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Teaching Profile

Key Areas

  • Social inequality
  • Empirical research into justice
  • CV research
  • Organizations and inequality
  • Family and partnership
  • Sociogenomics
  • Social Mobility
  • Labour market research
  • Methods of social structure analysis
  • Sociological theory (rational choice theories)

The training in work area 5 social structure and social inequality pursues the following learning objectives:

  • The students should be able to apply the basic concepts of sociology and the general as well as the more specific theoretical approaches to the diagnosis and analysis of the social structure and social inequality in the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Students should be able to use the methods of empirical social research to obtain, analyze and critically assess empirical data on social structure phenomena.
  • Students should acquire content-related knowledge about the social structure of the Federal Republic of Germany in historical and international comparison and be able to critically question this knowledge theoretically, methodologically and methodologically.

The training of work area 5 Social structure and social inequality is based on the understanding that it is part of the task of sociology to adequately describe social phenomena and to explain their causes. As in other empirical sciences, we fall back on theoretical models that have to prove themselves empirically in terms of their informative value and validity. This means that the teaching

  • Theory-oriented is because only theories provide the conceptual and analytical tools for a scientifically sound description and explanation of social phenomena and
  • empirical is because any description and explanation of social phenomena must be based on a methodologically secure and precise observation of the social world.

As far as the theory orientation is concerned, we assume that social (macro) phenomena can only be adequately explained if the (micro) level of individual action is adequately taken into account. Accordingly, action-theoretical approaches and in particular the different varieties of the theories of "rational choice" play a certain key role in the curriculum. This action is decisively shaped by the heterogeneity of individual characteristics, different socio-structural positions, the randomness of birth in a certain year and belonging to certain societies. At the same time, it is important to make organizational sociological theoretical approaches usable for the analysis of social structure and social inequality.

The empirical orientation means that the teaching aims to impart application-related knowledge and experience in dealing with the available large-scale research programs of empirical social and economic research.  Particular importance is attached to familiarity with the data from official statistics (e.g. microcensus and microcensus panel) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). This is achieved through close cooperation in teaching with the research data center of the statistical offices of the federal and state governments in Düsseldorf and the Socio-Economic Panel department of the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. We see the necessary knowledge of methods and statistics as indispensable tools for processing problem- and theory-oriented questions.

Because the transition to sociological professional fields is facilitated by well-founded knowledge of methods and statistics, we recommend that students already set a corresponding method and statistics-oriented focus during their studies.

Since research in the field of social structure analysis and social inequality is largely international comparative research and central theoretical approaches and current empirical research results are published in international publications, teaching is largely based on English-language texts. We also see the necessary knowledge of English as indispensable  Tools that students should acquire during the course of their studies at the latest. Due to the increasing importance of internationality for the social sciences, we expressly point out the possibility of studying abroad.


For work area events, please see ekVV.

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