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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

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Workshops and conferences 2014

Markets. Social Dimensions and Historical Change in Interdisciplinary Perspective (July, 18-19 2014 Universität Bielefeld)

Organisation: Martin Bühler, Sebastian Teupe

Sociologists and Historians easily agree on the facts that markets are not given facts, that they are not anonymous or that there is no automatic price mechanism. However, simply distancing oneself from neoclassical economic models does not yet provide a basis for mutual understanding. Until now historians and sociologist have worked on markets by large ignoring each other? disciplines. We are wondering whether there even is such a thing as an interdisciplinary understanding of markets

We are organizing a two-day workshop at the BGHS to bring together scholars from both disciplines. We are not aiming for presenting final results. Rather, we want to facilitate the exchange of different theoretical and methodological approaches as well as practical questions of research: if markets are socially constructed and ambiguous entities that change historically over time how is it even possible to analyze them? How do we need to construct a research project to account for historical change in a mechanism that by standards of economic theory is deeply ahistorical? Where and how can we measure the performative influence of economic theory?

We want to discuss questions like these on the basis of specific research projects.

Empirical Research in Law and Society Projects - Enhancing Research Practice (January 23, 2014 at Bielefeld University and March 5, 2014 at the University of Warwick).

Organisation: Agnieszka Doll, Dr Ania Zbyszewska

Do you use empirical research in your study of law and society? Would you like to share your experiences with others, and/or learn more about the different types of methods that you can use to enhance your research practice?

Facilitated by Agnieszka Doll (PhD Candidate University of Victoria, Faculty of Law) and Dr Ania Zbyszewska (University of Warwick School of Law), these collaborative workshops consider empirical methodologies and methods in law and society research. Each workshop is open to 20 participants, and is primarily aimed at doctoral students and early career researchers. Apart from presentations by researchers experienced in a range of methodological approaches, participants will be invited to present a brief sketch of their own research methodologies, questions, or dilemmas that might be considered in group discussion. The aim is 1) to reflect on what empirical social-legal research offers/could potentially offer, 2) to support and strengthen understanding of empirical research methods within the socio-legal community, and 3) to foster international flow of ideas about socio-legal research practices. Among others, the workshops will examine textual methods, mixed qualitative methods, ethnographies that can be used by researchers to investigate law, its discourses, and its practices in social, political, economic, and historic contexts.

For more information please visit

From official documents to sources of historical research: The career of GDR-files before and after 1989 (16-17 Jan. 2014)

Organisers: Olga Galanova, Klaus Schroeder

Programme (in German)

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany the discussion, what explanatory power sources from GDR-Archives would have started. It is still going on. Nearly all researchers tried to keep a critical distance, in order to avoid "socialist" ways of measuring or the lexis of the perished East German State. This critical handling seems to be necessary regarding the fact, that a big number of the GDR documentation served a predetermined purpose and was not necessarily based on true facts.

Central questions of our interdisciplinary workshop are:

  • How can official documents become sources of historical research?
  • Which explanatory power do these documents have (for different purposes or as answers to different questions)?
  • Where does this explanatory end?

We would like to invite you to discuss with us how research on the GDR can benefit from an expanded or new fashioned way of source criticism.

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