RF 2: International Comparative and Historical Analysis of Society
Brief description: This research focus explores the development, continuity and change of social action patterns and attitude patterns from an intercultural comparative and historical-sociological perspective. In so doing one of Durkheim’s and Weber’s central approaches is again used and combined with modern research methods. Research activities focus on two areas and methodological approaches:
Within the framework of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) and other international research cooperatives, we analyse the change of attitudes and behaviours in central areas of life (work, family and gender roles, social networks, politics, religion, leisure) as well as social dynamics in specific social fields (e.g. academic and business elites). Through complex international comparative statistical analyses of survey data and of other quantitative surveys, it is possible to affiliate individual behaviours and attitudes to different structural, institutional and cultural parameters.
Based on Norbert Elias’ theory of civilisation, research in the second area explores processes of long-term change in mental dispositions and mentalities together with changes in social and institutional structures from an international comparative perspective as well as from a diachronic perspective. Among other things, the national habitus of specific countries, coping with war experiences as well as changes in the concept of nationalism in the age of modern mass media are object of the analyses. The content analysis of source texts (novels, diaries, internet forums and suchlike), which provides access to the emotional state of individuals in specific life situations, is the common methodological basis of these studies.