For the social sciences questions of social differentiation as well as the cultural, economic, social and political conditions of social cohesion are in the center of interest. It analyzes processes of differentiation as well as the individual and institutional prerequisites of social integration and its threats of loss of meaning, the loss of economic and professional perspectives, economic and technological dynamics and particularistic or populist strategies.
In analyzing these challenges, the Oldenburg Social Sciences focus on a combination of sociology and political science and focus on the central difference between these two disciplines: while sociology analyzes social orders (and their threats) as a condition and consequence of situational action or communication, political science focuses on the study of political processes and thus on the conditions and consequences of collective, altruistic or utilitarian action. This analyzes the order of modern societies and their threats through an erosion of social cohesion from a political science and sociological perspective.
In doing so, the social sciences in Oldenburg build on a theory-method foundation that seeks to penetrate the connection between institutions and socialization processes from the perspective of social and democratic theory and links it to a solid methodological basis. This narrowing of methods and theories is bundled in the claim of theory-guided empirical research.
The distinction between the theoretical levels of social theory, theories of limited scope, and social theory is guiding. On the level of social theories, a broad spectrum is represented, ranging from individual-related decision and action theory to practice theory and institutional theory approaches. On this basis, theory-driven empirical research is conducted. The aim of the empirical research is to gain insights into the problem of social differentiation of social cohesion on the level of social theory.
The general question of the conditions, forms and threats of social cohesion is specified for two subject areas:
(1) Knowledge and organization
This topic examines the preconditions for and threats to social cohesion and social differentiation. One focus is on the areas that are central to knowledge-based production and innovation processes. Related to this are questions of the creation of meaning through work and the availability of material resources.To section "Knowledge and organization"
(2) Social and political inequalities
Here, the focus is on the distribution of resources, opportunities and risks in societies. Related to this are also the possibilities of access to social goods and social positions, which are endowed with unequal possibilities of power and interaction. Both topics together shape not only the teaching offered by the institute-especially in the specialization areas of the bachelor's and master's programs-but also the research activities, for example in dissertation projects and externally funded research projects.
To section "Social and political inequalities"