Welcome to the web pages of the Section for Political Sociology in the Institute of Sociology at Friedrich Schiller University Jena!
What does the future hold for democracy? Is neoliberalism in crisis? Why are right-wing populists so successful throughout the world? How is society changing on the basis of growing social inequalities? Who takes care of children, sick people or people in need of daily care – and under what conditions? Why do work, achievement and success make up so much of our lives? What impact is the Covid-19 pandemic having on our social, political and economic life? Are new lines of division the main feature of society at present – or are there also new opportunities for a societal transformation “from below”?
The Political Sociology Section examines the relationship between politics, economics and lifeworlds in today’s society. We take it as given that democracy and capitalism exist in a fundamental and yet changeable relationship of tension with each other. This tension is currently being ratcheted up considerably by processes of fundamental transformation and crisis: the crisis of the welfare state and of social reproduction, the global intensification of right-wing populism, the urgent issue of climate change and, not least, the Covid-19 pandemic, taken together, do nothing less than call into question the very future viability of the Western neoliberal model of society.
Against this background we conduct research and teaching on the transformation of and threats to democracies, on the development of welfare states and changes in ageing, health, and relations of care. We are also interested in the consequences of increasingly flexible working conditions and lifeworlds for our relationships with ourselves and others, as well as in social movements and struggles within contemporary capitalism.
Alongside theoretical, conceptual and contemporary analytical work, qualitative empirical research also plays a key role in our Section, the main tools for this being various forms of discourse analysis and qualitative interview formats. More on the Section’s funded research projects can be found at Research.