, the very different perspectives of analysis have to be combined fruitfully. The writing of the history of sociology was for a long time dominated by the history of classical sociology and the history of ideas. Therefore, it is crucial to add to this history by researching historical discourse relations. Moreover, it is essential to implement the sociologisation of the history of sociology as it has already been demanded by many members of this particular research focus.

The  Doktoratsprogramm Geschichte und Soziologie der Sozialwissenschaften (Doctoral Programme History and Sociology of Social Sciences), established by the University of Graz and by advocates of this research focus, is committed to the idea of research-led teaching.

Keywords of the research focuses:

Theory: theory of action, theories of social practice, post-structuralist sociology, socio-theoretical implications of pragmatism (especially Dewey and Mead), dialogue between sociological theory and current developments in cognitive sciences, theory of culture and sociology of emotions.

History: early days of sociology in Austria (focus on Gumplowicz) and Germany, Sociology of the Interwar Period, French sociology (focus on ‘Durkheim School’), social scientific emigration, developments in sociology in the German speaking world after 1945.

The research on the history of sociology benefits significantly from the strong cooperation with the “Archiv für die Geschichte der Soziologie in Österreich” (AGSÖ, “Archive for the History of Sociology in Austria”), which was initiated in 1987 by members of this research focus. The archive was directed by Christian Fleck between 1987-2006, followed by Gerald Mozetič (2006-2013) and Katharina Scherke (2013-2021). Since October 2021 Sabine Haring-Mosbacher has headed the AGSÖ.

The AGSÖ has established a number of websites which present substantial research collections. Reinhard Müller, who has been in charge of the archives since the AGSÖ was founded, was a Curator, amongst others, for:

A number of relevant publications on these topics written by Reinhard Müller are available on the abovementioned websites.

Gerald Mozetič established the website „Edition Gumplowicz“ in 2010 (technical realisation: Martin Griesbacher). The website offers texts from the early days of sociology written by the lawyer and sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838-1909) and provides archives from long-term research and collection work.


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