Structure and profile of the Institute of Social Sciences
The social sciences focus on questions of social differentiation as well as on cultural, economic, social and political conditions of societal cohesion. We not only analyze differentiation processes but also individual and institutional conditions of social integration and their menace by loss of meaning, the loss of economic and professional perspectives, by economic and technological dynamics and by particularistic or populist strategies. When analyzing these defiances, the social sciences in Oldenburg focus on a combination of sociology and political sciences and adhere to the major differences between these two disciplines: whereas sociology is analyzing social orders (and their menace) as a precondition and consequence of situational action and communication respectively, the study of political processes and with it the conditions and consequences of collective, e.g. altruistic or utilitarian action take center for the political science. Thereby, the order of modern societies and their menace by erosion of the societal cohesion are analyzed in a sociological and a political science perspective.
Theory-based empirical research
The social sciences in Oldenburg build on a theory-methods-basis that intends to understand the cohesion between institutions and socialization processes from the perspective of the theory of society and democracy and to connect it with a solid methodical basis. This coupling of methods and theories is tied in the expectation of a theory-based empirical research.
The distinction between the theory-levels of the Social Theory, theories of limited purviews and the theory of the society direct us. On the level of the social theories, a wide range is represented that varies between an individual-related decision and action theory, practice-theory and institutional theory approach. On this basis, empirical researches are carried out in a theory-based way. The main goal of this empirical research is to gain insight in the issue of social differentiation of the societal cohesion on the level of the theory of society.
Two empirical research fields
The general question of conditions, forms and menace to the societal cohesion is specified into two research fields: (1) Knowledge and Organization: This subject analyzes the conditions and menace to the societal cohesion and the societal differentiation. One focus is on the areas that are central to knowledge-based production and innovation processes.
This is connected with questions of the foundation of meaning through work and the availability of material resources. (2) Social and political inequalities: Here the focus is on the distribution of resources, opportunities and risks in societies. This also relates to the possibilities of access to social goods and social positions, which are equipped with unequal possibilities of power and interaction. Both topics together not only characterize the institute's offer of courses, particularly in the areas of the Bachelor studies and the Master studies, but also the research activities, for example, in dissertation projects and third-party funding research projects.